Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Have you ever wanted to, you know, be more Irish? Especially today. Here are 5 ways to do just that.
St. Paddy’s Day is an important holiday here at The Daily Blur, because, hey, we are Irish. For your holiday enjoyment, these are some lessons I learned from my favorite Irishman. Born on March 22, 1906, to Irish immigrants, his name was Frank Quinlan. He was my grandpa. He was Tim’s grandpa too, and John’s grandpa, and all our many cousins, because, as I mentioned, we are Irish, so there are a lot of us. He taught us a lot of stuff, and most of it got us into trouble with Grandma June. But not all of it amounted to mischief. Here are some rules for life, gleaned from watching our grandpa live his Irish life with joy.
1. Give generously. Grandpa Frank was a gardener. A farmer by trade, he grew lots of delicious food for the dinner table. But amazingly, he gave away more. Sacks of veggies showed up mysteriously on the doorsteps of neighbors and family members on a regular basis. Grandpa Frank delighted in giving away the fruits of his efforts.
2. Support your partner unconditionally. My Grandma June was a delightful force of nature. She was full of ideas and energy and loved activity. She served her elderly relatives and her bachelor brother without fail. Grandpa always supported her, acting as her chauffeur as they went around on visits, and patiently waiting as she did errands for others.
3. Don’t take life too seriously. Grandpa loved jokes and pranks. He talked about my grandma behind her back (literally – she wore a hearing aid and could only hear you if you were in front of her!). But his humor was always kind hearted, never mean-spirited. He was just plain fun to be around. His lighthearted approach served him well in both good times and hard times, of which there were plenty of both.
4. Serve your community. My grandpa was the township assessor and supervisor for his rural area here in Champaign County. People in need came to the house for help at all kinds of crazy hours. Public service was important. He and Grandma were both strong supporters of their political party and got involved in local elections.
5. Have a refuge. Grandpa had a comfortable, green brocade couch in the basement of their farmhouse. It wasn’t a beauty to look out, but boy-oh-boy, could you take a good nap on that thing. Grandpa tested it out almost every afternoon. In the cool, quiet basement, Grandpa recharged his batteries. Nearby, the pantry was stocked with dry roasted peanuts and the ancient basement fridge held a half-finished Pepsi or Budweiser. By the way, if you ever drive by a coffee shop called “Grandpa Frank’s Basement,” stop in. It means a dream has come true for Tim and me.
I’m thankful for my generously varied heritage. My ancesors all came from at least 5 different countries of origin. But down-deep, I always think of myself as Irish. And especially so on St. Patrick’s Day. I give thanks that the best Irish guy I knew taught me a lot about what that means. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.