Thursday, March 16, 2006

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

[Note to readers: I'm converting to broadband late this evening, so I may be offline until I get the switch straightened out. Every time I try to so something new with my computer system Murphy's Law applies: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong!"]

I am neither Catholic nor Irish, but green is in my color palette. I've been wearing green and my shamrock pendant all this week—not just on March 17.

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(All emphases by Always On Watch)

Below are a few interesting details about St. Patrick:
"The St. Patrick You Never Knew"

"He didn't chase the snakes out of Ireland and he may never have plucked a shamrock to teach the mystery of the Trinity. Yet St. Patrick well deserves to be honored by the people of Ireland—and by downtrodden and excluded people everywhere.

"Some 1,500 years ago a teenage boy from what is now Great Britain was kidnapped and enslaved by marauders from a neighboring country. Not since Paris absconded with Helen of Troy has a kidnapping so changed the course of history.

"The invading marauders came from fifth-century Ireland. The teenager they captured eventually escaped, but returned voluntarily some years later. In the meantime, he had become convinced that he was handpicked by God to convert the entire country to Christianity....

"Patrick is literally the only individual we know from fifth-century Ireland or England. Not only do no other written records from Britain or Ireland exist from that century, but there are simply no written records at all from Ireland prior to Patrick's....

"...His own experience in captivity left Patrick with a virulent hatred of the institution of slavery, and he would later become the first human being in the history of the world to speak out unequivocally against it....

"Women find a great advocate in Patrick. Unlike his contemporary, St. Augustine, to whom actual women seemed more like personifications of the temptations of the flesh than persons, Patrick's Confession speaks of women as individuals....

"There is no question that Patrick taught us by his example that all life is, indeed, precious.

"Placing St. Patrick in Context"

"...The British Church of Patrick's time was also intimately connected with the Roman Empire. Missionaries from the continent followed the development of Roman towns, travelling over the system of good Roman roads. This was an urban Church with bishops establishing their centers in these Roman towns...."

"As Ireland had not come under the Roman Empire, it was for the most part unnoticed and untended by the developing Church. There were some Irish Christians, mostly on the eastern and southeastern coast. Many of these were probably British slaves who had been taken into captivity by the Irish. There is a record of a Bishop Palladius being sent to Ireland before Patrick. But the mission of Patrick was unique. There had been, up to this time, no other organized or concerted missionary effort to convert any pagan peoples beyond the confines of the Roman Empire. Patrick's efforts to do this, in fact, were criticized as being a useless project.... The more we see Patrick in the setting of his time, the more we must admire his courage, vision and faith. But we also see that his path brought him pain and suffering. Acclaimed as a great hero in ensuing centuries, he himself felt nothing of the sort in his own time.

"Patrick, then, is an intensely human person and not a plaster saint to admire from afar. He offers us a Christian vision of life honed out of his own experience and trials. He offers us a challenge to live our own Christian life today in changing and turbulent times. He comforts us when we are criticized and ridiculed. He gives to us the Celtic vision of the intimate presence of God in creation, in the Church, in people and in Scripture. He is a model for us, giving us an example to follow as we struggle to live authentically our own Christian lives in our own difficult times."
The above are essays of serious tone. But St. Patrick's Day is a time for great fun as well. Enjoy!

In truth, however, my family doesn't celebrate St. Paddy's very much. The only memory I have of this holiday comes from some thirty years ago, when I bowled sixteen gutter-balls in a row. Sixteen! I wonder if that dismal performance is some kind of record. The spectators, so to speak, were guzzling green beer and cheering me on. My seventeenth turn yielded a strike! To this day, every time St. Patrick's Day rolls around, I get teased about that evening at the bowling alley.

Find additional information about St. Patrick's Day here.


At 3/16/2006 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let the Irish celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I'll raise a glass in honor of his memory and their past service, but the primary holiday I'll celebrate is an American one, July 4th. Of course, I used to celebrate that holiday on May 1st... but that was a while ago before the "labour movement" usurped it.

In the interest of unity, we should celebrate ALL the saints days... St. George... St. Andrew... St. Patrick... St. David... OR just one. That of their father, the American Saint... Tammanend. E Pluribus Unum. Of course I wish the Dem's (Tammany Hall) hadn't sullied his reputation. But then again, maybe someone, with a "higher" purpose in mind, INTENDED those memories of a rather rebellious time be forgotten, like the saint himself.

In "Eddis's Letters from America," dated Annapolis, Maryland, December 24, 1771, he writes, "The Americans on this part of the continent have likewise a Saint, whose history like those of the above venerable characters [St. George, St. Patrick, St. Andrew, and St. David] is lost in fable and uncertainty. The first of May is however, set apart to the memory of Saint Tamina on which occasion the natives wear a piece of buck's tail in their hats or in some conspicuous situation. During the course of the evening and generally in the midst of the dance, the company are interrupted by the sudden intrusion of a number of persons habited like Indians, who rush violently into the room, singing the war song, giving the whoop and dancing in the style of those people; after which ceremony a collection is made and they retire well satisfied with their reception and entertainment."

A later writer adds, "This custom of celebrating the day was continued down within the recollection of many of the present inhabitants of this city [Annapolis, 1841] ." We have noted this celebration here to show that the fame of Tamanend had traveled from the neighboring Province of Pennsylvania, where he had long been celebrated on account of his services to and friendship for the early settlers, and also to call attention to the custom of those taking part in the affair to decorate themselves with buck tails or buck skins, for the reason that a little later the followers of Tamanend and those subscribing to their ideas were designated in the public prints as "Buck Skins." The first meeting of the Society is recorded in an issue of the Pennsylvania Chronicle, dated May 4, 1772. "On Friday, the first instant, a number of Americans, Sons of King Tammany, met at the house of Mr. James Byrn, (Located on the west side of Tenth Street between Mulberry (Arch) and Sassafras (Race), Deed Book I, p. 36.) to celebrate the memory of that truly noble Chieftain whose friendship was most affectionately manifested to the worthy founder, and first settlers of this Province. After dinner the circulating glass was crowned with wishes loyal and patriotic and the day concluded with much cheerfulness and harmony. It is hoped from this small beginning a society may be formed of great utility to the distressed, as this meeting was more for the purpose of promoting charity and benevolence than mirth and festivity."
The following toasts were drunk on this occasion:

1. The King and Royal Family (George III. of England).
2. The Proprietors of Pennsylvania (Thomas Penn and John Penn, son of Richard).
3. The Governor of Pennsylvania (Richard Penn, Lieutenant-Governor son of Richard Penn).
4. Prosperity of Pennsylvania.
5. The Navy and Army of Great Britain.
6. The pious and immortal memory of King Tammany.
7. Speedy relief to the injured Queen of Denmark (Caroline Matilda, sister of George III. of England, and wife of Christian VII. of Denmark).
8. Unanimity between Great Britain and her Colonies.
9. Speedy repeal of all oppressive and unconstitutional acts.
10. May the Americans surely understand and faithfully defend their constitutional rights.
11. More spirit to the Councils of Great Britain.
12. The great philosopher, Dr. Franklin.
13. His Excellency, Governor Franklin, and prosperity to the Province of New Jersey.
14. His Excellency, Governor Tryon, and prosperity to the Province of New York.
15. The Honorable James Hamilton, Esq., late Governor of Pennsylvania.
16. The Chief-Justice of Pennsylvania (Honorable William Allen, vice Kinsey, deceased, 1750 to 1774).
17. The Speaker of the Honorable House of Assembly of Pennsylvania (Joseph Galloway).
18. The Recorder of the City of Philadelphia (William Parr, vice Chew, resigned).
19. The pious and immortal memory of General Wolfe.
20. The Pennsylvania farmer (John Dickinson).
21. May the Sons of King Tammany, St. George, St. Andrew, St. Patrick, and St. David love each other as brethren of one common ancestor, and unite in their hearty endeavors to preserve the native Constitutional American Liberties.

Further Reading

Perhaps I'll wear a "bucktail" instead of a clover tomorrow.


At 3/16/2006 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, maybe for some symmetry I'll hummmmmmmm "Garry Owen" as well... in memory of a certain "indian fighter" from the 7th Cav.

Let Bacchus' sons be not dismayed
But join with me, each jovial blade
Come, drink and sing and lend your aid
To help me with the chorus:

Instead of spa, we'll drink brown ale
And pay the reckoning on the nail;
No man for debt shall go to jail
From Garryowen in glory.

We'll beat the bailiffs out of fun,
We'll make the mayor and sheriffs run
We are the boys no man dares dun
If he regards a whole skin.


Our hearts so stout have got no fame
For soon 'tis known from whence we came
Where'er we go they fear the name
Of Garryowen in glory.


;-) FJ

At 3/16/2006 11:58 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

On St.Paddy's day, we are all of us Irish!

At 3/16/2006 12:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Memories of St. Patrick's father make me feel like dancing...

a war dance...

A curious anecdote connected with the Assemblies held during the winter of 1755, is related in this "extract of a letter from Trent Town, New Jersey," dated April 18th, 1755: "The ancient King of the Mohawks, (the same who was in England in Queen Anne's Time) came down with some of his Warriors this Winter to Philadelphia, and assured them of his friendship, though he owned many of the young Mohawks were gone over to the Enemy; they were entertained at the Stadthouse, and made their Appearance also among the Ladies on the Assembly Night, where they danced the Scalping Dance with all its Horrors, and almost terrified the Company out of their Wits. I must tell you they brought with them a beautiful young Lady, who in public made the Indian Compliment, a Tender of her Person to the Governor; as gallant a Man as he is, he was quite confounded at the Time. I know not if he accepted her".

The records would indicate that the Assemblies were given continuously through the seventeen fifties and sixties, although the lists of Directors have not been preserved for each year of this period.

In a letter of Edward Burd, dated December 15th, 1768, he says: "The Dutchess of Gordon is to appear to Night at the Assembly & is to be richly deckt with diamonds & other jewels & dressed most splendidly in Silver Silk. Neither She or Coll. Morris chuse to dance whenever they can avoid it, and therefore, the Company will be deprived of the Honour of dancing with a Dutchess. She has nothing to boast of with Regard to her Face or Person. Yet she is well esteemed as She is pretty sociable and don't seem to require that Preeminence over other Ladies, which some Ladies are so ambitious of".

During the War for Independence some attempts were made to keep up the Assembly Dances. Watson says that he saw written upon a "parchment" a list of seventy names, subscribers to the Assemblies for the winter of 1779-80.

From the Chevalier de Chastellux, who had seen active service during the Seven Years' War, we have, during his time of service in America under Rochambeau, some glimpses of Philadelphia Society.

Speaking of the subscription Assembly, he says: "The Assembly, or subscription ball, of which I must give an account, comes in here most appropriately. At Philadelphia, as at London, Bath, Spa, etc., there are spaces where the young people dance, and others where those to whom that sort of amusement does not suit, play different games of cards; but at Philadelphia only games or commerce are allowed. A manager, or master of ceremonies presides at these methodical amusements: He presents to the dancers folded billets which each contain a number; thus it is fate which decides the partner which one is to have for the whole evening. All the dances are arranged before hand, and the dancers are called each in turn. These dances, like the toasts which we drink at table, have some relation to politics: one is called the success of the campaign, another, the defeat of Burgoyne, and a third, Clinton's retreat. The Managers are generally chosen from among the most distinguished officers of the army; at present this important place is held by Colonel Wilkinson, who is also Clothier general of the army. Colonel Mitchell, a small stout man, fifty years of age, a great judge of horses, and who lately was contractor for carriages both for the American and the French armies, was formerly the Manager; but when I saw him he had descended from the magistracy and danced like any private citizen. It is said that he exercised his office with much severity, and it is related that a young lady who was taking part in a quadrille, having forgotten her turn, because she talked with a friend, he came up and said to her aloud: 'come Miss, take care what you are about, do you think you are here for your pleasure'?


At 3/16/2006 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course, from the 1st (GenWeb) source...

Tamanend's mark is made in imitation of a snake not tightly coiled

I suspect it looked something like this .

...although originally, it was something probably more like this.


At 3/16/2006 12:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, one last song and this grasshopper will go back to sleep.

"The First of May, A new Song in Praise of St. Tammany, the American Saint—
"Tune, The hounds are all out &c.

"Of St. George or St. Bute, let the poet laureat sing,
Of Pharaoh or Pluto of old,
While he rimes forth their praise, in false flattering lays,
I'll sing of St. Tamm'ny the bold, my brave boys.
Let Hibernia's sons boast, make Patrick their toast,
And Scots Andrew's fame spread abroad,
Potatoes and oates and Welch Leeks, for Welch goats,
Was never St. Tammany's food, my brave boys.
In freedom's bright cause, Tammany pled with applause,
And reason'd most justly from nature;
For this, this was his song, all, all the day long,
Liberty's the right of each creature, brave boys.
Whilst under an oak his great parliament sat,
His throne was the crotch of the tree,
With Solomon's look, without statutes or book,
He wisely sent forth his decree, my brave boys.
His subjects stood round, not the least noise or sound,
Whilst freedom blaz'd full in each face;
So plain were the laws, and each pleaded his cause,
That might Bute, North and Mansfield disgrace, my brave boys.
No duties nor stamps, their blest liberty cramps,
A King, tho' no tyrant was he;
He did oft' times declare, nay sometimes would swear,
The least of his subjects were free, my brave boys.
He, as King of the woods, of the rivers and floods,
Had a right all beasts to control;
Yet content with a few, to give nature her due,
So gen'rous was Tammany's soul! my brave boys.
In the morn he arose, and a hunting he goes,
Bold Nimrod his second, was he;
For his breakfast he'd take a large venison stake,
And dispis'd your flip-flops and tea, my brave boys.
While all in a row, with squaw, dog and b__,
Vermilion adorning his face;
With feathery head he rang' d the woods wide,
Sure St. George had never such grace, my brave boys:
His jetty black hair, such as Buckskin saints wear,
Perfumed with bear's grease well smear'd,
Which illum'd the saint's face, and ran down apace,
Like the oil from off Aaron's beard, my brave boys.
The strong nervous deer, with amazing career,
In swiftness he'd fairly run down,
And, like Sampson, wou'd tear wolf, lion or bear;
Ne'er was such a saint as our own, my brave boys.
When he'd run down a stag, he behind him wou'd lag,
For so noble a soul had he!
H'd stop, tho' he lost it, tradition reports it,
To give him fresh chance to get free, my brave boys.
From his quiver he drew forth an arrow so keen,
And seiz'd fast his imperial bow;
It flew straight to the heart, like an Israelite dart;
Could St. Andrew ever do so, my brave boys?
With a mighty strong aim, and a masculine bow,
His arrow he drew to the head,
And as sure as he shot, it was ever his lot,
His prey it fell instantly dead, my brave boys.
His table he spread, where the venison bled;
Be thankful, he used to say;
He'd laugh and he'd sing, tho' a saint and a king,
And sumptuously dine on his prey, my brave boys.
Then over the hills, o'er the mountains and rills,
He'd caper, such was his delight;
And ne'er in his days, Indian history says,
Did lack a good Supper at night, my brave boys.
On an old stump he sat, without cap or hat,
When Supper was ready to eat;
Snap his dog, he stood by, and cast a sheep's eye,
For venison's the king of all meat, my brave boys.
Like Isaac of old, and both cast in one mould,
Tho' a wigwam was Tamm'ny's cottage,
He lov'd sav'ry meat, such that patriarch eat;
Of ven'son and squirrel made pottage, my brave boys.

* * * *

As old age came on, he grew blind, deaf and dumb,
Tho' his sport ‘twere hard to keep from it,
Quite tired of life, bid adieu to his wife,
And blaz' d like the tail of a comit, my brave boys.

What country on earth, then did ever give birth,
To such a magnanimous saint?
His acts far excel all that history tell,
And language too feeble to paint, my brave boys.
Now to finish my song, a full flowing bowl;
I'll quaff' and sing the long day,
And with punch and wine paint my cheeks for my saint,
And hail ev'ry first of Sweet May, my brave boys."


At 3/16/2006 1:07 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

Top o the mornin to ya lassie!...Enjoy!..have a green bagel ..on me!

At 3/16/2006 1:34 PM, Blogger kevin said...

Dia duit!
aye, Brooke said it, we're all Irish on St. Paddy's!

At 3/16/2006 1:45 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

The Catholic Church is allowing for a dispensation so that Roman Catholics may eat meat this Friday on St. Patrick's Day. Just as long as they don't prohibit drinking green beer.

At 3/16/2006 7:08 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...


There is a dirty little secret you just aired. Christianity is the religion of anti slavery. Most men of the cloth in the inner city point this out to the clowns calling themselves Shabaz or X.

The entire notion of Islam as an anti slavery expression of Black Nationalism is comedic.

Stay away from green meat.

At 3/16/2006 8:26 PM, Blogger MissingLink said...

OK,.Happy St. Patrick day!

At 3/16/2006 8:30 PM, Blogger The MaryHunter said...

Good info, especially the contextual section. Hadn't really thought about St. Patrick much... even though I am Catholic (not Irish tho).

I never celebrated per se on St. Paddy's day, just the "wear green or you get pinched" business perpetrated in school. I do have a smashing green hat that I'll wear tomorrow -- velvet and fedora-like, though from Germany ca. 1960s.

At 3/16/2006 8:45 PM, Anonymous Patrick said...

I read a long article some years back that claimed St Patrick was actually guilty of genocide. The claim was that there never were any snakes in Ireland, and in those days Jews were referred to as "snakes" in Ireland. St Paddy drove them out.
The church not wanting yet another blemish on their already shocking record subtly manipulated it to be real snakes.

That was the thrust of the article I read, true or false who knows, but a very different take on it.

At 3/16/2006 9:10 PM, Anonymous GM Roper said...

Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong!"

GM Roper's Corollary: "Murphy was an optimist."

Sure 'n I'll lift up me arm holding a pint an toast ye all.

At 3/17/2006 12:33 AM, Blogger nanc said...

and a good st. patty's day from the irish side of nanc - don't forget the corned beef and cabbage to go along with the green bilge - aye, makes for a very interesting rest of the weekend!

At 3/17/2006 6:40 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Murphy's Law: "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong!"

GM Roper's Corollary: "Murphy was an optimist."

No doubt! I didn't get my fast Internet connection last night. The home phone line has a terrible hum on it, so I have to wait until the line is cleared.

Well, I've waited this long for a faster connecition, so I guess that I can wait a few more days. I'm hoping that, this time, the phone trouble is a few mere days. The last time I endured this kind of phone trouble, it took 26 days for the phone company to correct the problem!

At 3/17/2006 6:55 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I had no idea about Tamanend. And what a list of toasts!

One thing about the Irish: They party.

the primary holiday I'll celebrate is an American one, July 4th

My husband and I used to throw huge bashes for the Fourth of July. In 1993, a friend of ours brought his karaoke machine (fairly rare then), and we took turns performing on the front yard. Our neighborhood wasn't as built up then, so we got away with all the noise-making. I rather imagine that the "new neighbors" in their McMansions would object now. We stopped the celebrations as we got older--too much work!

Just imagine what Irish karaoke would be like! I'm guessing that some Irish bars offer such entertainment.

At 3/17/2006 6:57 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Christianity is the religion of anti slavery.

Most history textbooks leave out that detail.

At 3/17/2006 6:59 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I don't have such a fancy hat. But I do have a hat-and-scarf set, which my cousin crocheted just for St. Patrick's Day. I'll be wearing them today.

At 3/17/2006 7:01 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I saw information about that special dispensation on the news. Allowances made for corned beef and cabbage, I guess.

At 3/17/2006 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

St. Patrick's Day is another useless holiday. Sad thing is, most Americans don't understand the significance, if any, of this day (I think I just proved I don't either).

At 3/17/2006 5:14 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Jus' remember, if'n ye ain't got enough te drink t'day, there's always St. Brendan's Day t'morrow.


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