I have some very pleasant memories of St. Patrick’s Day from when I was growing up. I remember that it was very important to wear green, or else I would get pinched. When I was very small, my two favorite colors were pink and purple, and I really liked wearing blue jeans, and flannel shirts in cold weather. Therefore, there wasn’t much green in my wardrobe. I got pinched a few times, before I pointed out to my kindergarten classmates the little stripe of green in my plaid flannel shirt! Both of my parents were teachers, and they were always quite festive. Mom always wore her green suit jacket and green skirt. Dad taught in a different county than Mom, and his school had different colors for different days. Monday was red day, Tuesday was blue day, Wednesday was green day, Thursday was brown day, and Friday was blue jean day. Dad had one or two light green dress shirts he wore.
Mom always made sure I wore a shamrock pin, and Mom and Dad wore pins on their suit jackets. Some of the pins were jewelry, and some were homemade. My father’s homeroom grandmother was an excellent seamstress. She crocheted shamrock pins out of Kelly green yarn, with safety pins attached to fasten onto clothing. Other pins were made of dark green felt, cut in the shape of a four-leaf clover.
Art class was always fun. Using crayons, we colored paper shamrocks green. We also colored a leprechaun guarding his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
When I was in first grade, I really wanted a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s. My excitement had been building steadily for weeks, thanks, in part, to ads for the shakes being broadcast daily, for the previous three weeks. Finally, one Sunday afternoon, Mom, Dad, and I drove to McDonald’s in Clarksburg, and Dad bought a Shamrock Shake for each of us. Before tasting it, I lifted the lid on my shake, and took a look. It was the palest of green; just a drop or two of green food coloring had been added. I replaced the lid, inserted the straw, and took my first sip. It was delicious! It was slightly minty tasting, but not overpowering. I could still taste the vanilla soft-serve ice cream underneath the mint flavoring. I tried to drink it all, but I couldn’t quite finish it, so Mom drank the rest of my milkshake. This is a very sweet memory for me.