It had been years since I attended a St. Patrick’s Day parade – the traditions were kept up with making Grandma Creegan’s Irish Soda bread and making corned beef and cabbage. But this year we skid-addled to downtown Phoenix and check out the annual parade.
All things Irish bring out the nostalgia in me, having grown up in an Irish neighborhood in New Jersey (you can imagine that Italians stuck out like a sore thumb). We had both Catholic and Protestant on our block, so it made for quite an interesting combination. Our block was within hearing distance of the church bells from both denominations. Underneath it all we all knew that being American was our common thread, and no one argued with that.
For me, it was all the more exciting because that meant sharing celebrations and holidays – including different kinds of foods and the shock of learning that other families did things differently than ours. It wouldn’t be until my first trip to Dublin that I would be introduced to the pub crawl, real draft Guinness, Black and Tan, Lager and Lime, and Shanties. But the camaraderie of being American and at the grassroots of an immigrant community is something that I will always cherish.
In Phoenix, the weather cooperated perfectly, and we were not disappointed. The crowd was small to NYC standards, but it was obvious that there are a lot of Irish in town. We’ll have to check out the Irish Cultural Center when it is expected to be completed in April. The crowd had just about everybody in it. There was also a good representation of the town in the parade – who knew there were so many bagpipers in the area? Irish Wolfhounds, Bassets, Setters and horses were all well represented, too. Irish dancers, family floats, the Ladies of High Tea and the Roller Derby Ladies all made for some good entertainment. I have a few pictures posted below.
After an hour and a half of waving and greeting, we turned our sights to the one thing that was missing – beer! So it was off to the George and Dragon and the satisfying pull of Guinness lace on our glasses. A salute to a fun day!