Happy St. Patrick's Day to All!
|From a 1908 postcard|
By the word all, I mean everyone, because for this one day only, we all are Irish. Or as one of my critique partners said this morning on facebook, there are two kinds of people on this date. Those who are Irish and those who wish they were Irish.
Here in the western North Carolina mountains there are many who are descendants of a strong breed of Scotch-Irish, but no, that's not the same. Their ancestors left Scotland to populate Ireland, and then as the political climate changed, many left Ireland to find refuge in the Appalachians. St. Patrick's Day was a Catholic celebration that these protestant Carolina immigrants did not acknowledge.
That was then. This is now.
When I was teaching fourth grade several years ago, we had a real-life, honest to goodness Irishman come to our classes on St. Patrick's Day. He dressed in green from his top hat and vest, down to his curved pointy shoes. He spoke with a splendid Irish accent. It was his first visit to America, his first visit to see children lumped together in groups.
He was amazed by one thing. The children's faces. He took one look and turned to me and said (and I've never forgotten this) "This could be a class in Ireland!" He saw Irish. He saw Scotch-Irish. It took his comment for me to really look at the children through his eyes. I saw red headed children. I saw auburn hair, fair skin, rosy cheeks. I knew many of their last names began with that ever so common prefix, Mc or Mac.
I saw western North Carolina history staring back at me.
On this St. Patrick's Day we need to celebrate our differences, color our beer green, and drink toasts to the possibilities ahead. Many Hearty Good Wishes to you All!
Catch of the day,