I’m 75% Czech, a 1/3 Irish and a tad of German and Dutch.
Up until a few weeks ago I thought I was part Russian but a recently found death certificate determined that is a lie.
What I do know for a fact is that my great-grandmother came to America when she was 18 straight from Czechoslovakia. We called her Baba, which means old woman in the nicest way possible. When I think of her now I think of her as the cutest little spit fire I’ve ever seen, but when I was 5, I was terrified of her. If we would run by her while she was sitting in her chair she would hit us in the ass with her metal cane and yell something at us in Czech. She thought that my mom was a gypsy and she hated my name so she called me Jenny instead of Jennifer.
We visited Baba every weekend. Even though she hit me on the ass with a metal cane more times than I can count, I enjoyed seeing her. She was a great cook. Her specialties were chicken paprikash, pork roast, dumplings and sauerkraut. She made other things like liver dumplings and tripe soup but…… ewwwww.
She never made corned beef. She wasn’t Irish. I don’t even know if she liked the Irish.
When I was growing up my mom would make a corned beef on St.Patrick’s Day but that was the extent of us celebrating the holiday.
As I got older, and of legal drinking age, I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day a little more.
I even got a bartending job working in an Irish bar, it certainly wasn’t an Irish pub, but it had an Irish name.
This bar is where I met my husband who is 75% Irish.
And that’s when I became Irish by marriage.
That’s when I learned that corned beef is a brisket and you don’t cook just one in a pot on a stove, you cook several outside, in a pot, over a flame.
You eat Irish egg rolls, boxty chips, soda bread and bangers and mash.
You drink beer that is so thick you need another beer to wash it down.
And you find out the hard way that Jameson whiskey is an acquired taste.
You celebrate the holiday with ALL of your Irish family members, not just the immediate ones.
You learn early on that it’s Paddy’s Day NOT Patty’s Day. I was almost shunned for that mistake.
There’s Irish dancing going on and pipes are a playin.
And you don’t just drink beer at night, you drink it ALL day and you have to pace yourself carefully.
Well, I don’t drink all day, that’s my husband’s area. It’s HIS holiday.
I have kids to drive to and from baseball practice.
Damn non-Irish coaches.
So whether your 75% something else, 100% Irish or Irish by association, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you!
p.s. I drove my mom nuts the past week asking her about our family tree. It’s crazy when you start going back a few generations. Her history isn’t as clear as my dad’s history. Based on recent findings, I don’t even know who I am anymore.
p.p.s. In case you haven’t guessed, Sherman and Leroy are Irish today by association.