Wednesday, March 17, 2010

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling...

... you know they're probably up to something.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

I probably should have done something a bit more Irish-themed, since I've got Irish coming at me not only from both sides of my family, but also my husband (tho his is only on his dad's side. Insert "scoff" here.) But really... what? I wore a green cotton sweater (which proved too much for walking to and from my voice lesson outside today. Glorious sunny day for a walk along the park, though. Keep it up, Mother Nature!) and I wore my little golden shamrock necklace, which I got when my family took a trip to Ireland when I was about 5. The chain just barely fits around my neck now.

Umm... I put broccoli in my omelette this morning. That's green...

St. Patrick's Day is one of those days that when I was a child, I'd wake up and find a little card, or a pin or something next to my cereal at breakfast, but that was the extent of it. My mother did not subject us to corned beef and cabbage, or any of the other stereotypical Irish foods, thankfully. And my husband barely even acknowledges the day (tho he did wear a green sweater vest to school today).  But as with all holidays, made-up or otherwise, I always feel the need to do something in recognition. Hence, the necklace that comes out once every year.

While the rest of NYC is full of drunken as-er-revelers, celebrating the fact that they know someone who is 1/16th Irish, we will be dining on a veal ragú that I plan to make later this evening. Not even a potato to be found in my kitchen at the moment! You might say we are very bad O'Gradys.
My friends know that I love Italy, Italian food, and that I'd like to live there while I still have many good years left to me. If I could have stayed there after our honeymoon, I would have. (I'm sure I'll pick up the language eventually...) But I am also proud of my Irish heritage. My mother has spent years and years tracing our ancestry back to the 1800's (and possibly farther in some branches) because most people do have some innate desire to know where they came from. And these days we're all so inter-married and living it bustling metropolises that there is very little old-world tradition, and even fewer stories.

There is a definite part of me that wishes that I'd grown up in a small town (in Italy) and learned how to cook at my grandmother's side, or that the extended family got together for harvests and the subsequent dinners.  To know a local butcher and know that his father, and his father before him, were all butchers and passing down the trade.
I know I romanticize this in the extreme, because I would NOT SURVIVE without things like Amazon's free 2-Day delivery and UPS... but I hold it in my heart to some day find that world.

So go forth and celebrate your heritage, Irish or otherwise. I hope you find the happy-medium between stubborn old ways and modern liberation, and count yourself lucky to do so.
I'll leave you with two Irish Blessings... of a sort.

“May you always have
Walls for the winds,
A roof for the rain,
Tea beside the fire,
Laughter to cheer you,
Those you love near you,
And all your heart might desire!”
“May those who love us, love us
And those who don’t love us,
May God turn their hearts
And if he can’t turn their hearts,
May he turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping!’


Jennifer said...


Li said...

We are opposites! I am Italian through and through but because people have always thought I was Irish (red hair) I have a secret fascination with Irish things! We went to a festival this weekend and I completely passed myself off as Irish. My mother was so offended when she found out. Don't get me wrong, I'll take my Italian food over Irish any day, but there's a place in my heart for Ireland and I have no idea why!