Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Och Aye

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


I was going to post some further discourse between my friend and me about spirituality (it's really lovely to have a discussion rather than an argument, or even a debate!). Then upon waking I realized that it's St. Patrick's Day. This realization being preceded by a ridiculously funny dream in which I painted Scott's truck bright green (the color of this font, in fact) whereupon he got pissed and chased me around the river with a shovel. So, I'm belaying the spirituality gig and have decided instead to tell you my all time favorite St. Paddy's Day moment.


March 17, 1997... I was working as a receptionist for the Theology Dept at The Catholic University of America (There's some spirituality for ya! Oy.). I had become friends with two priests from Ireland who were students there. The two were fast friends and were as different from each other as pancakes and bowling balls.


Willie was a fast talking lad from Dublin with such dazzling Irish good looks that I called him Fr. What-a-waste (yes, to his face). Rather stocky in build, he had long, thick, dark hair that was so curly it fell in tiny ringlets around his face, and eyes so twinkly bright blue that they were the very definition of mischief. Whenever he'd walk into my office in need of something, he'd begin with, "Bahrberah, m'dear, m'darlin', me angel...." (How could I resist?) And, without fail, upon leaving he'd say, "Okay then, love ye t'pieces... miss ye already." I swear his middle name was Charm.


Paul, on the other hand, was tall and lanky, towering over Willie by nearly a foot. He also had the classic dark brown Irish hair, but cut short in the most beautiful waves. His soulful brown eyes belied his deliciously dry wit, which he delivered with such lugubriousness that it was an absolute delight. Raised in Belfast, he had the most lovely, deep baritone, Nuurthurn Ay-rush accent and spoke sooo sluuuwly n' cairrrfully that his words carried a sense of calm.


To watch Willie and Paul interact (and they were nearly always together) was better than any comic skit I've ever seen. Even if they were discussing a serious topic, just to listen to the variations between them was a hoot.


Back to St. Patrick's Day, 1997... I was sitting at my desk organizing student files. Willie and Paul walked in, brightening my dull day immediately. Then, without greeting or preamble, they began to sing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. Their singing voices were nothing short of glorious. They sang it in it's entirety, in harmony, then did an about face and walked out without a word. I was stunned, completely floored, blown right out of my socks, utterly enraptured. I think it was a good five minutes before I could even move, and I know I had a huge grin on my face the rest of the day. I never could adequately convey to them what their serenade meant to me. I only know that had I not been married at the time I would have done my level best to destroy their vows of celibacy.


Conversely, they once sang Danny Boy for me and had me in tears for nearly a week. They were that good. But, because of them, St. Patrick's Day has a special place in my heart (which is 1/8th Irish), and not a year goes by that I don't think of my lads from the Emerald Isle on this day. So, tonight I will raise my wee dram of Irish whisky toward Ireland and toast the health of Willie and Paul... here's to ye lads...

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