March 17, 2008
Okay, who let loose the frolicsome leprechaun? Really, I can't think of another reason why it would have snowed in Mexico on Saint Patrick's Day.
So let's talk Irish, shall we? I have not a nip of Irish blood in my veins, but I've been hankering to be Irish for a long while now.
It all started when I was 18 and I got into Notre Dame. For four years, I could officially claim to be Irish without anyone raising their eyebrows. Suspiciously soon after my Irish-ness expired when I graduated from ND, I married a Mr. Patrick McElwee. Some might claim that the "shotgun wedding" was simply my way of hanging on to my Irish (better) half for good. I took his last name largely for the Irish mystique. Oh, yes ... we did consider hyphenating or coming up with an alternative name, but we figured that Anderson-McElwee or Andlewee just didn't work. So wee McElwees we shall be, the whole lot of us.
Patrick is as genuinely Irish as they get. He looks the part. His father was barely born in the US, and I was fortunate to have known his late grandmother, who always sang "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" in her dementia. No joke! Here's a little video that Patrick and his siblings put together last year, soon after her passing:
Patrick has many more Irish stories, old and new. Consider this one - he is a proud descendant of Michael McElwee and Nial Shiels, The Fanad Patriots, who gained their fame by killing their abusive English landlord.
In Patrick's formative years, he had his two elderly Irish great uncles living with his family. He's also visited Ireland on several occasions, during which he 1.) was on a bus with cousins while everyone started raucously chanting "IRA! IRA!" 2.) his great aunt, when asked for directions by British soldiers, gave them directions to march straight into the river, unbeknownst to them, of course.
I could go on about this whole Irish business, but let it suffice to say that I am proud of my adopted heritage, and yes, in case you were wondering ...
we do dance the jig.