Sunday, March 17, 2013

Celebrate Your Way, I'll Celebrate Mine

To my son Tommy,

I must apologize for not writing you yesterday, but it was for a good cause.  Your mom and I were attending the St. Agnes Men's Club Bull and Oyster Roast.  By the time we got home, after picking you up from Bwama's house, it was after midnight and the bed was calling much louder than the computer.  A good time was had by all.  A special event for me, that has nothing to do with bull roasts or party but happened there, was when we got to meet Father Vic (I still do not know how to refer to a Bishop Emeritus so I hopefully went safe when I called him Father) who has been praying for our family at the request of your Great Grandmother Nansy since we lost Baby Sal

Anyways, today is St. Patrick's Day.  It is a day where everyone in the world is accepted as an honorary Irishman.  You however have enough of what I like to call the "green blood" to have no need for the honorary title.  Your Great Grandfather Leo is said to have 100% Irish blood, though Irish blood is tricky and confusing and filled with complicated connections to English,Welsh, Scots, Ultach, and other such highly contested connections.  I mean St. Patrick himself, whom the Irish now claim as the ultimate Irishman, has a complicated bloodline.  He was born a Roman Briton in the northern part of the island which has been highly contested and consider Welsh and Scottish and Ulster and Cumbric and Brigante.  Yet today we claim him as Irish.  That is one of the major problems with Irish genealogy, the Irish are filled with lore and rumor and half truths and myth and no clear definition of what makes an Irishman.  When I studied the Downey genealogy on that line, I found documents that claimed other nationalities.  But if an Irishman traveled to England to get a boat to the Americas, half the time they were listed as Irish and half the time they were listed as or tried to pass themselves off as English so they could stay out of the cargo hold.  Regardless of the tendency of all Irish to be mutts, you have a fair amount of Irish blood travelling through your veins.  This fact often scares me, for I blame my Irish blood for many of the stupid or crazy things I have done in my life, and I worry that you will too.

But today, everyone is an Irishman.  It is a day filled with green and beer and partying and singing and such.  In my youth I reveled in this day.  Nowadays my big St. Paddy's day plans include wearing a green shirt and going to confession and going to church and avoiding as much work as possible (though I do have some I need to do) and spending the day with you and your mom perhaps with some Downey family hug and cuddle time on the couch while watching a Disney movie.  My idea of a great day has really changed from my hot headed Irish influenced youth, but I will tell you that my plans for the day are no less a celebration on this Irish holiday.

Sincerely with love from your dad,


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