I spent the first decade or so of my life laboring under the delusion that I was completely Irish. When I was but a wee lass, my parents enrolled me in a Montessori pre-school where my teacher was Miss Deirdre Carrick, a little Irish lady who took such liking to me that it would be fairly characterized as Teacher’s Pet. Miss Carrick was known to terrorize other children in the class, but not me–I was special to her.
I would like to claim that it was my precocious nature and love of learning that won me Miss Carrick’s adoration, but that wouldn’t be exactly what you might call true. In all honesty, Miss Carrick took one look at the strawberry blonde hair, hazel eyes, and Irishy name (Allison Higgins) and decided that I was 100% Irish and therefore extremely special. My parents wisely never corrected her, and so that I would not blow my cover, they allowed me to believe in her belief that I was Irish. They kept up the illusion even after I moved on from pre-school so that my little sister (the even more Irish sounding Shannon) could also benefit from a special relationship with Miss Carrick.
You can imagine my surprise and disappointment when finally I learned that my true heritage is a mainly mixture of English, German, and Austrian. There’s a wee little bit of Irish in there somewhere, there must be–but really the only things Irish about me is my sense of humor and love of a good stout.
Today, however, is St. Patrick’s Day, the one day a year where I relive my childhood by pretending again to be 100% Irish and proud of it. I bake soda bread. I wear my greenest shirt. I talk with a lilt. I dream of warm brown scones slathered with strawberry jam and fresh Irish butter (though now vegan, I would certainly make an exception for a pat of that golden wonder). And I remember wistfully my recent visits to the Emerald Isle, with its warm people, green fields, breathtaking scenery, ancient history, and wonderful pints. Ireland is a place is worth experiencing.
So whether you’re honestly Irish or just pretending to be, like me, I wish you a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day. Slainte!