Monday, March 16, 2009

Time for shamrock shakes and green carnations

I have never been a fan of St. Patrick's Day, which has precious little to do with honoring St. Patrick, who was actually Welsh, and everything to do with getting royally pissed and being obnoxious, not exactly saintly qualities. However, the "holiday" (for lack of a better term) had two saving graces for me as a kid: Shamrock Shakes from McDonald's and green carnations.

(My memories of Shamrock Shakes involve Uncle O'Grimacey, but the only YouTube clips I could find featuring Grimace's Irish uncle -- saints preserve us -- were pretty grainy.)

As for the green carnations, admit it, you thought they were cool, too.

And they are kinda pretty, in a "ooo look at the pretty green flower," synthetic-y kind of way.

Every year, I would save my $1 allowance until I could buy one or two, and would wear or flaunt my pretty green carnation proudly -- while slurping down my Shamrock Shake. Ah... those were the days.

And then we got old and jaded, and traded green milkshakes for green beer and other forms of green alcohol (Grasshopper anyone?). Btw, for those of you interested in making your own green beer or other green-colored beverage in honor of St. Patrick's Day, check out this how-to article on DiY Life.

I also "discovered" other St. Patrick's Day "traditions," surely not practiced in St. Patrick's time, such as the annual green dyeing of the Chicago River in Chicago.

For some reason, this scene always brings to mind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Btw, for those of you who have always wanted to know how and why the city of Chicago turns the Chicago River green every year for St. Patrick's Day, check out (FYI, they turned the Chicago River green on Saturday, March 14, this year.)

As for me, I no longer celebrate St. Patty's Day, though will be drinking a toast to me late departed Da, who died suddenly six years ago this St. Patrick's Day and was fondly known as "the Jewish Leprechaun."

Wishing you all a healthy and happy St. Patrick's Day...


Dan said...

Hey, it deserves to be a holiday every bit as bit as much as Columbus Day -- probably more. I think schools, banks and government offices should be closed. But as long as the bars are open, nothing else matters.

Dave S. said...

March 17 is Evacuation Day in Suffolk County, MA (ie Boston). County workers get the day off and you can imagine the carnage. Evacuation, indeed.

For the edification of the children I included a green bagel in our breakfast yesterday morning. It was a striking Kelly Green throughout and the kids were suitably impressed.

Anonymous said...

I'm gonna have a drink to your Da this St. Patties Day, J! My Da used to buy us green carnations to mark the day and mom always made corned beef and cabbage (not my fav's, but it was tradition). Thanks for the posting and green shake memories.

larissa said...

Maybe a green shake
I don't need a leprechaun
Board plane and turn left

Dave S. said...

Now I am confused
Larissa, can you explain
Your haiku's last line?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the green cupcakes!

J. said...

I'm not big on Columbus Day, or Puerto Rico Day for that matter, either, Dan. Sorry. But I'd be happy to drink a pint of Bass with you some other day.

Ooo, green bagels. And green cupcakes! Yum. (However, I draw the line at green eggs and ham -- and corned beef and cabbage. Irish soda bread on the other hand...)

Re the last line of Larissa's haiku, it is a reference to me dear departed Da, the Jewish Leprechaun, who would tell people, "When you board a plane, go left," meaning you should sit in First Class. And while he often did, the only time he ever bought me a First Class ticket was when I was very ill. Otherwise he'd ride at the front of the bus and stick me in the back. : (

Anonymous said...


OH MY!!!!!!!!!


J. said...

Yup. Though, to be fair, he did sit with me in coach when I was a kid (under 12) and would occasionally sit with me if he didn't have a girlfriend with him. And then when JetBlue and Song came along, and there was no first class, we'd sit in the same section.

EMM said...

J - I'll raise a toast to your dad tomorrow.

Being raised Irish Catholic, named Erin, with a sister named Kerry, in a house where the Irish flag was flown (under the American Flag of course), YOU BET we celebrated St. Patrick's Day.

I love holidays, especially the goofy ones...they don't involve travel or family drama. Plus as a kid, it was a good excuse for arts and crafts. As an adult, I just bake for my friends & co-workers. Today the co-workers got green rice-krispie treats drizzled in white chocolate.

Erin Go Bragh (roughly translates to Ireland until Doomsday)!!!

Lizzy said...

At least St. Patrick's Day is a holiday that we don't feel obligated to buy gifts! And tacit approval to drink in the a.m. while saying, "kiss me, I'm Irish!" does make it fun!

However, I do understand J's negative association of the holiday with her Da - will raise a glass of green beer to him today. Your Da is your Da, no matter what!

The "back of the plane" thing was often practiced in my family too - ostensibly so we could learn to "work hard" and "earn" the good things in life. Sounds cruel, but not so sure it was a bad lesson.

J. said...

Many thanks for the good wishes, EMM and Lizzy. You guys should really meet. I really think you'd hit it off. : )

Your co-workers are very lucky, and probably very fat, with all the delicious goodies you bake them, EMM. And I bet your house was party central on St. Patty's Day growing up.

And Lizzy, I loathed St. Patrick's Day long before 2003. Just never got a kick out of men getting obliterated, acting foolish (or violent), and pissing on the streets or in alleys in front of me as I made my way home from school.

EMM said...

J - I toasted your Dad with a caramel macchiato, it still counts!!! It was my only break in a 12 hour beer or corned beef sandwich for me - bummer!

Can't complain though, I did get to finish an unscheduled, late afternoon site with a glass of wine in the hotel's bar.

Cheers to all Dads!

TommyMac71 said...

Well if St. Patrick was Welsh, then there is plenty of room for Jewish leprechaun..... God bless your dad...