So, it used to be a Day, right? It hasn't always been Saint Patrick's Season, has it? I mean, I think I remember growing up celebrating Saint Patrick's Day. As seen in the photo to the right (O'VTK on the far right). Regardless, I have to hand it to Guinness for their brilliant marketing strategy, turning St. Paddy's (Patty's) Day into St. Paddy's Season. So, you have an excuse to drink Guinness for a week instead of a day, or as I suggested when I heard it - 2 weeks - or as the guy at the bar suggested when he first heard it - 3 weeks. That's some George Lakoff caliber framing there.
But I do love me some St. Paddy's Day reverie. I know it's amateur night and cheesy Irish Americanism, but hey. I love the cheese. And it gives me an opportunity to post some photos from the St. Paddy's Days of the early 80's in my hood. Like this pic of a snowy St. Pat's Day that I'm reminded of by the madness that's going on outside in Boston right now. Speaking of Boston, here's a segue into the first of my three 07 SPD topics:
Phoenix Article - here's an interesting article about the purported unique nature of the Boston Irish as opposed to Irish American development in other cities. It's classic Irish American romanticism in it's criticism of Irish American romanticism.
JJ Foley's - and I'm sad to report that I am now boycotting one of my favorite bars in Boston - a place that I've been going to on a semi-regular basis since I moved here in 00, a place that used to be home to a diverse, intersting crowd, a harmonious mix of bike messengers and business casuals. The bar where the bartenders exclaim "Todd!" when I walk in because they once mistook me for a "dead ringer" of me named Todd. The bar that I was sitting in when Bush announced he was invading Iraq (which I think was on St. Paddy's Day, 03). The bar that I was standing in when the Red Sox won the World Series (a bar that is constantly filled with loud music, but on that night was filled with the call of the game, until the final out was made, at which point they blasted AC/DC's "It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll" as the celebration exploded, which I have to say, and I say this as a die hard Yankee fan, was one of the coolest moments I've ever experienced). The bar where I have too many great memories to recount in a post about me boycotting it. Anyways, bigotry and intolerance is not acceptable, so fuck Foley's.
Cute Story From My Mom - and on a lighter note, here's a cute St. Patrick's Day memory from my mom's youth as the daughter of an Irish family in Detroit in the 40's and 50's.
Irish Step Dancers ... I could watch them forever, with their straight posture, toes pointed downward, heads held high, dancing jigs, reels, hornpipes, and sets. It's in my blood. From early childhood, my brother, sisters and I were brought to ceilis, Irish gatherings for music and dance, sponsored by the Gaelic League in the Detroit area. We knew many Irish immigrants. My father was born in Ireland and so were my mother's parents.
My sister and I took Irish step dancing lessons in the basements of different Irish homes around the city. Unlike today's step dancers, we didn't participate in feises (Irish dance competitions), or have beautiful costumes with embroidered Celtic designs, or a headful of curls. But we danced proudly in our little white blouses, green cotton pleated skirts and gold cotton pleated shawls, attached over one shoulder by a broche and spread open across the back to display the green shamrocks on them. Like Peggy Fleming, our mother made our costumes. Every St. Patrick's Day, the family would go downtown to the Sheraton Book Cadillac Hotel for a big dance. We, the step dancers, were the entertainment when the big band took the break. One year I did a solo sword dance, using yardsticks as my swords. The governor of Michigan, G. Mennan Williams (Soapy) was always there in his polka dot bowtie, and he was sure to make a fuss over us. Our teacher, Annie Ryan, and her daughter, who sometimes danced with us, were Irish dance champions. Years later, we learned that Annie moved back to Ireland and her most notable student was to be her youngest grandson, Michael Flatley of Lord of the Dance.
We have no pictures of us as children in our Irish dancing outfits, but there is one of my sister and me doing the Irish jig at our parents' 50th wedding anniversary. I still do Irish dancing with the Irish American Club of Berkshire County.