Saint Patrick’s Day has come and gone, and, as a good Scot, I did my part. I didn’t see anyone wearing plaid for Robbie Burns’s day, but was inveighed to “wear something green for St. Paddy’s Day.” Contrary to what a lot of you perverts think, Scotsmen do (usually) wear something under their kilts. They’re wee under-shorts known as breeks (breeches, britches).
I wore green underpants for St. Patrick’s Day. Perhaps appropriately, I think I got some brown stains on them. Ooh, ooh, TMI! Tighty whiteys or boxers, I hear you ask, just to change the subject. A bit familiar, I think, but if you must know, I’ve worn YSL bikini briefs in many colors, for years.
English people, who already think they own the world, don’t bother to establish “a special day.” Scotsmen have Robbie Burns’ day, in honor of a lyric poet, whose deep thoughts and social insights were acceptable, even though they were written in dialect, as Mark Twain’s were.
Irishmen have St. Patrick’s Day, the cultural highlight of which, is drinking green beer. The local hotel bars used to add green food coloring to beer on St. Paddy’s day. An Irishman I used to share lodging with, ignored everything else on that day, and spent it sucking up this dyed delicacy. He got a job an hour’s drive away. The first St. Patrick’s day, I got a phone-call that he was in town, because the bars in his new city didn’t serve green beer. I’ll tell you more about him later.
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, although he was Roman-English, not Irish. His name was not Patrick, or Patricius, or Padraig, and many of the stories about “him” were actually about another Roman-English missionary named Palladius. Other than these minor details, the Catholic Church has the story spot-on.
Well….except for the snakes. Separated from the rest of dry land by a big chunk of ocean, Ireland never had snakes for Patrick to drive out. The “snakes” he drove out were the non-Christian heathens. He drove them either into the embrace of the Holy Church, or their graves. Fire and Sword, the methods he used caused the later Inquisition practitioners to remark, “Whoa dude! Take a chill pill. Too intense, man.”
“Heathens” and “Pagans”, these derogatory epithets, even today, allow the faithful to judge and condemn. But “heathens” merely means those who live upon the heaths, subsistence farmers, or shepherds. “Pagans” comes from the Latin word paganus, peasants, rural civilians, dwellers in small, remote villages. The actions and attitudes of these country bumpkins, who merely wished to be left alone, to live their lives as they wanted, were at odds with the Big-City, corporate, Christian religion. They were converted, or eliminated.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to go off on another anti-Church rant. I was quoted/mentioned in the newspaper again this Saturday. Blogs are not the only things that I read and comment on. There’s a feature in each Saturday paper, titled the same as this post. A columnist, interested in this city’s and area’s history, publishes a photo, usually 50 years old or better, and asks people to identify locations and buildings, now often torn down or greatly modified.
I first emailed him several years ago, when he wrote of a local company which had moved 75 miles north, to a small town I passed through when I drove to visit my parents. I wrote about the pretty little park there, April 5, last year, in my Trips With Mom and Dad II. While near a county line, it is definitely in my home county, but he gave it to our neighbors.
Some of the buildings/locations he has featured over the years have been a reflection of my work history. A couple of years ago he published a picture of the above-ground entranceway to the underground bomb-shelter I cleaned once a week for a year, back in the 80s. He included part of the description, both of the facility, and my work in it, which I sent him.
About six months ago, he featured a picture of the steel warehouse/fabricating shop I worked in from ’67 to ’74, out on the edge of town. Just off the photo were the stockyards and farmers’ market. Urban sprawl now has the area covered with gas stations, golden arches, sub and pizza shops. The smelly old cattle were moved to the north end of our Twin City, where we now attend the farmers’ market.
Some of my information was not included in his piece, but he thanked me for it, because it gave him enough knowledge to ask the right people the right questions for future columns. Last Saturday’s mystery photo, and this week’s article, were about the shoe plant I worked in before I went to the steel plant in 1967.
“*Archon* Smith emailed to say he worked at the Valentine plant for a year in the mid-1960s.” “We knew it colloquially as the Hush Puppy plant, because that was where the comfortable, suede-topped, soft-gummed soled ankle-high shoes were made.” Smith wrote. He later moved to a job at Bauer Skate on Victoria Street, a firm Greb Industries acquired in 1965.
I loved Hush Puppies. We could buy seconds for less than half price, at the warehouse, but fashion, and my job, moved on. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be. So much of my life is about the past, because I own such a large chunk of it. Try not to point and laugh. I hope you find it mildly interesting and informative.