Somewhere in Canada, a very long, long time ago, a Scottish catholic named Sarah married Thomas, an Irish protestant turned Catholic. As history would have it, they both passed way too soon, leaving two small children in the care of Thomas' brother, who moved his now-expanded family to Chicago.
My great-grandfather, Angus, was therefore raised as a stereotypical Irish, 'cept he rarely drank.
Angus married an french woman with a Metis background, and brought forth twelve children.
Angus claimed to be full Irish (how he pulled it off with a Scot first name is another question I have no answer to). He was proud of that Irish thing.
His first born, my Grandmother, who at this stretch of the gene pool was only 25% Irish blood, claimed full Irishness.
Why she even attempted to pull this off with a French speaking mother, I do not know. But she did.
She also tried to pull the same stunt on her own kids, my mother being one of them.
Mom wised up when she got old enough to realize that both of her grandmothers routinely conversed in French. With each other.
So where did the French come from?
Grandma's response was always something like: Shut up, yer Irish!
Grandpa's (full French/Metis) response was: "the Irish part of you is the dark spot below yer ass cheeks." (Direct quote. I'd heard this from his mouth many times while growing up.)
So there it is.
I am 1/32 Irish blood, depsite Grandma's insistence that I, too, am Irish (and don't you forget it). Part-Irish wasn't allowed/didn't exist, regardless of where my dad came from.
(At one point, my Dad explained that it was how peeing in the pool ruined every gallon. But not to worry, Calabrese blood worked like chlorine.)
I never quite got on with this Irish Pride thing. From when I was old enough to know better, I'd look around and see what manifested as 'Irishness', becoming less impressed the older I got. Let them have it, 'cause I don't need it.
Irish? Yeah, whatever...
On this day, I want to profess that I love St Patrick. In his honor, I did this morning what I do every year when his day rolls around: reflected upon his life, his work, and what I could do to be a better spiritual being.
He wasn't Irish, and I don't have to be either.
Then I cooked corned beef and cabbage to honor Grandma, called Mom and my kids and spoke of those who came before that I never got to know, just like I have done every St Patrick's day for as long as I can remember... and that's a mighty long time.
It's better than getting shit-faced-obnoxious in the name of Pride.