Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

A Wee Bit O'Blarney

Family, Religion, Popular Culture, Refreshing Adult Beverage

Last week I cozied-up to warming glow of my laptop and while enjoying a Guinness composed a perfectly good St. Patrick's Day post that was all set for publication this morning.

I had plenty of work to do up north so I figured - Write a blog post or two, Tom.  And put them in the can for next week.  Be smart about your time.

On Sunday morning I drove to town to fetch the paper and upon returning home to the comfort of my hearth and a steaming cuppa joe I stumbled upon this terrific column penned by my Alderman - Dennis McBride.  Right there in the Mothership's real paper.

I'm thinking - Nice job.  He got the story of St. Patrick covered just like I did.  All that other stuff is quite interesting too.

Then wouldn't you know it - Dennis publishes the same column here on Monday.  Days in advance of the appointed feast day.  Cripes.

I'm thinking -  Hmmm.  Probably should scrap the St. Paddy's Day post.  It's basically redundant.  At least the Guinness didn't go to waste.

However - upon further reflection (and another Guinness) I figured that rather than pitching the whole blog post on the cutting room floor for lack of further inspiration I would simply edit-out the material about one of my favorite saints, the snakes and so forth.

I offer-up the much abridged version...

Did St. Patrick chase the snakes out of Ireland? 

Or is that story just a bunch of blarney?

According to the tale - way back in the fifth century the legendary priest raised his staff and banished the reptiles into the seas surrounding the Emerald Isle.

It’s true. Save for those in captivity - Ireland has no snakes.

But this state of affairs probably has more to do with geologic history and events dating many millenia ago.

After the retreat of the last glaciers some 15,000 years ago Ireland was devoid of snakes. Surrounded by icy waters to this very day – snakes cannot swim or find their way there - Ireland remains snake-less. 

That’s too bad.  I am part Irish and I like snakes.

I also like a good saint when I see one and St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish.

Patrick was born of aristocratic blood in Britain probably around the year 390. The legend says that he was not particularly religious. At age 16 he was kidnapped into slavery was forced into life as a sheepherder in Ireland. It is believed that it was then that he found God and became a believer.

As the story goes he began hearing voices and the voices instructed him to flee. 

Which he did. 

Patrick eventually found his way back to Britain and his family.

But the voices returned - commanding him to return to Ireland.

(Why is it always the voices?)

He was ordained as a priest, went back to Ireland and spent the balance of a rather difficult life converting the pagan Celts to Christianity.

He died on March 17, 461 and was promptly forgotten.

Nonetheless - over the years the mythology of Patrick grew.  And he grew ever larger after his death than he did in real life.  Hundreds of years after the fact he was honored as Ireland’s patron saint.

So on March 17th we gather to pay homage to the saint that banished the snakes from Ireland.  It is said that on this one day of the year everyone is Irish.

Since I am officially one-half Irish I intend to raise a glass of Guinness and toast my ancestors and Saint Patrick.  I will ignore the blemish of Britishness.

Speaking of Guinness - according to the Guinness people somewhere around 5.5 million pints of Guinness stout are consumed world-wide each and every day. On St. Patrick’s Day that will grow to 13 million pints.

Drink responsibly people.

My dog says that I am to play for you her favorite song…


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