Kish me, I’m Irish!


@postaday 77; #postaday2011

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

I’m one-quarter Irish, more or less. My mother’s father was Scots-Irish, whose family, if my memory serves correctly, escaped the 1845-49 potato famine for the United States. My maternal ancestors settled in Philadelphia, hence my propensity to tough love the occasionally unlucky professional sports team.

I grew up with a lot of kids in big families who were more Irish than me. What I remember most about them were how easy going these families were. In my class were kids who had big sisters and brothers, little sisters and brothers, baby sisters and brothers, even nieces and nephews — despite still being in grammar school!

I was in awe of my more Irish, good-Catholic friends’ families. No birth control, Friday confessions, Sunday Mass, lots of beer and boiled beef. Plenty of red heads, plenty of black Irish — the fair-complected, raven-haired blue-eyed set. They were boisterous, loud, proud and always, always, always wore hand-me-down clothes with pride. Most of the time the teenage siblings were sports stars, so the younger ones were always proud to wear their big brothers’ old gear.

I marched in plenty of parades when I was at Holy Cross High School, but the favorite was always the bus trip up to be in the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. We’d follow the green line that was painted along the route from 5th Avenue (candy bar!!!) in a parade where it was often cold and blustery (like today in Hawaii!) and five hours long. At the end of the parade we’d have some free time to grab some food, see the sights and be back on the buses in a few hours to go back to South Jersey. It was a long, fun day, full of crazy memories.

I remember one year after we were through marching, these men asked if they could take our pictures. Good girls that we were, of course we agreed! Then they started taking pictures of our legs! We wore these short little dresses with white cowboy boots. Hmmmm. High school legs? How would we know? And this was BEFORE PhotoShop!

So today, of course, I’m wearing some green. Before the Guinness, the saying goes, “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” But after the Guinness, or the Jamesons, or the Bushmills, the saying goes, “Kish me, I’m Irish!”  Pucker up!