Guess what? On Thursday March 17, we shall celebrate Saint Patrick's Day.
It's his special religious feast day and it is the anniversary of his death in the 5th century. The Irish have observed this holiday for over 1,000 years. It falls during the Christmas season of Lent.
Irish families usually attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon.
Lenten prohibition against the consumption of eating meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast.
Their traditional meal consisted of Irish bacon and cabbage. The first Saint Patrick's Day parade took place in the United States. Irish soldiers served in the English military marching through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with music, the parade helped soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.
Twelve years ago in June and July of 1998, I had the great pleasure to travel to both Scotland and Ireland to find my own roots.
My maiden name is McReynolds. I traveled with the Mississippi State University Art Department to sketch and paint portraits, landscapes and still life.
Two other ladies and I flew our daughters over to join us for the last weeks of our trip. My cousin, John Thomas McReynolds and his son, Russ McReynolds, escorted our three girls overseas. Their airplane landed in Scotland to join us, and the next day we began our journey to Ireland together.
We were greeted in Ireland by Father Michael O'Brien, who served as the priest for 12 years as Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Starkville, and his niece, Marie Hickey. He became our tour guide welcoming and taking all over South of Ireland. We rented a van so that we could all travel together.
In a day or so, we went on to North of Ireland to visit our cousin, Alister McReynolds and his family, Eileen, Kirstey, Michael, and Alexander. Alister was President of Lisburn Institute, a fine university in Lisburn, Northen Ireland.
July 26, 1998 was our only daughter, Miriam Elizabeth Davis,' nineteenth birthday. We stayed in a beautiful country farm Irish Bed and Breakfast. Early the next day we began Elizabeth's birthday with a delicious Irish breakfast complete with a birthday cake and glowing 19 candles. I had found an antique necklace with a dainty real gold “E” and a chain to match to present to her early that next morning after we had sung “Happy Birthday” to her.
Her special surprise was to get to ride by ferry to the grave site of Saint Patrick.
When we arrived we saw a simple rose gently placed on his grave. We all knelt down with great reverence and said a prayer together for him.
Later that day we took her to also see her great-great-great-great (many great's) grandfather, John McReynolds,' grave.
What an experience to get to be at both grave sites that day, and we shall cherish our memories the rest of our lives.
As an artist I did get to create with my paints and brushes on my canvas both Scotland and Ireland. As an artist I get to create something fun every day in 2011 by simply creating on my own wooden front wrap-around front porch of our 100-year-old family home, at 501 Louisville Street in Starkville, with my “wo-mannequins” and everything else.
This old porch becomes my palette, filled with many colors to share with you, “my viewer” as you pass by this very busy street each day.
As an artist, life every day is simply a creation! It could be a hat I might create or a doll I might dress up.
I hope that we all never ever grow up, but, instead, have the heart and soul of a forever young “Peter Pan!” If we all grew up, life might become boring, agree?
Pretend with me, and let's go right now to the emerald green country of Ireland. Let's celebrate the entire month of March, and let’s especially honor our great Saint Patrick on March 17.
Our whole porch is colored in shades of green. Drive slowly by, and you shall see dark green, lime green, and medium green.
Dottie is sitting by our front door, and her little granddaughter, Mollie Golly, are both dressed in all green with matching tall Saint Patrick's hats on. They both have on green wigs. Mollie Golly has on a fancy net skirt with shamrocks on her skirt. You might say, both are like ... “Two green peas in a green pod!”
“Bully” our Mississippi State University mascot “takes the cake!” He is the “cherry on the sundae!”
He is sporting a green and white tall hat with two Irish men on top with orange beards and green top hats too. Oh they look Irish! He has a fury green necklace for a dog collar, and look at his green painted toenails.
He is one cute Bulldawg! He is green and white instead of maroon and white.
There are two other characters that you must drive by and see. They are Lassie and Sassy, and both two little “jest a rocking” in chairs. Lassie is “one cute cookie” dressed in all green with green shoes and hat to match.
Little Sassy was created out of a glittery tall green hat. I taped on her eyes, nose, and mouth, topped her off with a real green crocheted hat with hint of a pink rose on top. I made a green bouquet out of Irish Shamrocks to go by one side of the front door in a hanging tin bucket.
I know that Dottie, Mollie Golly, “Mr. Bulldawg,” Lassie, and Sassy are sitting, standing, rocking, and dreaming of white sheep munching and grazing in those GREEN, GREEN, GREEN pastures high on those Irish mountain tops surrounded by those Irish castles that reach to the blue sky with a colorful rainbow too, and they are dancing a funny Irish jig in an Irish pub.
It’s our windy month of March with all the bright yellow daffodils blooming and blowing gently in the wind, but our hearts are back in Ireland on this Saint Patrick's Day on March 17.
To each one of you with that wonderful Irish accent... I leave you now with an Irish March breeze on your back as you walk down that Irish trail on the tall GREEN, GREEN, GREEN mountain.... “May God Hold You Gently In The Palm Of His Hand!” A green Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to ya!