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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish wannabe

Kiss Me Im Irish Pictures, Images and Photos

It's St. Patrick's Day again and here I am, a melting pot American, longing for a fiercely loyal heritage. I've always been a bit jealous of friends who wear their lineage like a badge -- who celebrate St. Patrick's Day or Cinqo de Mayo or Oktoberfest as part of their connection to the motherland.

Of all of the ethnicities I wish I could be, Irish is the one I most pine after. Maybe it's the adorable brogue or the stiff-skirted dancers or the stew. Maybe it's just that St. Patrick's Day is such a fun celebration, made more festive, I think, by the fact that it often accompanies the coming of spring when people are looking for a reason to come out of hibernation and be social again.

I wear green on St. Patrick's Day. I try to cook something festive -- for the past several years we've had green pancakes for breakfast. When the kids were little, we always went to the St. Patrick's Day parade. And I love to listen to all the naughty tricks the leprechaun pulled at school.

But I don't pretend that I am Irish. I didn't name my kids Killian and Seamus and Colleen. I wouldn't feel right about hanging out at the Golden Ace where the real Irishmen in town go on St. Patrick's Day.

In the vernacular of Harry Potter, I suppose I would be considered a "mudblood" with a mix of Swiss and German in my heritage. At least I've got the good chocolates on my side.

I can pretend to be Irish a little by marriage. Though my father-in-law's family is from England, my mother-in-law is Irish. Her mother was a Dunnivan who married a Donovan. Mike's grandfather once enraged an army official who asked him what his wife's maiden name was.

"Dunnivan," he said, his voice thick with a Boston accent.

"No," said the official, "What was her last name before she married you?"

"Dunnivan," the young Mr. Donovan replied.

"Not her name now. Before you got married, she was Miss...what?"

The way the story goes, it was quite the Abbott and Costello moment. Dunnivan. Donovan. Potato (Irish, of course). Potahto. Whatever it is, Erin go bragh!

(The cute little clover above qualifies me for "Him, Me and Our Three's" Celebration of Green giveaway. Check it out here!)


Beth Zimmerman said...

She's back!!!! :) I'm Heinz 57 Varieties myself. Married a pure German (2nd generation American). And I too have always had a slight yearning for the wearin' of the green, etc. Wonder if a few generations from now American will be considered a pure heritage? Somehow I doubt it!

Beth Bates said...

Hee! I love the Dunnivan-Donovan story!

Shelley said...

LOL @ Dunnivan-Donovan!

I guess I'm a lucky one, then, because my heritage and Brian's is alllll Irish and English, him with a little bit of Cherokee thrown in on his paternal grandmother's side. We're buried under layers of Dunkins and Hoys and Shaughnesseys and, well, McKinneys. :>)

May the road rise up to meet ye, Amy o' the house O'Magan.

Joanne said...

I love that story!!! I proudly proclaim my 1/4 Irish Heritage on the 17th - thanks to my gramma O'Gorman that I never had the delight and privilege to meet.

Sharon said...

Cute story. :)

My husband's side is pretty Irish. His grandparents actually went to Ireland and met a distant relative (great uncle or something). It was the most favorite country I've visited, I love the dancing. LOVE the music, etc.

We do Irish names, but that's more my doing. I AM what some would call a wannabe, but ya know, as much as I love the Irish, there HAS to be some true Irish in me. ;)

Traci said...

Well as a Shannon, I think your green heart should win you some Irish cred! There is an award for you over at my place for blogs I just found that I love!