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St Paddys Day

Just when things seem to be taking a tiny turn toward normalcy, stuff we could have never imagined comes at us from all sides. More than a few natural and man-made disasters have attacked us at once, as Americans we have always and always leap to help when we can. If you’re reading this and have loved ones facing hardship at this time please encourage them to keep looking up and know they are not forgotten.

St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. It was one of the few times of the year that my father took over the kitchen and relegated mom to clean up duty. Since this was the nineteen fifties a man in the kitchen was still a novelty, a point totally lost on my mother. This tiny ball of Italian energy was a true feminist long before bras became campfire fodder. She was possibly the only human on earth that would yell at Lucy to stop allowing Ricky to prevent her from something she wanted to do.

These were the days we enjoyed celebrating - rivers ran green, Leprechauns of all sizes pranced through streets leading parades of cars full of celebrities throwing candy. So much better than the tiny cartoon trolls touting sales on everything from linen to chocolate candy that begin popping up the day after the Valentine Day sales that we have now.

My six-foot, two-hundred-fifty-pound Irish (or so we thought) father was in total awe and had total respect (translate total fear) of my five-foot nothing mother, and was usually content to stay out of her way in the kitchen except for St. Paddy’s Day – because he was Irish (or so we thought) - and Easter because he was Catholic. St. Paddy’s Day brought forth his Irish specialty boiled Corned beef and cabbage with red potatoes, for Easter he proudly trotted out boiled ham and cabbage with red potatoes. He was nothing if not consistent. We never quite understood how he managed to use every pot in the house to boil a piece of meat, cabbage and potatoes all together in just one.

My brothers and I wondered how those guys could walk on those tall stilts as we sat on the floor balancing toast and milk on our laps (mom would have had to venture near the stove to cook the customary grits for breakfast). The mouth-watering aroma and the feeling of being so safe and so proud of our Irish heritage enveloped us those mornings and prevailed as I became a mother and grandmother.

I happen to love corned beef, cabbage and potatoes so I proudly prepared it every year explaining who Uncle so and so is and where Aunt so and so came from to any children who weren’t fast enough to leave right after breakfast (breaking tradition they supped at the table). Italian heritage lessons and dinners saved for Christmas Eve and Christmas although I have to admit one of the Feast of Seven Fishes slowly became tuna.

Any parent will attest that answering the phone to hear your son say “Mom, I have something to tell you and you’re not going to like it” is very close to the top of the list of heart stoppers.

It seems he had his DNA tested and it showed very little Irish but major Scottish influences, even out numbering Italian. Gleefully calling his siblings resulted in several phone calls accusing me of nefariously foisting CABBAGE (which is a member of the dreaded vegetable family) on them all those years and allowing them to partake of false pride.

Waving the white flag, I reluctantly agreed to stop boiling this Irish delicacy for them and find a Scottish dish worthy of St. Andrews day. The girls happily agreed to come to dinner, musing how easy it was to have dear old mom give in and never serve them cabbage again, my son even agreed to wear his newly acquired, Padrick design plaid kilt.

I’m sure I’ll be able to find a good Haggis recipe before November 30th.

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Trapped on the couch again! Had my driving foot sliced, diced, screws, nuts and bolts inserted by the worlds best surgeon. Will really set the TSA alarms off now! Only me, my trusty canine caretaker,


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