Thursday, March 17, 2011
Ah, St Patrick's Day.
Or as I like to call it, Amateur Night.
My pal and I frequent the communists' bar, also known as The Only Cafe, quite a bit and there used to be a lovely girl who tended bar there and one March 18th we showed up for pints and she was grumbling, and she rarely grumbled, about how much she detested two nights of the year, New Years Eve and St Patricks Day. Lots of arseholes and lots of puke to clean up.
Now I'm a big Guinness man, there are generally two types of pubs I frequent. Those that carry regional or local brews, like the Victory Cafe, the Cloak and Dagger,the communists' bar or Cafe Volo, well at these places I'll go with one of the wonderful options from these parts. And those other ones, McVeighs, the Dora Keough, McCarthys, well at these places then I'll have myself Guinness, four of them if I can. Remember, four pints is the perfect number.
And when it comes to the hard stuff, as discussed in the previous post's comments, I'm an Irish whiskey man. I do enjoy it very much.
When I was a young man I always wanted to go to Dublin. There and Spain were the two destinations of choice and now, years later, I have been lucky enough to get to Ireland three times. Once Jenn and I went and then my company became involved with a company over there and so I went once for work and then for a wedding of a friend I met through work there.
When it comes to travel there is nothing like becoming familiar with a place. Its the only way to go and I know some parts of Dublin better than a few of my friends there. Have had a few nice wanders there.
Ireland is a lovely country and the Irish are a terrific folk and our celebration of St. Patrick's Day has about as much to do with them as I do with the American space program.
So quite a bit but its not on the money. Or maybe not at all.
For a lot of people the whole idea of the Irish is a romantic one. Ireland is cool and its beautiful and its fun and that goes a long way. We don't go celebrating a day for the patron saint of Albania now, do we?
My Dad had four brothers and a sister. One of his brothers is a former airline pilot and more than a bit of a madman. He's what you'd call a character and while sadly he's slowed down quite a bit and his health has become an issue, in his day he was the life of the party, a born storyteller and entertainer. Now my uncle has been to Ireland many times and as one of his sons said, the kids were 'brought up Irish'. Now this was years ago before Ireland took off, we're not talking some sort of Celtic revival wanna be here, my uncle celebrated our family's Irishness (Irishnicity?) because as family lore went, we had come from Kincardine and made our way to the pine forests and granite cliffs of Lake Superior.
The only problem is he had the story all wrong. Neil McLean was Scotch through and through and he married a Bell, Margaret, born in Canada, her parents also Scots. (There were many Bells and McLeans from Islay and I think, though I can't know for sure, that this was a connection that brought Neil to Ontario. Immigrants then tended to stick with what they knew when they could, same as immigrants now I think its fair to say.)
Neil and Margaret had eight children and farmed in Nottawasaga, near Barrie, Ontario and after a couple of decades there they moved west to the Bruce on the shores of Lake Huron. It was only a few years after that that they sailed from Collingwood across Huron to the Soo and then to the other side of the moon, er, Goulais River. Neil and Margaret and seven of their children made the voyage but one son, Duncan, stayed behind and he disappears at this time, makes a life in Kincardine.
My poor uncle, when I broke the news that while his grandmother was a Whelan even she was only half Irish, if that, and that the McLeans were no more Irish than the Boissonneaus, my grandmother's family.
Nothing compared to my cousin Mike though who proclaimed that I had just made a lie out of a good part of his upbringing.
As for the Oilers, well O'Marra got the call along with Giroux and Jean Vandevelde, who, along with Teemu, makes his NHL debut tonight. Good luck to the kids, good god they are going to need it but here's hoping they pull off an Irish miracle and O'Marra and that other Irishman, O'Mark, do well on St. Patrick's Day.
Not long now until we're put out of our misery for another summer.
Posted by Black Dog at 1:00 PM