I love St. Patrick's Day.
First off, as you all know, I love beer. Now, I don't love beer because I get my kicks off getting drunk, or because I have a fine-tuned appreciation for barley, hops and whatever else goes into the brew (I took a tour of the Coors plant once, I really should know more about this...), I'm by no means a beer snob. I often drink whatever cheap, light, domestic beer is most readily available. As in, whatever's in the fridge, whatever's on special, whatever the bar is offering buckets of.
Actually, I love beer because to me, beer is a magical thing. Over a brew or two, people come together, share a laugh, shake off the stresses of everyday living. Put a bunch of uptight business people in a pub and order a round of beers, and within a hour you have a group of people who are willing to share stories about their lives, their kids, that time in college, whatever, but my point is, they become more human to each other.
And that's what St. Patrick's Day is all about. A celebration of people coming together, celebrating and being merry. My memories and impressions of this day are filled with laughter, of big groups of people filled with joy and being silly, with no other inspiration than the proverbial twinkle in an Irishman's eye.
Every year, most of my large, Irish-Catholic extended family crowds around my aunt's kitchen table joking and laughing over cases of cold beer. The cacophony of voices chiming in with a quip or a story is what I imagine I'll remember when this time has passed, and what I'll want to pass on when I'm the aunt, the great-aunt who is hosting the annual St. Patrick's day gathering for my family, my nieces and nephews, my grandchildren. The sound of family, and of the joy of being together.
And here's my St. Patty's wish for you all: to laugh a little freer, to smile a little quicker, and that a cold brew finds its way into your hands and the hands of those you love.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!