In the small midwestern town where I grew up we didn’t really observe St. Patrick’s Day, at least it wasn’t a big deal. I’m sure there were O’Malley’s or McCann’s but mostly we were just Kathys & Janes

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It was a time before we noted, much less celebrated, cultural and ethnic differences. I grew up on the front row of the Methodist Church and I remember walking by the Catholic Church on my way to and from school and wondering what they did in there? I had heard rumors about incense and concluded it must be forbidden, and probably bad. That’s what we often do with things that are unfamiliar

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Fast forward to my 20’s and I met, and married, an Irish boy who introduced me to the big city world of Irish; pubs & parades & Chicago politics

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Our first Christmas together with my soon to be in-laws we played cards, the local priest came by and everybody had a drink! It was pretty exotic stuff for a girl raised in a tee-totaling Methodist family with a Swiss grandmother who had a stiff upper lip. I was enchanted

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We had a little boy and named him Michael, or the “littlest Irishman” as we used to call him. And every year we celebrated St. Patrick’s with corned beef & colcannon

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6 years ago Kevin & I divorced. It was probably the hardest decision of my life, but I have faith it was right for everyone concerned

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So I’m not Irish, but I still celebrate St Patrick’s Day

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Because I learned how Irish refugees fled for America during a famine made worse by British landlords who convoyed food out of Ireland while the Irish starved; and were then despised because they threatened to take American jobs 

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I learned how the British deprived Ireland’s Catholics of their rights to worship, vote & speak their own language

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I learned that the Irish are some of the best writers in the world, including my ex, who wrote our Christmas letters, which honestly were among the few that were truly worth opening😊

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Because the best thing that’s ever come into my life is Irish; his name is Michael, like the archangel

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Because the little girl who grew up on Apple Lane (for real) learned about corned beef & colcannon, and today I explore curry & tandoori

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Because I truly did experience, the luck of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

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