Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Saint Patrick's Day....Bah...Humbug!

I don’t mean any disrespect to the good Saint or the people of Irish descent, but I don’t remember a year going by that we Charloteans didn’t wear something green on March 17, Saint Patrick’s day……and wish each other, “Top of the morning to ye”……..and listen to some truly awful music on the radio…like “Too ra Loo Ra…Loo Ra…..” or “Roaming in the Gloaming” and others performed on a bizarre looking contraption that sounds like someone scraping their fingernails on a blackboard….called a bagpipe.

And if you didn’t eat the official Irish National Food consisting of corned beef and cabbage on that day you were considered peculiar……or at the very least, disloyal.

Well, I’ve had enough of that blarney!

First of all, I’ll bet you could count on one hand…the number of kids at CHS when we were there who were really of Irish descent.
Most of us were of SCOTCH IRISH descent. There’s a big difference. These were members of Celtic tribes that once dominated central Europe
According to Wikipedia:

“In the early seventeenth century when James I ascended to the English throne in 1603, one of his main objectives was to civilize the uncontrolable, autonomous Irish - the majority of whom were Catholic. James I’s chosen action plan to accomplish this objective was to begin an extensive colonization plan which emigrated English protestants, Presbyterian Scots, and even French and German protestants from their homelands into Ireland during the early 1600's. He especially concentrated on the Ulster region which located in the northeastern part of the island of Ireland and lies closest, geographically, to England and Scotland compared to the rest of Ireland.”

These restless and individualistic people were the ones who basically settled the Southern USA….first in the Piedmont region; our part of the world.

And what kind of people were they?

This is how James Webb described them in his book, Born Fighting:

“In their insistent individualism they are not likely to put an ethnic label on themselves. They don’t go for group-identity politics any more than they like to join a union. To them, joining a group and putting themselves at the mercy of someone else’s collectivist judgment makes about as much sense as letting the government take their guns. And nobody is going to get their guns."

That pretty much explains why there’s no special celebration for those of us of Scotch Irish descent………such as, Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, Davy Crockett, Kit Carson, Andrew Jackson, Stonewall Jackson, George S. Patton, Alvin York, Audio Murphy, Mark Twain, Ava Gardner, Jimmy Stewart, George C. Scott, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan and, of course, most of the CHS class of 1954.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m not going to personally celebrate my ancestors! This March 17th I’ll begin the day with the “Wearing of the Blue,” turning up the country music on my CD player, spend most of the day cleaning my guns and ending the day with the “official food” of my ancesters; a grilled cheese sandwich and a big glass of sweet iced tea! -Ed