2018-03-08 / Around Town

'Irish for a Day' Never Goes Away

By Amy Martin

St. Patrick’s Day has got to be the most all-inclusive and entertaining holiday on the calendar. When the requirement is to wear green, drink, watch parades, indulge in silly shenanigans and declare a love for all things Irish, even if you are not, how can anybody resist?

I am a crazy tumultuous mix of Irish and Italian, as my paternal grandparents were both 100 percent of their beloved nationalities. My grandmother bled green and Guinness and my grandfather bled Chianti and gravy (marinara sauce, to non-Italians). Residing in an Italian neighborhood their entire married lives, the Italian culture won out a majority of the year through celebrations (Feast of St. Cesario), cuisine (meatballs, pasta and parmesan) and language (Mangia!).

However, on March 17, every Italian in the neighborhood was donning green and greeting my grandmother with a “top o’ the mornin’ to ya,” with their Italian accents (hilarious!). Have you ever tried corned beef with marinara sauce? I have. My grandmother was a local celebrity one day a year.

Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter and a lot of laundry. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor. Amy Martin is an opinion columnist with a background in family chaos, laughter and a lot of laundry. She writes from a perspective of passion, reality and humor. Despite the massive Italian influence on me by my grandmother, she taught me that the Irish were just as feisty, fun and patriotic as any other nationality, and God help anybody who claimed they weren’t. She lived for this antic filled holiday when nonsense was held in the highest regard.

And so do I.

On the morning of March 17, my children wake up to a house that has been completely ransacked by “leprechauns.” Furniture is knocked over, pictures are turned upside down, the toilet bowls all have green water (because leprechauns have to pee, too).

Green milk is poured into their cups from the carton, and Lucky Charms cereal has exploded all over the house: on the stairs, on counters, in shoes and all over the floor. Strange accessories like green beads, green top hats and shamrock antenna headbands anxiously await my children, who stare, mulling over whether or not they really should wear them.

I usually wake up on St. Paddy’s Day a bit groggy from working so hard with “the leprechauns” the night before.

In planning for this year’s antics, it dawned on me that my parental leprechaun revelry is really a nod to my former life (a.k.a. single, no children). An obvious correlation exists between what March 17 looks like for my kids, and what I awoke to as a single young woman, the morning after hanging out with the other young leprechauns.

My now ransacked house resembles the house I woke up to on March 18 in my previous life, with furniture awry, pictures off kilter, food in unusual places and strangely familiar green accessories strewn on the counter. I also typically woke up on the 18th feeling a bit groggy from “working” so hard with “my fellow leprechauns” the previous evening.

The epiphany made me realize that shenanigans on St. Patrick’s Day are acceptable, whether you are single without children, married with children, Irish and living in an Italian neighborhood or Italian but "Irish by marriage" to an Irish woman. This day is about happiness, silliness, fun and pride, and it’s the one day a year that everybody’s Irish.

So, enjoy your childlike antics on this silly-filled holiday and show your children that you still possess an impish, childlike side.

For those without children, put on your playfulness and make everyone green with celebratory envy.

And to all, keep the luck of the Irish on your side. As my favorite Irish saying goes, “As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.”

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