Today, we are all Seanchai or old story tellers of Ireland as we celebrate March 17th together! Being a story teller of old lore means passing on family traditions and customs. Somewhere in my mom’s family lineage there a deed ownership of a castle, sold before the potato famine and a voyage to the United States. A day like today meant milk, beer, and food was dyed green and Irish music played all day. The evening meal was shared with friends and family as green beer was passed out to the adults. The first tangy taste of soda bread hung on the end of your tongue waiting for the first sip of sweet cabbage and salty peppercorned beef. She looked down at me and said, “We’re all Irish today!” because she didn’t want me to feel any different.
When my grandparents visited the same thing happened and I was their Polish, Korean, American. They didn’t care as long I said I was their grand daughter and I didn’t care what the world thought. St. Patrick’s Day means that I celebrate my families heritage. My father’s polish heritage waits until Easter and I celebrate my Korean heritage on my arrival day. Being American is a given. It’s the culture I grew up in here in the Midwest. And you know what – I’m not confused. I love St. Patrick’s Day as much as my mom. My corned beef and cabbage cooked overnight on low in my Minnesota crock pot, next to my chop sticks. Yes, I might have a traditional Irish meal with kimchi because I can and my mom won’t blink an eye. I like to think I’m making the tradition richer and more appreciated. You know a culture is truly rich when it’s celebrated around the world.
I hope you get to enjoy today and celebrate all that you are. I leave you with one of my favorite poems from a famous Irish poet, WB Yeats. May you be left with a warmed heart and you may find a pilgrim soul to love.
When You Are Old
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Happy St Patrick’s Day! Follow as I post on my progress throughout the month and share the experience.