Originally published in the Fenton Patch newspaper March 2012
No way. My awakening mind combined with my limited Spanish must have heard it wrong. People in the United States are going to drink whiskey until they are drunk?
My wife turned on the light in response to the clock radio alarm and the news being reported. “So everyone is going to be drunk in the United States,” she commented.
Guess I did hear it correctly. Well good to know my Spanish is getting better. “What? Not that I am aware of,” I responded. My mind raced trying to think of why we would do that. Perhaps to forget what our government is doing. Heck, perhaps the government is buying, figured out it is cheaper to keep everyone drunk rather than complaining about the economy and health care.
“The news said Americans do that on Día de San Patricio,” my wife said.
I know that Colombia supports saints like crazy. The country leads the world in Monday Holidays with 18 a year, most of those are for one saint or another. Then it dawned on me, March, San Patericio, Oh yes, Saint Patrick’s Day. “No love,” I said, “Your news is way off on this one. On March 17, everyone in the USA is considered Irish. They don’t care if you are Arab, Asian, Latino or African. Today you are Irish and you wear something green to show it.”
“Then you drink lots of whiskey?” she said.
“No, but there are large parades in some cities and they do serve green beer.”
“Green beer? Why green beer? And how do you make green beer?”
As we got ready for the day, over breakfast I told the story about Saint Patrick who was kidnapped and taken to Ireland as a boy. Later he escaped returning to Great Britain and joined the church to become a Bishop. He returned to Ireland with the mission of saving the Irish and used the Shamrock to explain the holy trinity. The parades, the green river in Chicago were all discussed. Then I covered the potato famine in Ireland in the mid 1800’s and how many of the residents came to America settling in New York and Boston. We discussed the roll of the Irish in the USA. And then we covered how green beer is made.
“What about the whiskey?” she said.
“No, no whiskey but usually lots of green beer. And we don’t drink just to get drunk.”
“Well, why would the news say that?
“There is Irish whiskey which is a type of whiskey, but most likely it is just the Colombian news. They don’t always get everything correct, or they spin things the way they want. Remember the majority of the news media in Colombia is owned by the political/economic elite, the family of the current President to be exact. Sometimes they like to treat the residents of the country like mushrooms.”
“Treat like mushrooms?” she said.
“Never mind,” I replied. “That is a story for a later time.”