March is finally here, one of my favorite times of year! While most of our house is sick with the last of the flu and a rare case of childhood shingles, we are looking forward to healthy days and upcoming Irish festivities (As you know, “Murphy” was an optimist). In a few weeks, we will participate in our local St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Every year, there is always someone who asks, why is St. Patrick’s Day such a big deal? I was looking through a letter my dad wrote, many years ago, and I think he sums up the answer:
…The roots of the family are in Scotland and Ireland, with a touch of England. It would probably be easier to understand much of the family story I’m telling if you remember something of the Scots-Irish heritage, culture, and personality. Hear the pipes of the Scots and the Irish, and you hear hundreds of years of love, loyalty, friendship, family, drinking, and fighting (usually the English), the music that is in your soul when you fight for your friends, your family, your country, for the values you know to be true. Historically, many of those fights were in losing causes and had their measure of excess and human frailty, but the pipes do tell the story of some tough, loyal people who were destined to play a large role in the making of America…
Thank you! People who aren’t Irish often don’t understand the celebration of our heritage. My husband is one of those people. He reminds me that I’m just as much Lithuanian, English, and German as I am Irish and asks why I only celebrate my Irish heritage. I don’t ever really have a good answer. Your dad has summed it up well in the words above.