Today happens to be St. Patrick's Day. The actual holiday. I'm not sure about your area, but in our neck of the woods towns start with the annual parades in the beginning of March.
To me it feels like a season, much like the Christmas season. March hits, the weather becomes even more unpredictable than normal here in the northeast, and spring is just around the corner. You can have snow one day and mild enough temperature to open windows the next.
As I may have mentioned in the past, I am not a cold weather bear. I used to think summer was my favorite time of year, but more and more I think it might be this time of year. We start to shake out of the deep freeze, the daylight lingers a little later everyday, and when you step outside you can smell the weather beginning to change.
I don't mind the rain and the slush when I start to see the buds sprouting on the trees. Watch out now, I almost got poetic!
(Mr. McKay just informed me that we might get snow Sunday night and suddenly I have lost all of my romanticism about this time of year.)
Enough about the weather! I want to tell you why I love St. Patrick's Day. Yes, technically it's a religious holiday, it shouldn't really be a drunken bender or an excuse to dye things green.
To me, it's the time every year that we get to gather our friends and eat and talk (and yes, even drink) without any other agenda. Christmas is busy and there is the stress of gifts. New Year's is a big giant thing that everyone needs to celebrate. Valentine's Day you're stressed about having a date—or not having a date. Thanksgiving there needs to be turkey, and most likely it's celebrated with family.
St. Patrick's Day is no stress. You don't have to feel guilty about not calling your mom, or not picking out the perfect gift. You should unearth the one green shirt you own and come to our house hungry.
We had our first St. Patrick's day party the year we moved in. We had it on whatever day St. Patrick's Day fell on. It was a Wednesday. We invited too many people over to our too small house and we all shoved in here and played music and talked too loud and drank too much and had a great time.
We did that for a few years and then we started getting jobs we couldn't go to with hangovers. So we moved it to a Saturday in March. Since then we have gotten our menu and set-up down to a science. We still invite too many people and we never have enough chairs, but no one seems to care.
We have the best friends in the world, they always come with dessert and whiskey in tow. Mr. McKay makes corned beef. We have sandwiches and drink beer until the wee hours of the morning.
I thought I was crazy to admit it before, but secretly my favorite part of this time is making party preparations with my husband. We started throwing this party in our much leaner days. We had no business throwing a party, we were trying to buy party food when we couldn't even pay our electric bill. But somehow we always pulled it off.
It's become almost something of a game. Mr. McKay makes at least five corned beefs. Do you know the kind of manipulations we go through to get five corned beefs? We have multiple shopper discount cards to multiple food stores and we feel a little bit like we're breaking the law.
We went on our annual shopping trip last night armed with coupons and discount cards from my mother in law. I held the flyer in my lap that clearly stated "limit 1 per family" for this particular corned beef sale.
We made our plan before entering. "Let's walk in separately. I'll meet you back by the meat, then we'll check out separately. Meet me back here," Mr. McKay instructed.
I nodded in agreement. I don't think food stores stick to their limits so ardently, but why tempt fate?
|Give us the sale and no one gets hurt.|
"This must be what robbers feel like!" he added, giving me a grin.
"Are you getting a rush over swindling the corned beef sale?"
"I am a little bit. Are you?" He looks at me expectantly.
"Not really, but you're cute."
We went to two stores and got four corned beefs for a fraction of the regular price. Mr. McKay kept calling it "Our Corned Beefery Caper". I have no idea why he was calling it that but it cracked me up every time.
On the way home we stopped for ice cream, which we ate for dinner because we were already breaking all the rules, why not just go all out?
Today I'm cleaning bathrooms, which isn't all that fun. Tomorrow we'll clear the clutter and dust. And then Saturday morning we'll start moving the furniture so we can fit the maximum amount of people in our little home.
Every year our friends show up with more children. And then leave a little earlier. A sign of the times. We're all getting older—but we still have a few holdouts that don't mind polishing off the bottle of whiskey with me at 2am. I hope we still have this party every year, even when we're old and gray. By then we'll have to make it a lunch. Maybe a brunch. We could make corned beef hash! (I can still drink whiskey, right?)