Thursday, March 17, 2016

St. Patrick's Day 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Pleasant surprises abound across this great country, some of them in the most unexpected places. Savannah will host one of those wonderful annual surprises today. At 10:15, rain or shine, the Saint Patrick's Day parade will step off for the 188th time. Almost half a million people will line the streets and squares of this historic city to watch a family-friendly event. Organizers have worked hard over the past years to keep the "Saint" and sanity in the holiday, confining most of the adult revelry to River Street following the parade. That was fine with me even in my early thirties during a second adolescence. 
It's only since the arrival of "the book"- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - and the discovery of Savannah as a significant tourist destination that issues with irreverent activities became serious on St. Patrick's Day. [See "A Night[and Day] in Old Savannah," August 23, 2008, for details.]  

My first parade there was in 1978 when I lived in the historic district. Over the years, I lost count as the events merged one into the other during my tenure in the Coastal Empire. Eventually, our children became Irish for a day and were part of the parade. They sat on the folded top of a hot convertible and waved their green, white and orange flags to the crowds. They have plenty of ancient Celtic ancestry from Scotland and Wales, but nothing from Ireland. Fortunately, even Savannah's old Irish families happily forgive that sin. They seek only great fun for themselves and their neighbors, often complemented with fine spring weather and thousands of azaleas blooming throughout the city.

Were those the good old days? To be honest, the parade is a fond memory. Life has moved on but I wouldn't pass on an opportunity to enjoy the day again. In fact, this historic event is so enjoyable it should be on every one's list at least once. That said, better make your reservations tomorrow before March 17, 2017 becomes "No Vacancy."

May you have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day wherever the day finds you!


Photos and Illustrations:
St. Patrick photo,
postcards, author's family archive

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