Frontier Blarney


Being raised a Texan; St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t much. We gawked at Chicagoans turning their river green, marveled at the number of people in the New York parade and wore green to school so we wouldn’t get pinched. Of course I was boy crazy so I wore pink.

Not that I don’t have Irish in my blood. My great-grandmother, Delia Dempsey, was born on a boat in the middle of the ocean. Her Irish parents were making the journey because of the potato famine. Guess that’s why I love starchy foods.

Dearly Demented Mom, a true Bostonian, always gave a nod to St. Patrick’s Day. She served us Corned Beef and Cabbage. It’s as traditional in my house as the Thanksgiving bird. The Dancing Dog Ranch never fails to have a wee bit of Irish here.

Once I headed out into the big world, I found people didn’t celebrate with corned beef. They preferred green beer. It only took me one bathroom run to say, “Never again! I can feel my kidneys starting to glow.”

I guess in those single years, I did party a bit harder on this Americanized Irish Drinking Day. In Ireland, they just drink all the time, don’t they?

Still, my Irish streak persists. I married a redhead and I look great in green. I simply don’t understand when this totally Irish holiday turned into such a big deal. When San Antonio starts dying the Riverwalk green, you know it’s out of control.

Recently I saw an ad for a local bar whose big St. Patrick’s Day celebration includes a day of Country Western bands and a chili cook-off. A chili cook-off? I’m pretty sure Texans still don’t understand real Irish shenanigans.

Okay, y’all, listen up. I’ve been to Wikipedia and I’m armed and dangerous. Here’s the Cliff Notes version.

Patrick was Catholic, taught people about the Holy Trinity using the three leaves of a shamrock, the Pope made him a Saint in 1783 and that day everyone attended church. It was the end of the Irish lent so after the service, they all went drinking. Plus they wore shamrocks on their jackets, hence the wearing of the green.

And from that, we’ve managed to turn this into an American holiday where everyone dies their dogs green, drinks a wee bit much, and eats chili. Where did the leprechaun and pot of gold go? Hold on, I’m getting to that.

I went to my source – the totally non-Irish Very Best Friend explaining I still didn’t understand how celebrating a saint ended up with us drinking green beer. She went to her source – an Irish Pub Owner. Very Best Friends always have a pub owner in their pocket.

He explained it this way, “Darlin’ it’s all about shenanigans. They occur at a hooley (get together) and when the Irish whisky starts to flow, the craic (talk) begins and that’s when the shenanigans (practical jokes) start.” Oh, Tall Texas Tales. I get it all, now. Evidently Hallmark must have come up with the leprechaun and pot of gold.

Since this St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday, I plan to head to town to get into the middle of some shenanigans. I might have some chili, I won’t touch the green beer and I’ll be armed with my best jokes. I might even dance a jig or two. But I won’t wear green – the pinching is just too much fun.

Whatever way you decide to celebrate, have fun and be safe. Just remember, there’s a little Irish in all of us. Luckily, we Texans are full of frontier blarney.

Spreading laughter throughout the world…once chuckle at a time.

Mikie Baker

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5 Responses to “Frontier Blarney”

  1. Forrest Landry says on :

    And here I thot all along that St Patty did the get-the-snakes-off-the-Blarney-Stone dance. Well, I reckon Houston elementary school grounds aren’t the best precursor of Wikipedia. Dang. There went yet ANOTHER tradition.

    Is that chili with seeds, or not? Seeds burn at the exit.

  2. Medina Mikie says on :

    I’m so sorry that Wikipedia has ruined your vision of St. Patty. The only solution is green beer. And lots of it…

  3. Tracy says on :

    From my understanding, you are very correct Mikie. In Ireland, it is a holy holiday you spend at church and afterwards have a large family meal. THEN, those who can still move, head to the pub for some tall tales, music and pints (none green, very thick and brown I assure you). It’s like a backwards mini Mardi Gras – minus parades – another American addition. Here in the states, I refer to it the same as New Year’s Eve – amateur night. Have a little fun, then head home before the people who just WISH they had a little Irish in them come out to play! 😀 Erin Go Braugh.

  4. Daniel R. Scoggin says on :

    I love you column and read it the minute it comes out. I don;t know if you have started following it’s almost as good as your and he’s uglier than Kinky so he could really use your support.

  5. Mikie Baker says on :

    I only hope my website can be as cool as some day. And as brilliant!

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