I went to Wegmans today and because it is St. Patrick’s Day they were selling corned beef and cabbage dinners for $7. There were quite a few people in line to buy them, too.
And to promote this, there was a kid, I’d guess he was 13 or 14, dressed as a leprechaun. His outfit was good, too. He wore green knickers with knee socks and black buckled shoes. He wore a frilly white shirt under a green vest of some sort. And then to top it all off, a hat. A puffy, big leprechaun hat.
He looked positively miserable. He was giving something away, some kind of chocolate wrapped in gold foil meant to look like gold. Lots of people were refusing it. “No thanks,” they said, then stood glumly in line to buy their corned beef dinner for $7.
Earlier I was in TJ Maxx in the “Active Tops” section, when I happened to look up, and across the rack from me was a woman sporting a green felt mustache. I looked quickly away. It was really creepy and scary and she didn’t look happy, either. She didn’t look like a woman wearing a green felt mustache should look: smiling and a bit sheepish.
No. She was pawing through the large “Active Tops” very seriously, with a glued on green mustache dangling from her upper lip.
My grandmother’s last name was McIlvaney. My family was hard-drinking, guilt-ridden, confession-going, Irish Catholics. St. Paddy’s Day was huge.
You had to be a “wearin’ o’ the green,” person for sure, and there were songs to be sung, as well: Oh Danny Boy, I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen, and my personal fave, “If You’re Irish Come into the Parlour.
The smell of cabbage cooking stunk up the house. And for the adults, lots of Guinness was thrown back.
One year, I too dressed up as a leprechaun, and my mother trotted me around to all the neighbors and I sang the, If You’re Irish, Come into the Parlor song, except, unlike the poor kid in Wegmans today, I actually got into it.
I was a happy, Lucky Charms kinda leprechaun. And if you don’t believe me, you can ask my daughter. Every year I would belt out this song on St Paddy’s Day no matter who was around, and despite the fact that I can’t sing on key.
One year on St Paddy’s Day, my daughter’s friend, Adam Styborski, happened to be in the car when I decided to sing this song. My daughter and Adam were about the age of the Wegmans leprechaun.
She was crawl under the seat, mortified. Adam on the other hand, kinda liked it, and said so. And as a result, Adam instantly rose in my estimation and became for me, my daughter’s “favorite friend.”
But I’ll tell you. Today? After seeing the creepy woman with the felt mustache in TJ Maxx? I completely lost the St Paddy’s day spirit.
I really did. I didn’t even call Em and sing to her the way I usually do.
But if I had Adam’s number, I think I’d call and sing to him.
I really think I would.