INDEED, A HUNDRED THOUSAND WELCOMES!
I was working today on an epic novel that should be out this summer—a ghostwriting project—and I just had to take a break to blog on St. Patrick’s Day. I’ve said over the years I detest St. Valentine’s Day, not because there weren’t a number or heroic and martyred St. Valentines, but rather because of the commercialization of the day over the decades. It’s become, in my opinion, “Guilt You Into Buying Our Product Day”. Women suddenly don’t feel loved, men feel pressured beyond what is reasonable, and I am damn-glad to have a wife who sees the day the same as me: if I’m not proving my love the other 364 days a year (plus one during Leap Year), we have bigger problems than the lack of a card or flowers.
Besides, doesn’t a card out of nowhere, when you least expect it, or a dinner reservation to that restaurant you thought he forgot you mentioned, mean so much more on a day when every television, newspaper, blog, and radio in the country isn’t telling him to do something special for you?
But St. Paddy’s Day—well that’s just a different thing entirely. Because I am part Irish and part Scottish (but mostly because my in-laws hail from Boston and one of my all-time favorite bands is the Dropkick Murphys (DKM, for the faithful), AND because Denver’s most heralded St. Paddy of all—Patrick Roy, the goaltender who brought us not one but TWO Stanley Cups (the second in no small part because of the trade for Boston legend Ray Bourque—sorry Bruins), well, the day is just about a must-celebrate in the Rockies.
Best celebration ever, for me? Easy. A good friend and coworker asked me, impromptu, if I wanted to join him for his “one night a year without a leash”, as he called it. I said yes, and the rest is Guinness and Irish Whiskey history. We went to a small pub named Sheabeen Irish Pub and midway through the night, after some sweaty, excellent Irish bands played the tiny stage, Denver’s very own Michael Collins Pipes and Drums Band—the whole of them—burst our ear drums on that tiny stage in that smallish pub, and it was EPIC.
Best St. Paddy’s Day that didn’t happen on St. Paddy’s Day? Again, easy: my wife and I had four tickets to DKM (see above) and brought one of her best friends who was in town, and my son (with whom we’ve had a rocky go of it since his 16th birthday). My son and I rushed the stage, which at a DKM concert is saying something—they have a mosh pit to end all mos pits but my son and I fought through to the front of the stage and even hoisted a guy’s girlfriend who was all of about 5’3″ (I’m 6’3″ and my son is 6’5″) at the front row so she was practically eye-level with the band.
At 49, it just about killed me, but I would have gone out with the music I love (pipes) a-playin’ and the people about whom I care most in this world surroundin’ me (sorry, I slip into the brogue if I speak of Ireland or Scotland too long)—no one can ask for a better send off than that.
When my father died, all he asked for was that the pipes play Amazing Grace at his service. In Wyoming, bagpipe players are not a dime a dozen. In fact, I doubt there are a dozen in the whole state. We found one, but he was over three hundred miles away. He drove the distance, played hauntingly well, and refused even gas money, so honored he was to have sent my father on his way.
My only regret today is that I work from home and have nowhere to wear my limited edition Dropkick Murphys hockey sweater. My wife was going to wear it in today but forgot (tough thing about a Monday St. Patrick’s Day—too often we’re only thinkin’ about the Monday at hand).
I’ve never seen Ireland or Scotland. They’re both on my bucket list, and my goal is to spend March 17th in Ireland when I make the final pilgrimage. Who knows, I may not come back because I’ll already be home.
And since I devoted space to some videos here today, this is the best performance of Amazing Grace, a song penned by John Newton, a distant relative of my uncle’s:
AND FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE: BE RESPONSIBLE,
DESIGNATED A DRIVER
OR SPLIT THE COST OF A TAXI!!!