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?