Being Irish and the First Day of Spring

When Irish eyes are smiling, Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring. In the lilt of Irish laughter You can hear the angels sing. When Irish hearts are happy, All the world seems bright and gay. And when Irish eyes are smiling, Sure, they steal your heart away.

— Irish Song Lyrics and Music Midi
Brought to you by The Information about Ireland Site

Happy first day of spring. My daffodils have all opened for a spectacular display of color at my front entry. It is rare for my early spring flowers to open in March. But, Southeastern Michigan has been kissed with several consecutive days of blue skies, sunshine and summer-like temps.

My Grandma with Issa in 2003
My late grandma with Issa in 2003

This weekend my family and I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. My husband doesn’t really get into all of the hoopla. But, my children and I do. My late grandparents on my mom’s side are both Irish. In fact, Issa and I just studied my grandma’s ancestry for a presentation she gave at school, today. We learned my grandma’s great grandparents migrated to the United States and to Oceola Township, Mich., in 1849. This time period would have been toward the end of the Great Potato famine. While we are confident my Grandpa’s Irish heritage, his ancestry is a little more complicated to trace.

My mom, legion of aunts, and late grandparents

My mom and legion of aunts/uncles never miss celebrating Ireland’s national holiday on March 17. Each March they all migrate to Melbourne, FL where my Aunt Gerry and Uncle Jim treat everyone to a spectacular corned beef meal, spirits, March Madnesson every TV and sing-along sessions. Due to scheduling conflicts I have not attended since 2004 when Issa was just a year-old.

My sister, me, and Issa (one year) on March 17, 2004.

While the spectacular blue skies and summer-like temps in Michigan had my crew hankering for grilled steaks, I treated them to a corned beef feast, which included my infamous Nutella cookies with green M&Ms. I didn’t hear any complaints. But, I did drink a couple Smithwicks while the corned beef roasted.

Related previous post …

Nine Irish Kids and the Power Codes (kateschannel.wordpress.com)

 

Love to My Big Beautiful Family

A few weekends ago, my Aunt Kate and I sat around a bonfire at her lake house. We discussed many subjects. One was our big beautiful family; and the importance of maintaining connections with one another. We agreed, no matter where we end up in life, the love we have for each other and each family member is a bond to treasure and nurture; because we are fortunate where many are not.

kateschannel — grandparents celebrating unity

So, I am proud to be a part of so many.  My immediate families are small, my extended ones are not. They mix a number of ancestries, but mostly Italian and Irish. My mom is one of nine. Most live in Michigan. Others live in Florida, Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Then, there is my dad. His parents — my grandparents — immigrated from Pinerolo, Italy. So, many from his extended family still live there as well as Torino, Milan, London and California.

A big, beautiful family such as this is generous in its contributions to each other as well as to the world. Some are business owners, horticulturalists, engineers, innovators, sales people, creative forces, market researchers, therapists, ornithologists, public employees, artists, barbers, personal trainers, artists, musicians, and entertainers. Others parent, pray, write, create jewelry, advocate, design web sites, build custom motorcycles, repair cars, keep track of numbers, educate, play the piano, sing, comfort, give care to people, save animals, cook, protect green spaces, play baseball, hunt, fish, study, and make orange bourbon slushes to refresh family on hot July weekends.

kateschannel -- part of the big, beautiful family

There is faith, love, strength, talent, intelligence, beauty, athleticism, ambition, fun, generosity, strong work ethics, integrity, humor, kindness and attention to detail. We unite often to drink, eat, party, play, remember, give to others, support, overcome and prevail.

Nine Irish Kids and the Power Codes

My mom is one of nine Irish kids who grew up in Howell, Mich. The tight connections among her siblings — my aunts and uncles — make for mega family reunions and for volumes of stories.

One story is about family population tracking and keeping peace during family meetings. My Aunt Kate — a mentor in all things Kate and the youngest of the nine — generated and assigned — in descending numeric and alphabetic power codes — to help everyone remember their “pecking” order in the family.

Numeric codes were assigned — from eldest to youngest as follows:

  1. Diane
  2. Susan (my mom)
  3. Gerry
  4. Betty
  5. John
  6. Steve
  7. Julie
  8. Dan
  9. Kate

Single, alphabetic codes were then matched to the number of offspring or pets each of the nine introduced to the family. For example, my Aunt Diane has four children. Their codes are 1A1, 1A2, 1A3, and 1A4. My mom had just two — my sister and I. So, we are 2B1 and 2B2. My cousins and I have learned our power codes do little to help trump discussions, decisions or euchre contests.

How do in-laws and future generations fit into this power code scheme? I am sorry to admit this. But, I lost the memo at my Aunt Gerry’s in Melbourne, Florida. It’s probably matted to the bottom of that empty keg we drank on St. Patrick’s Day 10 years ago.

So, how much of this story do you think is blarney and how much do you think is fact?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!