Saturday, March 17, 2007

Whiskey in the Jar

Saint Patrick is the Patron Saint of Ireland. He lived in the fifth century and is credited with the using the Shamrock (a 3 leaf clover) to teach the Holy Trinity to the inhabitants of what is now known as Ireland. He is also credited with the banishing serpents from Ireland. These serpents were probably the Druids and not of the reptilian variety.

Today we celebrated his name day.

Being a native Chicagoan I well know how to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; you just keep drinking until you pass out. Even if you were not Irish you would celebrate on this day; March 17th. In Chicago, everybody is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

This is a very busy day for neighborhood taverns in Chicago, especially in the Irish neighborhoods. I wonder if these neighborhoods still exist as they did when I was a teen. Back the 1950’s Chicago neighborhoods were very ethnic in character.

One of the things that I remember most about St. Patrick’s Day is that any underage person with a dollar in his pocket could get served in the neighborhood Bars. You could be sitting next to a Cop, in uniform (and drinking “on the House”), and still get a draft beer for a dime. I doubt if this is still the case, even in Chicago.

My favorite memories of St. Patrick’s Day are:

1) Charlottesville, Virginia 1978 at the Irish Games at Tonsler Park. I actually participated in several events including the Kaber Toss. The Irish whiskey shots had diminished my ability and I finished 12th out of 18 in this contest. At this time I also learned that Tullamore Dew was the best Irish sipping Whiskey that exists – far better than the more popular brands.

2) The Annapolis. Maryland Pub crawl 1991. Five guys and eight women; a beer and a shot of Irish in every bar. Thirteen Bars and thirteen people. Thirteen must be a magic number for me, as I got a roll in the sack with a young lady that I had been lusting after for several years.

3) Washington DC, 1986, at the Irish Times. Then we also went to several other Irish pubs within walking distance. I was accompanied by an Irish friend. We started at noon, I was sleeping in the car on the ride home to Maryland at 8PM. All of the bars had traditional Irish music. We sang along with the tunes as well as we could. We knew most of the words to the songs, but after several shots of Irish whiskey and many pints of Guinness and Harp our memory of the lyric became askew.

I don’t have any Irish whiskey at home, nor do I have any Guinness or Harp. I’m drinking Vodka and chasing it with a Miller Lite. I have no plans to go out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tonight, although a friend called and asked if I did want come out of my cave to celebrate

At this time, I’m listening to Irish Folk music and drinking. Isn’t that what a person does on St. Patrick’s Day?

I have several Clancy Brother’s Albums as well as two 90 minute cassette tapes of their music that were given to me by my Irish friends. Irish folk music is classified into three categories: Love songs (very few), song of rebellion and protest (many) and drinking songs (very many). I like the drinking songs!

My favorite Clancy Brothers songs are:
1) Finnegan’s Wake
2) Johnny Mac Adoo
3) Whiskey in the Jar (AKA Darlin' Sportin' Jenny)
4) They're Moving Father's Grave to Build a Sewer

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

The Beach Bum


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