So the big day is almost here, St. Patrick's Day. Unless of course, you live here in the Quad Cities, then we're down to a mere number of hours until The Grand Parade and the beginning of the celebration that is St. Patrick's Day. The Grand Parade starts in Rock Island, Illinois and ends in downtown Davenport, Iowa. It is the only bi-state parade in America. To learn more, please see the link below and if you are anywhere near the parade route, come on out and enjoy the fun.
I understand that St. Patrick's Day is not nearly as big a deal in Ireland as it is here in America. And I suppose I would be remiss not to acknowledge that there will be a few (well, perhaps a tinge more than a few) who will be over-served and may get a bit too loud. I would respectfully submit that you will have that in any crowd. I know that I will long be home before those revelers kick it in to high gear.
For my family and I, St. Patrick's Day has a deep personal connection. My Mother, Catherine Brigit O'Neill Berta, was 100% Irish. We lost her three years ago next month and she is dearly missed every day. However, her spirit is always with us and even more so this time of year. And with that, I give you my Poem to St. Patrick's Day, dedicated to my Mom. I hope you like it.
This is the weekend for wearing your green;
Shamrocks and smiles will be seen;
There will be The Grand Parade;
And many a toast will surely be made.
Songs will be sung in various keys;
Of the Emerald Isle, if you please;
Corn beef and cabbage is the fare;
Grab a plate, there’s plenty to share.
We hold these days as a time of fun;
Yet let us not fail to recall how it all begun;
When Ireland bid farewell to her daughters and sons;
From the decks of ships they strived to see;
That mythical Statute of Liberty;
A new home, a new life;
And yet the early days were full of strife.
When they first sought work, they found a sign;
That bitterly read: “No Irish Need Apply.”
Wearing tattered clothes yet standing straight;
No self-pity allowed, their own way they would make.
They Dug canals, built buildings and farmed the land;
It is on their shoulders we descendants stand.
When the bugle blew, they answered the call;
To fight for freedom, even though they may fall;
Their standards flew proud and true;
Irish green in their hearts, yet now serving under the red, white and blue.
Through song and tale, and with sharp wit;
The Irish have enhanced our culture, and more than a bit;
There have been cops and fireman, servants true;
And of course, a politician or two.
I am proud to be Irish, and grateful too;
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you!