20 March 2007

They say spain is pretty though I've never been...

I wanted to have a nice St.Pat's post, but it just didn't happen that way. Days later...

Still here's a St. Patrick's Day tale.

I grew up in a very VERY Irish-German house. I should point out that the German is mostly Pennsylvania Dutch and my mom does not make the pies or doughnuts that the dutch are known for baking. My grandmother did that. My mom-forget about it.

So my dad-the Irish one. God bless him. We are as some may say the Black Irish. We don't have the red or fair hair, we're the darker ones. My dad had lovely black wavy hair and hazel eyes. I cried every time he would get his military buzz style.

I laugh thinking about Alec Baldwin and Conan O'Brien fighting.
Conan: "Black Irish!"
Alec:"Right back at cha Red!"

Dad's grandma and grandpa both came from different parts of Ireland. John came from Cork and travelled by himself, and Bridget came from Donegal and was with her family. They met somewhere here on the east coast, maybe NYC or somewhere in Jersey. They had a son and called him Francis. That was my grandfather.

Despite some very bad feelings and happenings between my dad and his father, my dad was still very proud of his heritage and we always celebrated St. Pat. We weren't allowed to leave the house if we didn't have green on for St.Pat. And yes he would be caught singing "Oh Danny Boy" whilst cooking. We always had corned beef and cabbage and my dad would find things called cow turnips. Thinking about it makes me cringe.The smell permeated throughout house and he would cook all of these things together in one pot. I really can't stand to eat the meat, but I miss cooking. He was big on tradition and that still means a lot to me.

On this past St.Pat, I didn't feel much like drinking but I managed to have a small glass of Guinness and make a toast to dad.

Towards the end of his life he became more agnostic and bit existential. No heaven or hell for dad. I like to imagine that he gets to travel about to all the places he wanted to see but wasn't able to. Mostly I picture him on Easter Island.


JC said...

This is a great post, I love the story! My mom used to make corned beef and cabbage, I hated how the cabbage would smell up the house. Never heard of the cow turnip!

I love the image of Conan O'Brien and Alec Baldwin scrapping.

I had a couple of Guinnesses myself on Saturday.

Rose said...

Is St Pats day really really massive over there? It is here in New Zealand. That's a lovely story about your Irish side. Black Irish! I kept away from the whole St Pats thing. Essentially here it is just a whole bunch of people (most with no Irish connection whatsoever) wearing green and getting blind drunk. It's not very pleasant.

kristen said...

I loved hearing about your dad here PG and like you, I love family tradition. I've always crushed on the Black Irish boys, you should see the ones that live in the city when I first moved here....sigh. (=

marybishop said...

Great story; great post. My dad was the red-haired green-eyed kind of Irish and St Pat's day was close to Christmas in intensity of partying; wonderful food (yes, there was the corned beef and cabbage that I still don't eat) but there was also shrimp and cupcakes he'd get from a bakery that were piled with green fluffy icing and kelly green sprinkles.

I did not get a new dress for the first day of school, but I remember many new outfits for St Pat's day because I had to wear green or else!

Thanks for making me remember something I thought I forgot.

paintergirl said...

jc-Thanks. That cabbage smell...egads man. That is such an unwelcome smell in the Florida heat,I'm guessing in Texas too.
Sweet Guinness, one day I can drink it again. And to be exact Conan said-Black Irish bastard. I almost spit my drink out.

Rose-It's horrible. I'm surprised it's so bad in NZ too. So much green and drunken mayhem. Too many frat boys on the loose is never a good thing. I maintain a low key approach. My dad would appreciate that way too. I don't think I have ever in my life had green beer.

Kristen-Thanks sister. I need to keep more traditions. I remember so proudly being the one in the family to take the flag out and hang it up on the 4th. You get all those new traditions to learn now. I'm excited for you. I always love the history and meaning to the Jewish holidays.
Ah...black irish boys. I can change the words to "west end girls" and make a fine song.

Mary-Thanks Irish woman, and I'm so happy you shared your story. does anyone do anything special like we did as kids anymore for St. Pat's? I love those cupcakes and new clothes! I think I had a really pretty gray/green tarton skirt for the holiday. I wish I still had it. Does anyone like corned beef and cabbage? Just the elders I guess.

Lilly said...

I like this story too, PG :-)
There's a thing I do not understand: the German is mostly Pennsylvania Dutch and my mom does not make the pies or doughnuts that the dutch are known for baking. -- how is Pennsylvania Dutch German? I am not trying to be funny or anything, I just don't understand what is meant by this....

Rose: same here, sadly.....

paintergirl said...

Hey Lilly-Long time! Oh yeah-The Pennsylvania Dutch.It's a weird thing. Well there were some Germans/Dutch that came to America back in the late 1700's. I think what happened, is when people asked them where they were from, they said "Deutschland". So a huge population of Germans settled in Pennsylvania(my ancestors)and they were called the Pennsylavaia Dutch. Also they could just as easily be called the Pennsylvania Germans, but Penn.Dutch just stuck.

Lilly said...

Makes a lot more sense now, dear -- thanks! :-) Good to be back, by the way -- but boy do I have some serious catching up to do! I think I need to take some time off work in order for me to catch up with my fellow Bloggers! ;-)

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