Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig!

That's Happy St. Patrick's Day in Irish. I started the day at an Irish-language Mass at St. Agnes. The Irish priest was fluent in that startling, guttural yet musical tongue.

As I quietly responded to some of the Mass parts in English, I became deeply conscious that this language--which the Irish people mastered beyond all others in the talents of Yeats and Joyce--is the language of the oppressor, of the conquerors. The country, my ancestors, should be speaking this Irish language; the English should never have been allowed to force their language upon them.

From there to the parade. Starting with the Fighting 69, and those majestic greyhounds. I stayed through the march of NY's finest, a sea of blue on the avenue. The only disappointing thing on this gorgeous day is that the parade didn't flow the way it should. The line of march was stopped far too frequently. When I got to the office I watched it on the WNBC live stream on my computer. I think the parade was stopped so often for the performances on tv. But I hated that the experience of being at the parade is lessened for the virtual experience online/tv.

'Tis Himself

A blast from St. Patrick's Days past: Me Da in the ritual of Irish coffee after dinner. Recipe: teaspoon of brown sugar, mixed with Irish whiskey into a luscious paste, then add the coffee. Topped with heavy cream. A 'belt of Bushmills' was the whiskey of the movies of the 30s and 40s. But Bushmills is made in Northern Ireland, and Da wouldn't send money their way, never sure who was funding whom during the Troubles. That's a bottle of Jameson's in his hand.