That's Life: Celebrate the Day, Hold the Green

By Phyllis McGuireiBerkshires Columnist
Print Story | Email Story

I pray that my husband Bill is not turning over in his grave. It is St. Patrick's Day and I am not wearing green.

When Bill and I married 50 years ago,  I became a member of a clan composed of Patricks, Dennises, Maureens, Kathleens ... there is even a Tara. They seized every opportunity to gather for a party and spin tall tales.

I still don't know if Bill's oldest sister, Madeline, really had been a dance hall hostess when her future husband, Joe, first met her, according to the story their sons told. The truth went with Madeline and Joe to their graves.
When I met Madeline, she was a God-fearing woman who was thrown into a tizzy if her children or my Bill, who lived with her and her family after his mom died, was not ready on time for Sunday Mass.

I have Irish ancestors on my mother's side, too. My grandmother Mary Murphy emigrated to the United States during the famous potato famine in Ireland. Here in the United States, Mary married a handsome Italian immigrant named John Rizzo, and so my Irish blood was watered down, you might say, by tomato sauce. Truth be told, I ate more spaghetti and meatballs as a child than any Irish dishes.

Because I will be attending a St. Patrick's dinner and dance on March 22, I will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day late this year.

I have already bought a ticket and am looking forward  to an enjoyable evening with the other revelers. There is a problem, however: What will I eat? None of the Irish fare in the buffet dinner appeals to me. I would go for the baked chicken with County Cork country gravy, but I don't know what that gravy contains. My search on Google has been fruitless.

I am a terribly fussy eater, I admit, and I also need to follow a restricted diet if I don't want to suffer the consequences. Gastrointestinal upsets and allergic reactions can send me to the doctor's office or the emergency ward.

I want to attend the dinner dance and don't mind paying the price of a ticket, but now I am struggling with how I can survive. Several times I have fasted for a day preparing for a colonoscopy and once while waiting for medical attention in an emergency room, I did without lunch or dinner, but I want to have fun at the St. Patrick's party - you know, socialize and maybe even belt out an Irish ditty or do a jig on the dance floor, and for that you need energy.

Do I dare stash a sandwich in my handbag and discreetly nibble on it when everyone else is at the buffet tables filling their plates with corn beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread and more?
I don't like green desserts so I would also have to bring a piece of pound cake to have with my tea — I hope the tea isn't green.

I will be wearing, God willing, a green shamrock necklace, which should please my dear departed husband William Michael McGuire.

For now, I wish all the Irish on earth and in heaven, a Happy St. Patrick's Day.

0 Comments welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to Text Ads

Hot Dog Ranch

2 Great Locations, Pittsfield & North Adams. Famous Baby Hot Dogs, Pub style menu w/daily specials.

Barrington Brewery

FREE BEER FOR FATHER'S DAY visit our website for more details

Gala Restaurant

A reinvented space to eat and drink in Williamstown. Come see our great new changes!

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

Recent Stories