My late husband used to wear his heart on his sleeve but kept his colors, green, white and orange, close to his heart. Sure he was an Irishman through and through and although he did celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a young man, as he grew older and wiser he took a more sober approach.
Nothing pleased him more than a good party among friends and family. And the best loved, best attended party on the West Side was at the McNamara’s. Year in and year out, in a little house that seemed to have elastic walls, the Macs played host to hundreds of people of all ages including some of Cleveland’s finest first responders.
In 2015 Jimmy couldn’t attend the party personally but he called in to the house and they played the bag pipes for him over the phone. It really lifted his spirits.
At every party children would scamper between the adults, the old Irish immigrants would sing rebel songs, those who knew how to step dance would do a jig or a reel. And even those who didn’t made an attempt. Steaming trays of corned beef and cabbage rolled out of the kitchen in abundance. Strangers were made welcome as is the Irish custom and old friends caught up.
Needless to say the beer flowed like a fountain. And the drink of choice was always Pabst Blue Ribbon. Sorry Great Lakes. For the designated drivers there was Barry’s or Lyon’s tea and scones. The term falling down drunk would never apply here because there were so many people standing shoulder to shoulder there was no opportunity to sit down let alone fall down.
Everyone drank his fill and then some. And soon the night wore into day and breakfast was served. The house was put in order and reset for a second round of festivities the next day. Yes, that’s right a second party – they called the Guts Party. As the Macs like to say, if you have the guts to show up again and pick up where you left off – then you’re welcome!
Here’s Céad Míle Fáilte to friend and to rover
That’s a greeting that’s Irish as Irish can be
It means you are welcome
A thousand times over
Wherever you come from.
Whosever you be.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all the Macs, to Eamon Moran, my favorite Irishman after Jimmy and all of the Westside Irish. Up Mayo!