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It means the celebration of a sainted missionary while dining on corned beef and cabbage and drinking green beer chased by Irish whiskey.
Sounds good. Sounds holy.
Unfortunately it means a number of other things, too.
It means donning green apparel and four-leafed clover stick-on tattoos. It means some among us skipping all that and going full throttle toward sanctity with a leprechaun costume.
It means rehashing stereotypical castings of Irishmen as irate drunkards with red hair and freckles.
It means stroppy pecks for a woman wearing a Walmart t-shirt that reads “Kiss me, I’m Irish” even though her maiden name is Sienkiewicz.
It means performing dances that apparently can only be properly executed while completely intoxicated. It means raising a glass and shouting, “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!” even though the line is from a movie about a Scotsman.
It means drinking Shamrock shakes from McDonald’s until the middle of May—because that’s about the time McDonald’s finally runs out of the green syrup.
It means sitting at the bar and learning from a friend that the only kind of furniture you can’t purchase anywhere else but Ireland is Paddy O’Furniture.
It means a whole lot that has very little to do with Saint Patrick.
Having all of this in square focus, I’ve decided that this year I’m celebrating the blessed saint with a whiskey from Guam. Yes, Guam. And why not? Guam has as much to do with Ireland and its patron saint as any of the other doings mentioned.
For example, the nose of Guam’s Own is most certainly a wafting of Ireland in every way. With a twist of the cap, the first available scent is that of canned green beans, and because said beans are deeply green, they’re perfectly associated.
The palate confirms the appropriateness of the whiskey’s observance. The soggy green beans are back, except now they’re warmed in a briny sauce of salty seaweed and cloves, both of which are clearly appropriate for the celebration. The seaweed mixture is obviously Irish, and not only because it’s green, but because it’s matches the salty attitude of every red-haired fighter on the emerald isle. Of course the word clove fits because it is but one letter from being clover. That was easy.
The finish is short like the Irish temper, and it’s syrupy in ways that even McDonald’s would consider giving it a glad eye.
Praise be. It was nothing less than the luck of the Irish that I had this on hand.
For the record, I don’t believe in luck. I’m with Emily Dickinson who said, “Luck is not chance—It’s toil—Fortune’s expensive smile is earned.” But then again, Miss Dickinson was clearly an American poet, and with that, what would she know about something so Irish?