Thursday, March 17, 2011

In honor of St. Patrick.

Let me be perfectly clear about this from the get-go: NOBODY IN OUR HOUSE IS IRISH. Both Sam and I are Jewish with eastern European ancestry, which is technically as far from Irish as a person can get without being Chinese or South African. But even so, I thought I’d devote a couple of paragraphs to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, as beer-drinkers around the world remember his death 1,572 years ago today. The last surviving snapshot of St. Patrick appears at right.

Here are some facts about St. Patrick and St. Patrick’s Day. One of them is not true. Can you guess which?
  1. St. Patrick was born in Wales, not Ireland, but don’t tell anybody.
  2. At one time his kid sister Harriet was engaged to a leprechaun.
  3. Until the 1970s all pubs in Ireland were closed on March 17 and the only place you could buy yourself a beer was at the annual dog show.
  4. Since 1962 nearly 100 tons of green dye are dumped annually into the Chicago River for St. Patrick’s Day (see below) for no apparent reason.
  5. Blue — not green — is the color that’s associated with St. Patrick in Ireland.
I should really go to bed now because Sam is already in dreamland and I’m jealous. Thank you for reading this and pass the shamrocks.

P.S. — Item #2 in my St. Patrick’s Day list is baloney. Harriet was an old maid.

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