No person can escape the lure of St. Patrick’s Day

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May those who love us, love us⁄And those that don’t love us,⁄May God turn their hearts;⁄And if He doesn’t turn their hearts,⁄May He turn their ankles,⁄so we’ll know them by their limping. — Irish invocation

The calendar tells us it soon will be March 17 and time to think green. No, it ain’t “global−w­arming” green. If you do not know which green, I will give you a hint. Conjure up pictures of the unicorn, clover−leafed shamrock, claddagh rings and “Erin Go Bragh.”

No, silly, it is not the day for preparing your income tax return. It is time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day honors the priest who chased the snakes out of Ireland. Now if we could only get him to do the same with our politicians in Washington and New York.

Gloria knows that on this day, my appetite craves a change of cuisine, from Italian, Turkish, Mexican and Chinese to heaps of Irish food. This, despite the Old Irish Recipe for Longevity: Leave the table hungry, leave the bed sleepy and leave the tavern thirsty.

The Irish claim they are the greatest fighters, the greatest drinkers and the greatest lovers. Well, two out of three ain’t bad.

For breakfast, Gloria prepares Irish soda bread for dips into a piping hot bowl of Irish oatmeal. This delicious concoction will then be washed down with several cups of strong Irish coffee. (For safety reasons, I always keep two bottles of Imodium aside the milk pitcher.)

For lunch, she knows I desire light fare, so she fries a pan of scrambled eggs — dyed green, of course — garnished with parsley and a wee bit of asparagus. This year, Gloria promises to help counter global warming by adding an extra serving of spinach green.

For dinner, my obliging wife prepares the most comestible meal this side of Paddy’s Pub: (kosher) corned beef, cabbage, kale, turnips and potatoes, with mugs of stout to wash down the roughage.

Before preparing the food, Gloria will neatly stack a green shirt, green trousers and green socks from my “Irish wardrobe,” waiting for me to climb into when I awaken. If I want to be formal, she will dig out my large green bow tie. And after dressing into those green duds and devouring those verdant goodies, I am stricken with a strange desire to pet an Irish wolfhound or setter. But if none of these exquisite breeds are available, TV’s Megan Kelly will do.

The Irish always fight among themselves to be sure of having worthy adversaries.

And that’s not all. I will rent a Barry Fitzgerald movie and watch it until Gloria calls me for the next meal. May the wind not be at my back if I fail to perform these St. Patrick’s Day rituals. And would you believe I am not even Irish?

Ireland is a country to which the probable never happens and the impossible always does.

Do not consider my unusual behavior strange, since many other non−Irish people have similar compulsions on St. Patrick’s Day. They wear green, eat typical Irish food, exhibit “Kiss Me I’m Irish” buttons and celebrate the day in the old−fashioned, Irish way.

The wearing of green, a symbol of the Irish since the reign of Queen Victoria of England, is a reminder of the green that paints the countryside of Ireland. In fact, this island nation is so green, it is called the “Emerald Isle.” Green is also the color of the shamrock, the national flower of Ireland. To keep up with the tradition, there are plans afoot to change the color of their unicorn from white to green.

Much can be told about the Irish, but “Anonymous” said it best: “He’s wild and he’s gentle.⁄He’s proud and he’s humble.⁄He’s happy and he’s sad.⁄He’s in love with the ocean, the earth and the skies.⁄He’s enamored with beauty wherever it lies.⁄He’s victor and victim, a star and a clod,⁄But mostly he’s Irish in love with his God.”

A wish that all the Irish lads and lassies throughout Berger’s Burg never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten. Have a joyous St. Patrick’s Day. “Slainte!” — an Irish toast meaning “good health.”

On this St. Patrick’s Day, Gloria and I send condolences to Douglaston’s Roz Lynch and family, on the passing of our friend, Dick. God bless.

Contact Alex Berger at

Posted 6:34 pm, October 10, 2011
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