As I mentioned previously, for the past few years my family and I have celebrated St. Patrick's day with the Southsiders at Gaelic Park.

When I was little, however, St. Pat's was largely a family celebration. Other than the parade downtown and maybe a few drink specials in the local pubs, no one made a big deal out of St. Patrick's Day -- even in Chicago. My mom would find green baked goods where she could (oddly, bagels were always available in green for some reason) or those coconut Hostess snowballs would be dyed green for the occasion. Then we'd have corned beef (no cabbage -- my mom didn't like it; give her a break, she's Polish) with potato rolls or soda bread. And the Clancy Brothers. Always, always the Clancy Brothers.

My father owned quite the collection of Clancy Brothers' records, which we weren't allowed to complain about one day a year: St. Patrick's Day. Nonetheless, we would still smirk at each other when the more maudlin, morose tunes would play. And no tune was more maudlin or morose than Kevin Barry.

The most egregious stanza comes toward the end: "Another maaartyr for ol' Erin; another MUUUUUURDER for the crown..." We'd try very hard to contain our laughter at that verse. My mother would cast a warning glance at us that conveyed, "I know, but it's only once a year. Stop, before I start laughing, too." My father would say, gravely, "You kids don't appreciate how good you have it."

No one hated Kevin Barry more than my oldest sister.

So, this year we delivered up this note to the band onstage at Gaelic park, along with some bribe money:

Unfortunately or fortunately, the band member took one look at the note, grimaced, and said, "T'would be horrible!" And refused it. Even the bribe money.

Maybe next year.
Name: Übermilf
Location: Chicago Area

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