March 17, day for the wearing of the green.
Badge of Irish pride.
When I mentioned dusting off my shamrocks for the coming celebration, an acquaintance was surprised. “You’re Irish?” (his unspoken subtext, “but you’re Jewish”)
Of course, my heart answered.
My three Irish great-grandparents after all.
But what about the three Brits, the Scot and the German?
oh … well … no, Irish.
Irish as Paddy’s pig. From County Mayo, home of great grandmother Nora Brady, and County Armagh, where my father’s father’s Catholic parents escaped from an orange world where they could only celebrate Mass hidden in barns.
My father, my model, was as proud of his heritage as if he’d been born on the Old Sod. Could quote John Boyle O’Reilly along with Robert Service. Never Boyle’s anti-women suffrage rants, praise be.
Dad was Andrew BARNES Browne, Barnes for Phoebe, his mother, pure Scot.
Yet, like me, Andrew claimed the Irish.
For the gift of gab, the blarney, the struggle for freedom, the poets, the spirit that survived centuries of British repression and a famine that killed all but the heartiest.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all; we all claim the shamrock today.
May the indomitable spirit of the Emerald Isle inspire courage.
And in me, the right word, to attract like souls to whatever work needs to be done.
For “the right word fitly spoken is a precious rarity.” (John Boyle O’Reilly.)