Last Saturday, Danny and I rode the chairlift with a friendly gentleman. We commented on the the fine weather and fresh snow and noticed his accent. This started a guessing game. He removed his goggles and squinted into the bright sunshine as Danny and I tried to guess his nationality. After naming eight or nine countries, we gave up. He said, “I’m Ukrainian.”
We continued talking after we arrived at the top. Then he wanted to guess my heritage. He asked me to take off my goggles and look at him straight on and then in profile. “Irish,” he said, “Your nose gave it away! It’s the same one they drew on Leprechaun’s in books and cartoons back in the day.”
My father always claimed he was full-blooded Irish. Then out of the blue a couple of years ago, he mentioned a Scottish great grandmother who came to live with them for a while. “What?” My mother asked with skepticism and just about fell over.
Knowing that I’m more than 75% Irish (maybe closer to 70% with this recent revelation), always put a spring in my Irish step this time of year. Another part of that spring comes from nostalgic memories.
They started a new and unique tradition. Every year, on St. Patrick’s Day Eve, the Leprechauns visited our house. They were a messy lot and would spill their chocolate filled coins all over the house while we slept. My sister and I searched high and low for the little fellas, but we never found them. Later, my brother joined in the shenanigans.
My mother would bake an apple pie while corned beef, carrots and cabbage simmered all afternoon on the stove top. The scent was heavenly. As if that weren’t enough, she baked soda bread. After my dad returned from work, we would sit down to an authentic Irish feast while traditional music played from my dad’s record player.
I continued this tradition with my own family. For my son Kelly, this is one of his favorite holidays. Every year, he makes an Irish feast for his friends. I am still working on an invitation.
So when I look in the mirror at my pug Irish nose, I smile. I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, even for a glimpse of those elusive Leprechauns.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
To watch Danny and I dance an Irish jig – Click HERE!
For the more about my family’s fun with Leprechauns – Click HERE!
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