Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Drunks


Connecticut Avenue NW, just above Dupont Circle, along the western "wall" of the Masonic pyramid.

St. Patrick's Day was my least favorite day of the year when I was a bartender. I would trade for the lowliest shift imaginable so as to avoid contending with the inevitable glazed eyes, foul behavior and sloppiness that accompanies any American celebration of this day.

God knows, the Irish have had an unhappy history; drinking to excess during any number of horrible periods of time would have made sense to me, too. But here in the U.S., for most white people, life has been pretty easy. Not for everyone, but certainly for the dudes who can afford to pound down the green beers until they can't stand up, it's hard to imagine circumstances that could justify the quest to get completely wasted - except for the "truth" that those dudes love getting wasted. Any excuse will do. It seems disrespectful, but what do I know? I'm not Irish.

At least that's what I used to think about on the unfortunate occasions when I had no choice except to tend bar on St. Patrick's Day. Thank goodness my bartending days are long past. Today I'm going to make an Irish stew to celebrate. I'm hoping the stew will turn out to be colorful, warm and aromatic enough to combat the unrelenting gloom that has settled over Washington DC. Here in the house on Tennessee Avenue, we'll have a couple of beers, some stew, and of course I'll remember to leave a small glass of Irish whiskey out on the table for the Leprecauns. It will be, as usual, a low-key celebration after which we'll turn in early. Oh yeah!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields,
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.


Slainte, ya'll!

33 comments:

Lisa said...

not a fan of St Patricks day-not at all.grumble, whinge, whine, groan xx

Just me said...

Try teaching middle school on St. Patty's day! I'd bet eighth graders rival the drunks, though in a very different way.

(The same holds true for Valentine's Day, Halloween, and April Fool's Day...)

Steve said...

St. Patrick's day never really hits my radar at all. I even forgot to wear green today!

Auntie, aka cagny said...

Hello!
I will NEVER forget one St. Paddy's day in Manhattan...about 20years ago...It was a cold snowy day. After the parade, I was standing on Madison Avenue waiting for my bus, and I saw this young man pissy-drunk and lying on the snowy curb. Face down. OMG.
Nevertheless, I like St. Patrick's Day only because it means spring is right around the corner!!!

Reya Mellicker said...

Good way to look at it Cagny.

Just me? Oh, that is SCARY, the idea of eighth graders on any day of the year. I can only imagine!

Butternut Squash said...

My boys left this morning in army green, and a green Hawaiian shirt. We are having corned beef and cabbage and Irish soda bread for dinner tonight. We don't drink but we do love an occaision, and Irish music, and limericks, and the brogue.

There was an Old Man of Columbia,
Who was thirsty, and called out for some beer;
But they brought it quite hot,
In a small copper pot,
Which disgusted that man of Columbia. -by Edward Lear

mary said...

May you be thirty minutes in Heaven before the devil knows you're dead.

Loved St. Paddy's in college- put on a short little kilt and hang out at the Pub. Always thought it silly in So Cal that the biggest drunken parties were at the Mexican resturants - now I play music all day from Ireland, smile at the sweet memories of trips there and beautiful, red haired cousins and start planning my next visit. Slainte!!

Reya Mellicker said...

Slainte!! Indeed.

Love your blessing, Mary.

And the limerick! Very cool.

deborah said...

brava for the toast
brava for you

tut-tut said...

Not an evening to be about on the roads, that's for sure.

Greg said...

St. Patrick's Day is amateur Night for drinkers....

Elizabeth said...

Poor you being a bar tender...even if long ago.
My student/young person jobs were all in book shops where few people puked!
St.Patty's was not much celebrated in England where I grew up!
Our family doctor was Dr.McCarthy, our son's bride Kristin McCarthy.(not related!) My husband half Irish so I would wear a green sweater when I was a teacher...
Celebrate green anyway!

willow said...

Mmmmm...that Irish stew sounds dee-lish! Lucky leprocauns at your place!

May the wind be always at your back! x

SJW said...

Didn't realise drinking to excess was a St Patrick's Day problem in the US as well - though I suppose it follows. It certainly is here in Ireland, though I think more in recent times, ie since there's been more money about and very much among the younger age group.

I brought my daughter, niece and nephew into the parade in central Dublin. Good fun.

Overall it's generally an enjoyable holiday, family day.

Enjoy your Irish stew - sounds delicious and a Happy St Patrick's Day from Ireland.

Ronda Laveen said...

Your post brought back long burried(stuffed)memories. A number of years ago,I managed a bowling center. Which meant I had to manage the bar too. Which in turn meant I was responsible for planning the party, promoting,ordering,purchasing, staffing, decorating,assisting, bouncing, calling cabs, and cleaning up.

I echo the sentiments of "Just me," only on the adult-kid level. But even though those days made me shudder, in the end I still couldn't stop getting caught up in the excitement of the energy.

hele said...

heehee, maybe they are playing hide and seek with truth.

blonderthanyou said...

im irish and im wearing three shades of green today...but i dont like fighting my way into my fave pub for a Guinness... i prefer a cup of tea and shot of whiskey at home...and
i just give the whole night to the kids!!
xoxo

Reya Mellicker said...

You mean the Leprecauns? Surely they are, the little tricksters. Hele you are so good.

SJW - How cool to think of you and yours in Dublin parading around in celebration. I love that.

Ronda - Bowling center? Wow. The things we've done, isn't is amazing having had a career of careers?

Carolyn said...

Every day we are given is a day to celebrate but who needs the alcohol? I do love the first photo, Reya you have such a way with reflections! Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!
Smiles

Ronda Laveen said...

Yes, I love having a career of careers. I've been doing bodywork for 18 years and, in some way or another, always will. But it does make me wonder "what is next?"

Reya Mellicker said...

Ronda, for me it's 12 years, but like you I do wonder what's next. Very cool.

Hilarywho said...

I spent the day in downtown Detroit today and forgot it was St. Patricks day till I saw some loud and stumbling drunk young men on the street, wearing all sorts of silly green stuff - at noon!

The oddest thing I saw today was an Arab woman wearing a head scarf, with a green tee-shirt pulled over her traditional garb.

Delwyn said...

Not much in the way of St Pat down here

but I love your little budding Irish green leaves...

Reya Mellicker said...

Delwyn those are shamrocks. Supposedly if you find a four-leafed shamrock, it will bring you luck.

Hilary, how perfect.

And Blonder than you, I bet your are truly gorgeous in your various shades of green, with all that luxurious blond hair. Wow. I salute you.

Pam said...

St. Patrick's Day has been and gone now in Australia, and gardener's will be out in force buying sweet peas which are planted "any time after St. Patrick's Day" in the Southern Hemisphere. St. Pat's is usually an occasion here in Australia given our strong Irish settlement - I had years of driving my daughter and her friends around the venues for Irish dancing displays - those days are long gone now, but I miss the music and fun, but then I didn't have to work behind a bar!

Merle Sneed said...

I returned all the St' Patrick's Day remarked directed at me with, "Oh, is that today?"

k-brow said...

My Irish husband is out of town, and I am craving sushi...putting off my corned beef and cabbage meal til Saturday. I like the idea of leaving the whiskey out for the fae folk, though.

Funny, we always celebrated St. Paddy's by cooking at home and having some Guinness at home, mostly because we're crowd-phobes. When I lived in Arlington, though, I observed that the Arlington/Alexandria/DC crowd was the biggest bunch of St. Paddy's Day drunks I ever encountered.

I tend not to enjoy any of those school craziness holidays anymore, mostly because I spend them with the wee folk, by the time I get home, I'm just DONE. Your stew sounds wonderfully warming, though.

Andrea said...

I,too, am not that fond of St. Patrick's Day and using the day as an excuse for getting wasted. I do love the "green" of the holiday and think the color is appropriate as we (finally) head into spring. (I'm just a few miles out of DC so I know how gloomy it's been lately!

Janelle said...

when was it? st patrick's day? god. am so out of touch..i know all the muslim holidays though...we've just had maulid. LOVE that pick of the red buds...looked initially like buds floating on a pink lake!? and i see spring is on its way...what a beautiful pic of the fresh green buds...oh we need some rain here..another white hot day ahead i see out my window...oh oh oh. love toujours xxx j oh and ps LOVE the self portrait!

Fire Byrd said...

I'm half Irish ( my mum was Irish) and the rest of me is English and we in England apart form the hard core corners do not celebrate St Patrick's day. We don't celebrate St George either for that matter.
Stiff upper lip and all that don't you know.... meand were party poppers!
x

Mrsupole said...

I kept forgetting it was St Patricks day and I wore black not green. I wonder what that means. Must be because I have a headache or something. I guess I should of watched more TV or something today to hear anyone talk about it.

But it was in the 80's here today, the sun was shining brightly and it might rain again on Sunday. All we do is think of when will the next rain come. Everything focuses on the rain. When the heat comes it will not be good. I want to sing the itsy bitsy spider song so the rain can come and wash the spider out. But it was a beautiful day here.

I hope my head stops hurting soon. Am glad you did not have to work with a bunch of drinkers today, but I am sure someone had to do it. Hope your stew was good. It sure sounds good.

God bless.

karen said...

Thanks for that beautiful blessing, and smiling at the thought of the leprechauns!

Barbara Martin said...

Love the last photo of the green buds, Reya.

I'm a bit Irish from my mother's side, but I'm not one to drink to excess. Where I grew up St. Patrick's Day wasn't celebrated much except as a day to exchange greeting cards. When I came to Toronto, it was a different story (the same with Halloween).