St. Patrick's Day -- 03/17/03

I have Irish ancestry but didn't grow up with much ethnic influence -- the Irish blood was neither recent nor prominent and my parents didn't have much patience with hyphenated pretensions. And, after all, once mixing has taken place, once you've got English and Irish and Scottish and Dutch and French and perhaps Native-American and who-knows-what all merged, how can you say you are anything other than just plain American?

I suppose the children of first generation immigrants may be Irish-American or Italian-American or whatever, but when an Irish-American marries an Italian-American and their children marry Japanese-Americans and Polish-Americans, etc.... then the whole thing does get rather silly. Look at Tiger Woods' ethnic background. Black, yes... Asian, yes... white, yes... He's just an American.

Now Nancy's mother comes from an Irish-American family and some of Nancy's cousins look so Irish that you'd think they were fresh off the boat and they consciously carry on certain Irish traditions, such as the traditional dancing. None of that seems to have followed into Nancy's immediate family, except the Catholic religion (although one of Nancy's sisters became Episcopalian many years ago -- as has Nancy, although Nancy was Presbyterian on the way there) and family size (Nancy is the 4th of ten kids).

But this is St. Patrick's Day... and it seems as if here in the U.S. it's become adopted as a holiday for everyone... or a day when everyone can be Irish... and most people will think to wear something with green in it today. Hey, I worked from home today and I'm wearing green -- a green long-sleeved t-shirt from the 1996 Pie Run (that 5 mile Thanksgiving Day morning race that I seem to run most years) -- and I got follow-up x-rays of my heel this morning at my podiatrist's office -- Dr. Buckbaum (not exactly an Irish name) and he was wearing a green necktie. (And on Friday, since I knew I would not be in the office today, I wore a green striped shirt and a green sweater to the office, kind of an early St. Patrick's Day.)

Nancy and I had corned beef last week... didn't wait until today... yes, with cabbage (except cooked cabbage is not high on our list, so it was raw cabbage)...I didn't have any Guinness stout, but we did have Harp Lager (for me) and Bass Ale (for Nancy) and Guinness makes them so I figure we were close enough. It's difficult with the kids... Jennifer has become vegetarian, except for chicken... and Sean loves beef, but only in the form of steaks and hamburgers.

I had mentioned yesterday that my daughter had spent a couple of days involved in live action role playing games but I didn't go into any detail about it... but a reader asked about it so here's a tiny bit more information... One form of role-playing game that's been popular for many years is Dungeons and Dragons (Adam, my eldest, was really big on this when he was 14 or so) but there are many kinds of role playing games. Typical features include a Game Master (who sets the rules, invents the plots, etc.) and players who create characters... Characters may be elves, mages, thieves, halflings, cat people, etc., etc... Each character has an array of skills and abilities (and you are constantly trying to improve your skills in various areas, be it sword-fighting or spell-casting or whatever)... The results of conflict are resolved by rolling many-sided dice and comparing tables of skill levels, etc. Jennifer spent the weekend with a group that rents what is otherwise a summer camp and stages weekend-long fantasy role-playing games -- sort of a cross between her usual role play gaming and the Society for Creative Anachronism. She had a wonderful time and is hoping that she can get time off from work for the next scheduled event in April.

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