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Remembering the Irish roots on St. Patrick’s Day - Curt Yeomans

I so cannot wait for Saturday to get here because it will be cornbeef and cabbage day at my house.

Of course, we all know it more commonly as St. Patrick’s Day.

As you all know, I have never been one to shy away from my Irish roots. I mean I’ve made out with the Blarney Stone while I was upside down in the arms of another man. It doesn’t get much more Irish than that.

I’ve had a pint of Guinness in a Tulla, Ireland, pub that bears the Irish version of my grandfather’s family name (and I may have actually been related to the owners of the pub, but that hasn’t been confirmed). I have a CD of Irish rebellion songs that I occasionally play in my car. I expect to someday see at least some of Northern Ireland transferred from the United Kingdom to the Republic of Ireland.

I’ve heard tales that my maternal grandmother would only whisper when she talked about the Protestant who married into the family, back in Ireland during the 19th Century (I come from a family of Irish Catholics, so it’s kind of an “Oh My God!” type of thing).

So, it should come as no surprise that I plan to eat cornbeef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a staple for that day. I think there’s an unwritten law of the universe somewhere that states “The Irish shall eat cornbeef and cabbage on St. Patty’s Day!”

When St. Patrick’s Day comes around every year, there is a natural inclination to want to celebrate everything in you that is Irish. And, it’s not just because Americans are hard-wired to want to turn every cultural holiday into some sort of drinking holiday (except Christmas). This is a big celebration for the Irish as well. Let’s face it, these are the people who invented the world’s best beer — Guinness.

Being merry — regardless of whether alcohol is involved — is sort of hard-wired into the Irish soul. Then again, so is flaring tempers and fighting, but we’re Irish so people love us anyway. It’s that fierce, fighting Irish spirit that makes us stand out in the world.

Just don’t expect me to drive on the wrong side of the road (like the Irish do) on Saturday. I’ve been there, done that, and have some lingering psychological trauma from driving through the Irish countryside.

By the way, never drive really fast down a winding two-lane road where the edges of the road are lined with stone walls. Anyone sitting in the passenger seat will spend the entire drive terrified for their life. It is — in a way — like riding a roller coaster of death.

But, what is Irish history if it is not a roller coaster? They were free, then there was the long-complicated relationship with England, and then they were free again. Only the Scottish have had a more convoluted relationship with England (and I am descended from the Scottish on my dad’s side of the family). There have been the happy times for Ireland, but there was also that darn potato famine.

Put all of that aside this Saturday, however, and just go out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with as much excitement as possible.

Curt Yeomans covers government for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 247 or via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.