Thursday, March 17, 2016

Kiss Me I’m Half Irish

I’ve been at this a while. Long enough that this is my tenth St. Patricks’ Day post.

My St. Patrick’s Day celebration will be simple. I will eat soda bread, following my Aunt Margaret’s quite wonderful recipe. I will make sure that my dog nephew, Jack, for whom I’ll be dogsitting, is wearing his green collar. (O’Arf!) On Sunday, I’ll go to the Celtic Sojourn concert at Harvard’s Sanders Theater.

That’ll be about it. That’ll be plenty.

Mostly because this is my tenth time writing about this holiday, I don’t have all that much holy ground to cover that hasn’t been covered already. If you’re inclined to click through on anything, I think I’d go for You Say Po-tay-to (2008). In that post, I go into my supreme act of fifth grade courage, in which I proclaimed myself half-German when it was pretty clear that the nun running the ethnic-identification event wanted everyone who had a scintilla of Irish blood to beat their Irish little chest.

I suppose if I’d grown up in Chicago, where my mother hailed from, I might have been more identified with being German. Lots of Germans out that way, including all those Wolfs, Folkers, and Seilers my mother was related to.

But I grew up in Worcester, which had just about all of the major European ethnic food groups covered, except for German. The corner of Worcester I grew up in was predominately Irish-American. The church had, almost exclusively, Irish-American priests. Our school had – god help us – almost exclusively Irish-American nuns.

We were around my father’s family, and they were Irish-American.

Irish wasn’t the only game in town, but it was pretty much the thing to be.

I never met anyone from Worcester who came from a German background. Other than my mother, that is.

So Kiss Me, I’m half Irish.

Anyway, while it’s hard to imagine anything less important to my current life, it’s pretty much the case that my core identity, world view, humor and approach to life were largely informed by the experience of having grown up an American Irish Catholic. For better and for worse.

In the Say Po-tay-to post, I also give the recipe for the world’s best soda bread. That is IMHO, of course, but it really is pretty darned good. Those large, seeded raisins are pretty much impossible to find, but Sun Maid does have a mixed bag of large raisins (called Mixed Jumbo Raisins), which I highly recommend.

Enough with the gift of gab, a very Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all.

Earlier Paddy’s posts:

2015: The Wearing o’ the Green

2014: St. Patricks’ Day 2014

2013: The Ides of St. Patrick’s Day

2012: Answering Ireland’s Call

2011: St. Patrick’s Day 2011

2010: St. Paddy’s Day No More We’ll Keep.

2009: Irish Eyes Not So Smiling These Days.

2008: You Say Po-tay-to, I say Po-tah-to. Who’s Irish and Who’s Not.

2007: Kiss Me, I’m Irish.

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