I don’t have an ounce of Irish in me, but St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays.
I love how on this day everyone’s Irish.
That is, if they want to be.
And I’m not just talking about party animals who lust for parades and green beer, as my pastimes this workday are more subdued.
I decide to treat myself to a half hour break and walk the two blocks to the largest Catholic Church in the city.
For thirty minutes before the annual noon mass on March 17, they have a trio that plays comforting Celtic music for all who choose to listen.
I seat myself in a back pew and watch the crowd enter in their green finery. I see lime green hats and emerald sweaters and coats.
One freckled red headed woman walks proudly by in a forest green beret. She nods and sits next to a blonde fellow I recognize from work.
I spot a few “Kiss Me I’m Irish” sweatshirts and several shiny green bowling jackets.
A homeless woman soon enters with a dirty sleeping bag and her belongings stuffed in white plastic bags. She wears no green, but offers something better.
It’s a radiant, and wide smile as she hears the first chords from the violin, cello and harp.
A Somalian taxi driver I recognize also enters and sits down near me. We both smile along with the woman.
I look at my watch and soon sneak away to get back to work.
And I find my Irish co-worker has blessed me with the gift of a freshly baked green cupcake to nibble on during my busy afternoon.
After my day is done, I pick up ‘take out’ corn beef and cabbage for dinner.
I admit to the Russian speaking cashier that this Norwegian prefers Irish cuisine to her usual lutefisk and pickled herring. He nods in agreement.
Once home I turn on an old Irish film, “The Quiet Man,” with John Wayne.
I think for a moment of my Irish American husband who used to cook the corn beef and cabbage for us. He was a quiet man himself on the holiday, savoring every St. Patrick’s Day meal.
I do the same, biting into my corn beef and thinking this day I am happy to be Irish, even if I am Norwegian.
As so are my two Welsh Corgis.
They absolutely hate pickled herring.