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Green Beer, 5th Avenue, and the Wearing of the Green
3/18/2010 - Jamie Dedes

I hope everyone had a fun St. Paddy's Day. I passed the day pleasantly and indulged in a bit of nostalgia for my home, Brooklyn/Manhattan, which makes a bigger deal of the day than is made in the place where I live now, Northern California. 

Ah, scents and sights of St. Paddyís Day in New York. Well, we never did the beer thing being teetotalers (I know, boring), except for my father who liked his ouzo but didnít live with us. We werenít, however, above clapping with glee to Irish drinking songs.Finneganís Wake stands out in my mind. We did do the trek from Brooklyn to Manhattan, taking the shake-rattle-and-roll BMT for a nickle from Fourth Avenue and Eighty-sixth Street in Bay Ridge into the city for the St. Patrick's Day parade. I no longer remember what changes or transfers we made or where we disembarked. we always wore a bit of green, usually some sort of shamrock pin and, when I was little, a green ribbon in my hair.

In the days before I was born, me older half-sister used ride her horse in the parade. That little tidbit was ritually repeated to me each year, and each year I received it with much fascination. In my imagination, she was more like Annie Oakley than a dark little girl from Brooklyn who took riding lessons (a gift from a generous uncle) in Central Park.

Mom didnít make the requisite corned-beef and cabbage. No.That was pretty much out of her area of competence: boiling water for tea! However, many restaurants did a good job of it in honor of the day, so we ate out. If we didnít, we still got the whiff of cabbage cooking in other apartments of our building, 8829 Fort Hamilton Parkway, #D61.

Other memories: St. Patís on 95th and 5th was always appropriately decorated for the week, and the priestsí vestments often included green. In scouts, we put white carnations in green-tinted water to make bouquets of green flowers.

Good days. Good fun. A great and loveable people.

And, in celebration of the day and the Irish, this might interest you: The Dead (the recitation piece), based on the James Joyce short story of the same name and from the John Houston movie. I think that was his last film.

Jamie Dedes


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