For many of us blessed with an Irish heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a pretty special occasion. It’s a day to gather as a tribe and celebrate life, laughter and the end of winter. Most years finds mid March in Maryland a wee bit on the chilly side but that was certainly not the case today. It was about as good a day as anyone could ask for which made it doubly hard to return to the office after lunch.
TW and I were up in Towson for a meeting that ran until about 1:00 PM. On the way back to Howard County we stopped in Baltimore and paid a visit to J. Patrick’s in South Baltimore. We were going to drop in on my sister Kelly and her friends Joe and Wally who have been going to this particular pub on March 17th as long as anyone can remember.
Joe is a retired mailman who lives in Florida now but still returns every year for the “holiday week.” Wally is a priest.
As Wally explains, the St. Patrick’s celebration for him begins on Pi Day where the tradition is to enjoy pie with the Guinness. The next day is the Ides of March and as Wally puts it “It’s a day to celebrate with our Italian friends because we don’t think they should be left out of the fun.”
The 16th is known as vigil day. It is more or less a day preparation for the feast day. On vigil day you simply make sure you are at the bar at J. Patrick's at midnight to toast in the dawn of feast day with a pint and a shot.
St. Patrick’s Day is of course what he refers to as feast day. Wally, Kelly and Joe have take up residence at their regular place at the bar. The bartender knows to keep at least three ready pints of Guinness in front of them and they maintain their own tab. They hold court here giving out pints, roses for the ladies, chocolate coins and other trinkets including bumper stickers. As soon as TW and I walked in the door we were handed a pint from a priest. How good is that?
The 18th is openly acknowledged as hangover day. A day to sleep late and recover. The holiday week ends on the 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph, when they go back to J. Patrick's and settle up their bill.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!