“Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord and it makes you miss him.”
– Irish Proverb
I’ll return to the series of my “Personal Top 10 All Time Favorite Films” in my next post. But for now, here is a modest departure in tribute to St. Patrick’s Day…
My mom, I’m pretty sure, was a third generation Irish-American-Catholic.
Growing up, every St. Patrick’s Day, our dinner would consist of corned beef, cabbage and boiled potatoes. None of us kids wanted to eat this ghastly, peculiar dinner. But mom said that one day a year she was going to have a traditional Irish meal and we could eat it or go without dinner if we liked.
Nevertheless, I remember eating the potatoes and that was about it. While I’m proud of my Irish heritage, my dislike of corned beef and cabbage continues till this day.
Moving on to my main thought for the day…
While cruising the display floor at a Barnes & Noble book store the other day, I noticed a St. Patrick’s Day themed display table. There were maybe two dozen fiction and non-fiction Irish themed books. But to my surprise, one of my much loved “history” books was missing from the table.
How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill, less than 250 pages in length, is in large part the story of St. Patrick – and it’s a first-rate book. He was a driving force behind the saving of Western Civilization – a Medieval Super Hero!
The first third of the book is a fine summary of the fall of the Roman Empire, the ‘barbarian’ invasion and St. Augustine and the ‘classical’ tradition. The remainder of the book is the story of St. Patrick – and the impact of Ireland on saving early Western History and culture.
Like all great heroes, St. Patrick was a simple man who stepped up to do great things. Speaking of the patron saint of Ireland, Cahill states, “Patrick was a hard-bitten man who did not find his life’s purpose till his life was half over. He had a temper that could flare dangerously when he perceived an injustice – not against himself but against another, particularly against someone defenseless. But he had the cheerfulness and good humor that humble people often have. He enjoyed this world and its variety of human beings – and he didn’t take himself too seriously. He was, in spirit, an Irishman.”
Reading How the Irish Saved Civilization is a brilliant way to do something different this St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Or, if you are one to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a pint or two, or three, of “green beer” – after you recover from your hangover, you can give it a look later this week. You might even learn something – I certainly did.
May the good Lord take a liking to you…
But not too soon! – Irish Blessing
I’ll return in my next post with Part 3 of my “Personal Top 10 All Time Favorite Films.”