I’m a mutt, really, but a big part of my mutt-ness is Irish. My family never really embraced our heritage because it was no big deal. Most people in East Tennessee are Scots-Irish, so it was never anything special until I went away to college.
When I was an undergraduate, my closest friends were Hispanic-Navajo-Irish-American, Vietnamese-American, German-American, African-Irish-American, Scots-Irish-American, and British American. Being around such diversity made me appreciate my own heritage a little more, and I studied a little of the history of Ireland. I’m not a scholar by any stretch, and my understanding of Irish history is more like a faint mist than anything solid, but I’m proud of that part of my lineage.
I’ll leave it to others to debate the complexities of St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not interested in unraveling the centuries of turmoil and oppression that have plagued the island. I am interested in healing old wounds and reconciling old schisms. On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone wishes they were Irish, and not many other cultures have a day devoted just to them. Those of us with Irish blood should hold ourselves high and feel proud on this day. We have a tremendous cultural history and long-standing traditions as teachers, firefighters, police officers, writers, artists, and musicians.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone. “May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.”