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.


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