Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Chicago, the place where we really dye the River green. Early this morning someone from the Plumbers Union would have been out, in a boat, just west of the locks entering Lake Michigan, pouring a environmentally friendly green food coloring in the water to make it appear an unnatural shade of green. This is a tradition going all the way back to when the old Mayor Richard J. Daley resided in City Hall. That would be about 50 years ago.

I've read quite a bit about Ireland and St. Patrick. Apparently, if there was a St. Patrick, and the Mother Church tells us that there wasn't, he would have come to Ireland first as a Spanish slave, having been kidnapped and sold in his youth. He was classically trained by Spanish monks who mourned for his situation. He was brought to Ireland then as a child, and returned later, after his liberation, and after having been ordained a priest. He was said to have converted the last hold out to Christianity, who just happened to be the greatest king of Ireland. Off hand, I can't remember his name. Anyway, St. Patrick was credited for chasing the snakes from Ireland and into the sea.

St. Patrick is the saint we hear the most about, but he isn't the only saint revered as part of Ireland's history and culture. There's St. Brendan, St. Bridget and St. Columba as well. Not one of them, though, is credited with wielding that big stick and driving the serphant's of hell from the land.

Here's a little known fact. The leprechaun is indeed a part of Irish folklore. The thing is, it's a little known part. We here in America has made it bigger than it ever was in Ireland. More than anything else, he was a pest that hid in the grasses and played tricks on passerby.

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

The rains fall soft upon your fields and,

Until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand

And may you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you're dead.

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