Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ghosts of St. Patrick's Days Past

As I may have mentioned in the past, most of my heritage is Irish. My mother's family came over at the turn of the century. My great-grandmother, who I didn't know very well and who usually scared the hell out of me when she was around, allegedly worked for the Vanderbilts as a maid, and one of the Vanderbilts would allegedly pay the maids a penny a kiss. Which leads to the logical question of what they would have paid for other things, but the question tends to break down when we recall that Nana and the truth were never very consistent with each other. My father's people apparently came over in the 1840's probably about the time the potatos stopped growing back in the Old Country. Allegedly they started out as ditch diggers, someone made a fortune in New York City and then someone else lost it, and then my paternal grnadfather ran away from home, completely lost touch with all of his relatives, and may very well have made the whole thing up.

Apparently, in addition to coming from a long line of Irish, I come from a long line of liars. But they were fun people.

Which leads to St. Patrick's Day. As you may not know, it's not a big deal in Ireland. Apparently they go to church over there, but it's otherwise just a day for the tourists, and probably a dull one at that. But as you've no doubt noticed,in America it's alittle different. Everyone's Irish, everything's green, and everyone's shit-faced. Which is why I usually stay in. It's sort of an amateur night for drinkers and the bars are too crowded.

But a few years ago, actually, exactly five since my daughter was just born at the time, the planets aligned and we had to go out. Our day started with a funeral. And everyone knows that the difference between an Irish funeral and an Irsih wedding is one less drunk. After the funeral the family had a party at their house, as they were determined to celebrate their mother's life as she would have wanted. Apparently she wanted a couple of kegs of Guinness, bless her soul. I carried the kegs, (with help), across a muddy backyard in dress shoes and a suit and never thought twice about it.

Eventually we left, along with some friedns, at least one of whom was from out of state and hadn't seen most of us since college. We had a baby-sitter, and we weren't going to miss that opportunity. Off the the local biker bar we went. Within seconds of walking in, my wife has one of the bartenders convinced that she's actually married to one of my friends. We all start playing pool. As my friend Brian and I are lining up shots, (at pool; we were sticking with beer at that point), Brian suddenly looks up at the bar, which was kind of a long horseshoe shaped thing, and says "have you seen your wife?" to me.

I look up. She's on the bar with the really hot bartender, (female), and they seem to be re-enacting scenes from Coyote Ugly. Minus the fire. Brian was alarmed and asked what I wanted to do. I gave him a dollar and told him to keep the show going. The show ended with all of us knowing that my wife was wearing green underwear for the holiday, and the bartender was apparently Scottish and was wearing nae beneath her kilt. Or jeans as the case may be.

Eventually we all got home with no further incidents. The next morning, come to think of it, later that morning, I was up to drive Brian to an airport for a 7 am flight. He made the flight as they warmed up the engines and sat down, reeking of booze, next to some poor woman who moved her seat as soon as the seat belt sign was turned off. He still speaks fondly of that night. His wife speaks less fondly of his return home. I myself returned home to find the wife unconscious and the children conscious, an unfortunate turn of events. Thank the gods for cartoons and infant chairs, because those are the only things that got me through the day.

And St. Patrick's Day is on a Friday this year.

And we have a baby-sitter.


Blogger Pud said...

I just came from an Irish wake last week. This family was hardcore! They drank shots of whiskey over the corpse!

BTW, I love St. Paddy's Day! I'm not Irish, but I like to drink like I am once a year.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Ranea said...

It's not a true Irish wake unless a few of the female morners throw themselves on the casket. Yell God take me with him/her.

11:03 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

You really do have a fucking cool wife. And the fact that you allow her to express her coolness freely, ups your own cool-factor.

1:02 PM  
Blogger LouLaughlin said...

Don't forget the digital camera!

1:55 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I shall thank the gods for cartoons and infant chairs!

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Big Pissy said...

Great story.

And I believe you even if you do come from long line of liars. ;-)

4:35 AM  

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