Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day to one and all

It's hard for me to believe that it's St. Patrick's Day and all I did to celebrate was wear a green tee-shirt while I did my household chores and run errands. That's a far cry from 1979 when I lived in Houston and was night manager for an Irish pub called Grif's Inn. Michael Joseph Griffen, the owner, recreated a neighborhood bar reminiscent of those in his native Boston, and the humble little pub became ground zero for Houston's St. Patrick's Day celebration. Each evening of the week leading up to the big Green Day and parade, Griff's offered some sort of thematic activity for the truly Irish and what seemed like every Irish Wanna-Be in Houston. There was a Guinness drinking contest one night, a "beauty pageant" on another, Griff's Inn Kazoo Band practice on a third, and on St. Paddy's eve all the staff and many of the loyal regular customers gathered to help prepare the hundreds of po-boy sandwishes that would be needed to feed the masses the following day. On the big day, the bar opened at 7:00 a.m. and many of the participants gathered for a quick swig of green beer or nip of Jamison's before heading downtown for the official Houston St. Patrick's Day Parade sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. On that festive day in 1979, Dan Pastorini (Houston Oiler quarterback) was our Grand Marshall. I guess the parade went well: We certainly had a thirsty group coming back to Griff's when it was over. I didn't get to see the parade because as the newest member of the staff, I had to stay at the bar ready to serve any of the parade goers who headed back to Griff's early to beat the crowd. And what a crowd it was!

Hard to believe that all that occured 32 years ago! My feet and back were much younger then. Today, I don't believe they would hold up to the demands I put on them way back then. In fact, I know that wouldn't. On St. Patrick's Day 1979, I worked a 12 hour shift, then danced with the customers until about 10:00 p.m. Tonight I will be doing good to stay awake through the ten o'clock news. Ah well, there are pleanty of folks at Enoch's here in Monroe who are re-inacting my memories from Houston. They are much younger than I was way back when. All their merriment will raise funds for the local St. Vincent de Paul pharmacy that serves many of those in our area who would otherwise not receive medications they need. Thanks to the lovely Yvette and Doyle Jeter who own Enoch's Irish Pub and sponsor this "fun for charity" event every year, many people receive medical assistance who would otherwise do without. I have no doubt that St. Patrick is smiling down on that darlin' man and his lady.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Quilt Gypsy is Alive and Well

After a two-year hiatus from blogging, the Quilt Gypsy has returned to the web, hopefully with something to say and some things to show. I've recently found UFO's from 20-plus years ago ready to be completed and shown off to more than my close circle of stitching friends and artists. I am so glad to get back to my quilting, sewing, and mixed media work, and I feel as if part of me is suddenly alive after having been locked away in a dark closet.

All of this reminds me that art is alive; it is part of a live force that follows an infinite path sustaining the creator and the creation (notice that there is no capital c in that statement. The Creator is self-sustaining.)

About this time of year when my daughter was nine years old (a long time ago), I noticed she was becoming irritable, then unhappy, and finally miserable as we moved through the days of early spring. When I tried to interest her in drawing and painting, two of her favorite activities, she said she couldn't do that. Probing further (as a mother is wont to do), she finally told me she had given up art for Lent. Why? I asked. Her reply was quite simple: "I'm supposed to give up something that means a lot to me." Out of the mouths of babes! I had to explain to her that her love and pursuit of art is essential to her happines. We agreed that she would limit the time she dedicated to her art during Lent, and my little girl returned to her happy self, realizing that she was making a Lenten sacrifice but not giving up something that was as necessary to her wellbeing as eating a balanced diet.

I believe that art is such an integral part of the artist that he can never experience a fulfulled life if he is denied an opportunity to pursue his creative passion. On that note I close this post wishing for everyone an opportunity to follow his or her passion, whether it be art, sports, gardening, mechanics, or any other positive, creative human experience. Go out and create!