Granny Went Gaelic — And This Is What Happened

For every night there is a day. For every winter there is a summer.

And for every outing for a 64-year-old there is a price to be paid.

Maybe everyone has a yin with their yang. But mine just seem to come back and bite me in the buttocks. Every good time I have has a clip of wtf in it.

Like Friday. St. Patrick’s Day.

A night out with the hubby…something we haven’t had in a while. Went to an Irish band concert — Gaelic Storm — which I wrote about here. Was all pumped up. Sparkly nails, sparkly hat. Went to a great burger place for dinner, had a Bloody Mary. We were way early for the concert so we stopped into a bar across the street from the concert hall. Made some great temporary friends — had a great time. Went to the concert — had a great time. Went to the bathroom after the concert —

Dropped my phone in the toilet.

A thousand women hit that bathroom before and after me. How many of them do you think dropped their phone in the toilet?

Standing up for myself on wobbly legs, my phone was in my back pocket (I had no front pockets), and somehow in standing up my phone went for a swim. Since I still owe on the phone that now doesn’t work, and its too early to upgrade, I had to reactivate my old phone.

Only me.

This crashing course in reality happens to me all the time. I’m the only one who  flips the SUV on a barely-visible slip of ice, the only one who forgets major ingredients in recipes, the one who gets lost if I don’t write directions down.

I’m sure everybody goes through these things, but sometimes I feel like whenever I turn around there’s something embarrassing waiting for me.

There’s something about getting “older” that is to blame for every slip of the step. Even though it’s an inaccurate assumption, it’s the first one everyone runs to. Oh, she’s not playing with a full deck. She doesn’t remember what you tell her half the time. She just doesn’t pay attention. How easy it is for those words to fall out of one’s mouth. And I suppose the validity of such depends on what side of the fence you’re on.

My son has dropped his phone in the toilet. Very little fanfare was made of that. Mom? Whew! Too many Captain’s and Cokes. How can one get lost when you drive that way 25 times a year? Daydreaming out the window while someone else is driving is not an excuse. Can’t fall asleep? Turn off the TV and phone and just lay there in bed like a zombie for 3 hours!

It’s all so easy!

My husband has been pretty kind to me after the phone incident. He  accompanied me to U.S. Cellular to get my old phone activated, and even offered his new phone to me in exchange.

But somehow I know there’s a little chuckle going on inside, thinking he let me have too good a time at the concert that night.

Well, he just didn’t see the leprechaun that followed me into the stall, That’s all…

Granny Goes Gaelic

Green sparkly nail polish. Check. Green sparkle newsboy cap. Check. Green beads with green plastic shot glass at the end. Check.

I’m getting ready to do my favorite thing in the world on St. Patrick’s Day — go to a Gaelic Storm concert.

Gaelic Storm is a great pub band that sings happy music and drinking music and brings the memories of my Irish mother to the forefront. Their musical output includes traditional Irish music, Scottish music, and original tunes in both Celtic and Celtic rock genres. It’s a great time, great music, and a great experience. Every time. The audience is a mixed bag of sexy girls and Irish boys and middle-aged wannabe Irishmen…

…and me. Granny.

I become the woman that is embarrassing to be around.

THAT woman.

The pudgy granny that wears all the cliche St. Pattie’s Day adornments, including this year an Irish-leprechaun-cat-riding-an-Irish-unicorn t-shirt. With hand-painted sparkles.

I don’t know what gets into me. My mother was a McCarthy, her father from Ireland. I was a shallow daughter — I never asked her about her family, her heritage. Nor her fears, her dreams, or her disappointments. I justify my inadequacy at knowing more about my parents to the times. My parent’s generation were not the chatty kind. I guess World War II and the Depression can do that. But I loved her dearly and I know she loved me, so that counts for something.

These days I try and make up for my shallowness by embracing the world my mother came from. I know it’s mostly imagination and fantasy, but there is a direct connection to Ireland in my blood, and I want her to know I’ll never forget.

So I dress in green and sing along with every Gaelic Storm song and pretend I’m in a pub somewhere in Ireland and my mother is not far hanging with her father from Ireland and mother from Scotland. I sing  and “Hills of Connemara” and “Tell Me Ma” and “The Night I Punched Russell Crowe in the Head.” I sway with the gentle ballads and clap until my hands are raw and always sit on the whiskey side for “Me And the Moon.”

The best thing about all this Irish nonsense is that, for one night, we are all one. We are not old or young or black or white. We are one vibration, one thought, one dream. We are simple people singing simple songs. There is no wall, no wiretapping, no conspiracy. All there is is music, love, and laughter.

No one looks strangely at the old lady with the sparkly hat; no one laughs at the green Mardi-Gras beads or the Irish Unicorn on the t-shirt. They see a dreamer, a fellow groupie, a singer of Irish ballads and bawdy drinking songs. We will all share a green beer and green heart and our souls will glow with Irish blessings.

And after all is said and done, I will hang up the hat and put away  the nail polish and hum “Kiss Me I’m Irish” while I drive to work. And I will leave Ireland — and my daydreams — behind.

At least until Irishfest in August.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

shamrock-heart_designTo my Mom, who was Irish.  Miss you, Mom. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

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Irish Regret

Bittersweet memories

Blur my perception of the past

Connection with my roots

Happened long after

My Irish mother

Went wandering

Into the Eternal Green

I always heard the song

Of the creative muse

In my head, my heart

My very soul

Yet my ignorance

Veiled the possibilities

Of today, tomorrow

And all that had been

My dearest Irish Rose

A perfume I rarely inhaled

Is your memory enough

To make the garden bloom again?

My mother’s secret shadows

Haunt me to this day

Leaving so many strings untied

If only I had paid attention

I should have asked about

Her blood so green

And history so ripe

Tales of the clan of Cullen

Too late came to light

Only to become part of

Yesterday’s sunrise

I’m sorry I didn’t feel

Your Celtic heart

Pounding inside of mine

I hold onto the strands

Of Irish dreams and songs

One last attempt to thread the tapestry

Of an ancestry so bright and real

I shine within my mother’s glow

And scream it from top to hill

My melancholy regret

Is that she’s not here

To dance the jig

And toast the shamrock

With her daughter so true

And so Irish

Erin go bragh!

green_beer_400St. Patrick’s Day. Far removed from the original in Ireland; far removed from  it’s original form.  But then again, so is Christmas.

When people think of St. Pattie’s Day, they think of drunken revelers starting at 6 a.m. and passing out by 3 p.m. Heck — that happens in my college town every year. It means corned beef and cabbage, potatoes, and — yes — green beer.

Since most of those foods weren’t even around back in St. Pattie’s day, let’s just take a moment to see what that phrase means. Erin go bragh. Ireland Forever.

There’s something sentimental about ‘ol Ireland; the green hills, the Gaelic charm. The lullabies and the Irish sayings. They all seem to hone in to the heart on March 17th more than other days of the year.

I am one-fourth Irish, and although I don’t fall down drunk on Green Beer, I do enjoy Reubens and Reuben Wraps and beer — green or not. My mother was Irish, and what a little firecracker she was. I’m sad I never took the time to get to know her heritage better. Heck — I’m sorry I didn’t get to know HER better. She was taken at 54, and I always wonder what life would have been like if she had seen her grandkids.

The Irish have had their sad side, too. The immigrants, the stereotyping. It happens to any race that is a minority. Fortunately, the Irish have moved from cursed to revered. So should it be for all races.

So on this Great Irish Day, raise a glass/mug of beer/soda/milk, and toast the freedom that was brought to us by the Irish. And the Polish. And the French. And the Chinese. And the Germans. And the Swedes. And the Hungarians. And the Japanese. And the Russians. And the Africans.

But instead of shouting “Erin go Bragh”, let’s shout something more meaningful.

Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá go brách.

United States Forever.