Sunday, March 11, 2012


Kyle in last year's parade...

I do love a parade. Today my children will March in our town's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. It is the town's 77 parade. It is our family's 45th time partipating in it. We are entrenched in tradition in this town and in this parade. I have lived in this town my whole life. Our family tradition in this parade began with my dad when he joined the local volunteer fire department. Then as children we marched as girl scouts and boy scouts. The tradition continued when we were in the high school marching band. This tradition continued as I married and decided to buy a house and live in the same town. My children began marching as boy scouts and girl scouts and then in high school with the same marching band that my brothers and I were in. I LOVE that my children have continued the tradition for our family. My sister's children are now attending the same school as my children and today for the first time, my nephew will be marching along with my daughter in the 8th grade band. My sister and I get completely excited and even giddy about it. My husband did not grow up in this town. When he first moved here after we were married, he didn't quite get the whole parade tradition. He also did not get the whole being proud of our heritage thing either. My husband is Irish. He is not 100% Irish as I am. His family did not celebrate his heritage as my family did. In my family St. Patrick's Day is like Christmas. When growing up I remember how excited my dad was about St. Patrick's Day. Several week's before St. Patrick's Day my dad would begin with the little gifts for my sister and I. Irish hair bands would be left on our dressers. We would get Irish buttons to wear to the parade. He would start playing the Irish music. He would start singing Irish songs to us. To this day even though my dad is not living in town with us during this time, he will call and say, do you have your buttons girls? Did you hang out your banners? He will send buttons in the mail to his grandchildren. He has sent his Irish suspenders to his grandson to wear during the parade. He wants the tradition to live on. Now, twenty years later my husband has grown to love our family traditions around St. Patrick's Day. We celebrate this day in a big way. We live on the parade route. So naturally we have a huge party during and after the parade. For twenty years now everyone has been coming to celebrate at our house. My husband has been cooking since yesterday. He has cooked about 50lbs of corned beef, potatoes, cabbage, Sheppards Pie. I made Irish soda bread(although I still have not been able to make it as good as my mom) The house is decorated like it is Christmas. St. Pat's banners everywhere, green shamrocks. The music has been playing for weeks! My son has taken on this tradition from my dad since he was in junior high! He LOVES the bagpipes!
This parade is HUGE! It is attended by 10,000 people each year. It is a fun day and we look forward to it each year. The best part, we have shared this with our friends and their friends and my children's friends for so many years. I did not know how many people have enjoyed it so much till I received this call last week from my son's best friend who goes to college in Buffalo. "Momma P, can I come home to you on St. Pat's? I really can not miss Poppa P's corn beef!" I chuckled! Of course you are welcome!" This young man was driving home 8 + hours to have corn beef and hang with my crazy family for corn beef. Really? I love it! I hung up with him and told my husband, you better go get another two corn beef briskets, the college kids are coming home! This day isn't just about the parade, it is about being with our family and our friends. It is about laughing and enjoying the things that matter to us. Someone once said to my brother, who was wearing all the buttons my dad gave him. Your not Irish (my brother is adopted from Korea) my brother chuckled. He looked straight in that person's face and said, my name is Michael Kevin Clark, my dad is Donald Perrine Clark, my mom is adair Eileen Clark. I may not look Irish to you, but name is Irish, my heritage is Irish, in my heart I'm Irish, it is not on the outside that counts, it is what is on the inside. Stop judging the outside and perhaps you could live a happier life. The person was STUNNED and SPEECHLESS! My brother was 9 when he said this! I LOVE that kid! Today he is still that spunky and amazing person still celebrates being Irish even if he doesn't look like he is(what a crazy comment, still drives me nuts)
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!
PS: On Friday I will have a parade with my class-they have made floats at home and they will bring them to school. In the afternoon the school lines up and we march our floats around the school. So you see, I do so love a parade...

1 comment:

elsie said...

Tradition, such a memory maker. I never knew there was so much celebrating around March 17. It was just a day to wear green in my world. Thanks for sharing this celebration. I love the comment your brother made to the person who said "You're not Irish."