On Sunday America holds its annual celebration of Irish culture and history, St. Patrick’s Day. Back in the old sod, our Irish cousins don’t quite understand our obsession with a saint’s day once seen as a somber religious occasion and not as an excuse to get stinking drunk. We Yanks have a tendency to put our own spin on cultures imported across the pond.
Holy Shillelagh, Betsteroids! Do we ever put a spin on things. St. Paddy’s Day — never St. Patty’s — got going here well before the Revolution, when homesick Irish honored their patron saint with parades and other festivities. Now it has turned into one big bar hop, with maybe corned beef and cabbage thrown in. On March 17 everyone can be Irish as long as they wear green. Considering the Irish influence in America — and let’s not get started with the Scots-Irish — a lot of us can claim Irish roots.
We Alaskans share something in common with Ireland. That’s right: Alaska doesn’t have snakes. Did St. Paddy come over the pole and scare the snakes out of here? Or maybe it’s just too dang freezing for cold blooded reptiles to live here. The Betster prefers the St. Paddy theory, where having accomplished his mission in Ireland, he said to himself, “Hmm. Where else can I drive away the snakes?”
Also, Alaska really likes green. Once all this dang snow melts and spring bursts forth, have you ever seen a land so vibrant? Maybe it’s the summer light which turns every color into a magical hue. Greens really pop here, though, and in treeless areas — again, like much of Ireland — the intense verdant vegetation can be overwhelming. Yep, we’re like Ireland, but with glaciers and grizzly bears.
So put on those green sweaters, those green scarves and those green scarves. Dye your hair green. Dye your beards green, or don’t wash them, dudes, which is kind of the same effect. Get maudlin and cry while you sing “Danny Boy.” Read some Irish history.
But although there is much to be admired in the Irish brand of intoxicants, practice moderation or even — this may sound crazy — temperance. If you must get polluted, have a designated driver or take a cab. The line between celebration and stupidity comes at about the sixth shot of Jameson’s.
Spring is coming in a week, Betsteroids, reason enough to celebrate, perhaps with these Best Bets:
BEST AND ANOTHER THING BET: OK, things got a bit rowdy when Rep. Sarah Vance held her Town Hall meetings, so maybe when Sen. Gary Stevens visits on Friday we could dial the intensity back a notch, eh? Share your opinions politely at a Town Hall meeting at noon Friday at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center and then at 4 p.m. at Chapman School in Anchor Point.
BEST WALK AND DON’T LOOK BACK BET: Do your best Peter Tosh or Mick Jagger imitation for Walk with a Doc at 9 a.m. Saturday at the SPARC. Hayley Walters of Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic talks about breast cancer screening and prevention.
BEST BE GRAND BET: It’s the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Trump, so if you’re a Republican or interested in the party, check out the District 31 Republican Party meeting at 2 p.m. Saturday at Don Jose’s Restaurant. Learn about the party goals and platform, mingle with fellow GOPs, and meet party officials.
BEST BOOMERANG RANG RANG BET: Keep those reusable bags circulating and make some more with a Boomerang Bag Sewing Bee at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. Boomerang Bags are made from old T-shirts designed to be cheap bags to borrow or share at participating merchants. Use a bag so you don’t have to take plastic.