Feeling Green

The green stain has worn off my upper lip at last, and I’m here to tell you that a meal consisting of green beer and jalapeno-loaded nachos is extremely unkind to the digestive system.  Johnny Cash had obviously consumed that meal the night before he sang about the burning ring of fire.

Leaving that aside as TMI, I’ll focus on the other life-changing aspects of Monday evening.  Yes, for the first time in my half-century on this planet, I actually went to an Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I am actually Irish on my dad’s side, and I’ve been proud of it ever since I was a kid.  I didn’t know anything about Ireland or its heritage then, but our family used to watch the Irish Rovers on TV every Sunday night and the Irish Rovers were cool, so there you go.

A couple of decades later I became the keeper of our family tree.  That’s when I discovered the Henders name could be traced back to County Wexford in 1765, and at that date the research hits a brick wall.  There are many reasons why a family might suddenly change its name, but I haven’t made an effort to trace it farther just in case the reasons involve prison terms or compromising positions with sheep.

But despite my (possibly misplaced) pride in my heritage, I’ve just never gotten around to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the traditional manner.  (Well, the traditional North American manner, which has virtually nothing in common with Irish St. Patrick’s Day.)

This year our local Irish pub advertised no cover charge, green beer, Irish dancers, and (for some unfathomable reason) Scottish bagpipers, so it sounded like the place to be.  Or the place to avoid, if you subscribe to the notion that bagpipes were conceived by a drunk watching a farmer carry a squealing pig down the road under his arm.  I can’t remember who told the story, but I seem to recall it concluded, “Unfortunately, the instrument never managed the clarity of tone achieved by the pig.”

Anyway, we got some friends together and went.

The beer was indeed green.  So were my lips, teeth, and tongue.  And fingers, thanks to the bartender’s bad aim with the food colouring.  The Irish dancers were energetic; at least as far as I could tell by the bobbing of their heads, which was all I could see above the crowd.  The three pipers were earsplitting in the tiny space, but that was okay because the “background” music blaring over the speakers all evening was so bloody deafening I had my earplugs in by then anyway.

The conversation was probably enjoyable, but it was hard to tell by lip-reading.

Dazed by the din and the press of increasingly inebriated green-clad bodies, we staggered out at last and went home to eat ice cream doused with hot chocolate pudding – it was the best part of the evening.

All in all, it wasn’t one of our more enjoyable nights out, but I can mark it off the bucket list now.  And next year I’ll tip a few drops of green colouring into my beer while I listen to Frank Patterson at home.

Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day!

Did you mark the occasion?

32 thoughts on “Feeling Green

  1. I had a lovely comment all nicely written out and WordPress decided i needed to sign in. Which i never do because my password is saved on my PC. Not on my phone. And of course it decides to be its little sadistic self and for some reason won’t recognize either of my passwords. So I had to reset it to something i am sure i won’t remember again and I will have to go through this entire sing and dance all over again the next time i use WordPress here… irish pub? Yes. Over priced whiskey? Yes. Green beer? Good Lord no!! Lol! Do it again? Probably not in this life time and will have to seriously rethink it in the next!


  2. Great post as always Diane. Sorry I haven’t been reading and replying much lately. Between some ongoing side effects and a crappy case of cancer related fatigue, I’ve been have a few challenges concentrating. Hopefully, I’m now on the mend and I look forward to catching up. I miss your wit. 🙂



    • Hi Nelson! It’s so nice to hear from you again, and I’m sorry you’ve had such a hard time. I hate that stupid cancer! It’s a long haul afterward, but I’m glad you’re on your way. Soon you’ll look back and be amazed at how far you’ve come! 🙂

      I hope you’ll feel up to blogging again soon – I always enjoy your posts. But don’t feel pressured; just do things when you’re ready. Listen to what your body is telling you, and be kind to yourself.

      I’m sending good thoughts your way – take care.


  3. I forgot to mention a big “Thank You” for posting that video of Frank Patterson and the song “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”. It brought tears to my eyes of happiness listening to it as it was one of my mother’s favorites. What a beautiful voice. Again, thanks.


    • It was my pleasure – I love that song, too. I have happy memories of it being played on piano and saxophone at family gatherings in my grandparents’ big old 1900-era house, with all of us gathered in the parlor for an evening of homemade music. I miss those days…


  4. I think that you have gotten it correct to say that going to an Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day is a bucket list item to get off your list. I often wonder how many people in an Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day are really Irish.

    There is a local Irish pub and I like to drive pass the day after St. Paddy’s Day to see how many misaligned cars remain in the parking lot.


    • Well, I guess since St. Patrick’s Day is an ersatz occasion in North America in the first place, it’s okay to be an ersatz Irish(wo)man for a day. 😉 And I’m always glad to see misaligned cars in the bar parking lot. Much better than finding them misaligned somewhere along the road.


  5. Tried a more-or-less Irish pup briefly for St. Patty’s many years ago. The only reason it was not even briefer was that the crowd kept coming in behind me faster than I could swim upstream. The party was too loud, too discordant, ‘way too drunk (the crowd, of course), and trying to go in ‘way too many directions at once. Not my kind of get-together at all.

    Wrong ethnicity, too, now that I think of it. My dad said I’m half Scotch and half soda. Took me years to figure out what he meant…


  6. You know, I ventured out to a nearby Irish bar and more or less lived the exact same experience as your good self. Bouts of throbbing techno in between the warblings of the pigs–sorry, pipes–and an Irish trad band whose microphone wasn’t working. Lost my voice by the end of it all. Same time, same place next year? 🙂
    Btw if there were sheep involved in your family tree we’ll not ever say a word about it. We take those particulars to the grave.


    • Ha! You made me laugh with ‘warbling of the pigs’! And that’s good to know about the discretion of Irish genealogists – perhaps I’ll dare to do some more research after all. 😉


  7. Are you a serious family historian? There are all kinds of help sites.
    My Grandfather and Grandmother both came from County Cork. My brother and my cousin are the official family historians. From what we have learned the first of our family moved from England to Ireland under Cromwell who was looking for solid English Protestants to colonize the Emerald Isle. You can see we were on the wrong side of Irish history since Day One. I do like Guinness and prefer Irish whiskey to Scotch whiskey but other than that, I think I was in an Irish pub once in my life on St Patrick’s Day as well, just to say I had been there.


    • Ah! An Irishman living in the Ukraine – what’s wrong with that picture?

      I’m not sure how serious a family historian I am. I’ve amassed every scrap of information that was previously recorded (and it was considerable) and put the entire tree into a genealogy database called Legacy Family Tree. But I’ve only done cursory research on my own. From what I understand my next step is to actually travel to Ireland and begin searching church and county records, so that’s where I’ve stalled. It’s not a high priority for me at the moment – too many other things on the go – but I’ll likely pick it up again at some point…


  8. Loved the story! Never been to an Irish Pub but I guess because I’m weird I really love hearing bagpipes. When they’re done right of course. In Napa, CA when I was about 11 I think, there used to be a group of ‘Pipers’ that practiced right in our neighborhood. They’d gather at a Catholic church a few blocks away and then march and play. One group, I hope I’m right in the name, called the “Black Watch” (?) came right down our street practicing. They looked so smart and handsome in their black furry tall hats and kilts. Wow. No Irish that I know of in my history but Scottish for sure. BTW, while I’ve had my tongue turn green before from food dye, how do you get that green off your teeth? And lips? Hope it’s easy. Loved the story anyway, you have such great little adventures and relate them well. Makes my day.
    **also, I check the progress on book 8 each and every day. My anticipation level is rising also!**


    • I like bagpipes, too. In fact, when Hubby and I got married, one of his friends piped us down the aisle in full Scottish regalia. It’s just that their volume is more suited to the outdoors… 😉

      Fortunately the green lips only persisted for a few hours – luckily it wasn’t any more tenacious than that!

      And I just finished writing a scene in Book 8 that made me laugh out loud – hope everybody else does when they read it, too.


  9. I don’t usually do anything special on Saint Patrick’s day, but now that I know I’m missing out on green teeth, I’m wondering why the heck not?!

    Have you ever been to Ireland? I’d love to visit that area someday. I’m not Irish, but I’d love to go nonetheless.


    • I haven’t been, but I have lots of friends who have gone and they’ve absolutely loved it. I would definitely go if not for the problem of being cooped up in an airplane for hours and hours. After about four hours, I need to step out for a breath of fresh air.


  10. You are a braver woman than I. I have never ventured into an Irish pub on St. Patrick’s Day. (Might have something to do with my crowd phobia.) But it sounds like you had a grand time, in spite of the green teeth. Slainte! (Imagine the proper diacritical mark over the “a”.)


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