All you non-Catholics out there may not be aware of it, but St. Patrick’s Day has been canceled for this year. Yes you heard right. Easter being so early, St. Patrick’s Day falls on the first day of Holy Week, so the Pope made the executive decision to ban the observance of St. Patrick’s day in all nations but Ireland. The decree will no doubt have a dramatic effect on the national bar trade this evening. Not.
What impressed me however is that the City of Chicago did move their famous St. Patrick’s Day parade this year. They had it on Saturday instead of today. Part of the reason is no doubt that it is still a very Catholic city, having historically been populated with Germans and Irish, more recently with Poles and Mexicans. Another part of the reason is that it’s no doubt easier on the police. Rounding up drunk, truant high schoolers is a big drain on manpower. Or at least it was back when I was a youth. Then the big thing was to play hooky on St. Patrick’s Day, hop the train for downtown and spend the day sneaking green beers in the jam-packed bars on Wabash Avenue.
I always resented how effective my parents, teamed with the nuns at my high school, were at curtailing my fun in those days. Yet I have to say that having eventually gotten a glimpse of that scene, of the sheer mayhem, of the stupid, slurring kiddies vomiting green beer into gutters filled with crushed cups and plastic St. Patty’s hats, I was just as happy I was sitting in math class.
Happily my visit to my old home Chicago was just long enough that I could take this quick snap of the Chicago river dyed green for the event:
Oh no hang on…this was the day before.