Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shamrocks and clutter

Well the greenest of the calendar celebrations is upon us. Yes, I am referring to St. Patrick’s Day and all its Irish glory. Most people associate this day with a furtive pinch should you dare venture off to work or school devoid of green attire or accessories. Others can’t wait until the work day ends so they can begin a more alcohol-centered celebration, consumed with frothy green mugs of malty brew. My family most associates this day with disorganization and clutter.

Now why ‘mess up’ a perfectly innocent day worthy of taking on St. Pat’s famous name? Well I am not picking on the day itself, we actually quite like it around here. In fact I used to have friends and family chide my wisdom for making basically a drinking holiday into something kids would really look forward to year after year. Yes if you’re ever exploring a way to generate more housework for yourself and somehow sneak in a “greener” holiday between Valentines and Easter, then our formula for St. Patrick’s day is just up your alley.

To prepare our kid for the St. Pat’s festivities, we would tuck her in the night before and talk about the tiny little, and VERY messy Leprechauns. The story went something like this … “Not unlike the more refined ‘Elves’ of Santa’s clan, the ‘Leps’ will sneak in the house overnight and leave some treats to be found. Now they are very curious and a little messy, so we’ll need to clean up after them as we look for clues and follow their tracks.”

In later years, the rules of the game were well known, but when this tradition began, you could see the wonderment (or was that horror) on my daughter’s face at the thought of ‘little green men’ sneaking around the house while we all slept. In the morning, as if by magic, a thin trail of glittered shredded paper & shamrocks would appear. This line of greenery would wind its way from my daughter’s room throughout the house and finally to a waiting bright green velveteen Derby overturned and filled with snacks, candies, little toys all in various shades of Shamrock green.

The real fun of this (and maybe a little bit of a lesson) is that as my kid would go from room to room following the trail of shamrocks. She had to help clean up after the Leprechauns so they would return the following year. Imagine the reaction, even for the most clutter-conditioned, to see every drawer half opened; every door ajar; and pillows randomly tossed about. It was obvious – those little ‘pot-o’-golders’ were sure BIG PIGS.

I always wondered what some of those St. Patrick Day school yard discussions must have been like when my daughter was young? Since this tradition is not as common as the more popular holidays, I’m sure more than a kid or two wondered why the ’Leps’had missed their homes? I’d bet the parents were happy though? While they could have handled the clutter and shamrock snacks, it takes a special breed of folk who can 'chug' down a glass of green milk while banishing ‘snakes’ to the neighbor’s yard! Happy Pat's Day!

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