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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Erin Go Bragh

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  Erin Go Bragh.
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We celebrate this day to commemorate St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who converted the pagan Celts to Christianity and reportedly drove the snakes from Ireland.
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When I was a young upstart in the City of Lynn, MA, it was a day for exessive beers at the Porthole Pub after lunch and stopping off at the Commodore Restaurant in Beverly where politicians from all over the state would gather to throw good natured barbs at each other and show their singing prowness, bellowing out "When Irish Eyes are Smiling".
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One of my fondess memories of the day was having a corned beef and cabbage dinner at the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Division 10 in Lynn and listening to Senate President Billy Bulger immitate James Michael Curley as he promised to take the Golden Dome of the Statehouse and turn it upside down, and fill it with water to use as a swimming pool for the children of Boston, if elected Governor.  Bulger's rendition made you feel that it was really Mayor Curley on the podium.
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When I was a little kid, I remember my father taking me and my brother to the parade in South Boston where we froze to death on the sidewalk until he took us into a neighborhood pub to warm up.  I can still feel that cold in my bones.  Later, my father told us the story about how he got into a ruckus in South Boston in his younger days, and that the Judge had told him stay out of South Boston.   I never got anymore details than that.
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I think he liked the fact that he was returning to South Boston to watch the parade with his kids.  He'd probably get a kick out of the fact that two of his grandkids live in Southie today.
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I can't deny that I've always been proud to be of Irish descent.  Sometime around the turn of the century, some Crowleys, Kelly's and Nestor's left County Cork and County Sligo and made their way to Pennsylvania to work in the coal mines, and finally landed in Lynn.  They aren't even memories now, just historical fact.   The only tie I have is this photograph of Darby Nestor taken in West Lynn, who bears a slight resemblance to my son Ryan.
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I'm proud to be Irish, because somehow, their blood flowing though my veins has made it easier to live in my own skin.

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