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Bottoms Up

March 17, 2010
by

The Irish don’t know what they want and are prepared to fight to the death to get it.
~ Sidney Littlewood

If you define St Patrick’s Day as a festive time filled with music, drinking and boiled ham, cabbage and potatoes* then my entire childhood was one long Irish-American celebration.

LeprechaunHowever, my earliest memory of St Paddy’s Day is that of horror. I was a wee lass and me mother announced twas St Patrick’s Day. I was thrilled. I have no idea why other than it was a holiday and holidays meant festivities and festivities meant some delicious treats and perhaps even presents. I was jumping up and down chanting “Yay! It’s St. Patrick’s Day!”

Herself continued, “ And you know what that means, don’cha lass? It means I got to take you down to Macy’s to see the wee Leprechaun!”

Woo Hoo! It does mean presents! I could hardly contain my excitement! I’m going to meet the Leprechaun and get a gift because I’m a good little Irish girl. How lucky I was to be born Irish!

And then, in a very serious voice, my mother delivered the truth:  “Yes, I’m taking you to Macy’s to meet the Leprechaun and have your ass painted green!”

Yes! I’m going to Macy’s to meet the Leprechaun and have my … (wait a minute) WHAT?! I was at this point picturing a long line similar to the one I stood in to meet Santa Claus, only now children were waiting to see the leprechaun. He was sitting on a magical mushroom under a faux rainbow with pots of gold coin candies nearby. Across his lap was a screaming child with his pants pulled down. The leprechaun holding a paintbrush was slapping the emerald green paint across the protesting child’s bare bottom. It’s tradition and seemed no stranger to me than some jolly fat man I saw once a year just to tell him what I wanted and having him slide down my chimney and deliver it. Paint BrushNo stranger than a rabbit getting into our home at night, filling our baskets with chocolate and hiding eggs all over our house. Of course I believed her. I was mortified.

I ran and hid all day. There was no way I was letting anyone paint my bottom green. I don’t care how big a gift I got or how many gold candy coins I could take.
This continued throughout my childhood until a teacher asked us about Irish traditions. It seems no one else knew about the Leprechaun in Macy’s.

* Tis true, only the Americans eat corned beef and cabbage.

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31 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2010 9:40 pm

    Oh that’s too funny….what a way to scare a child…Ofcourse with our Miss “B” always in costume and makeup for the camera she wouldn’t have thought a thing about her ass being painted green….and I got a comment from someone in Ireland yesterday and she has indeed never had corned beef…..who knew! It’s kinda like us Italians and our pizza….

  2. March 17, 2010 10:37 pm

    Deborah-
    I cannot tell you how excited I was to get an email in my inbox highlighting that you posted on your blog. After reading several of your posts, I admire your writing. I want you to post MORE! 🙂

    Your St. Patrick’s Day story is the best St. Patrick’s day post I’ve seen today. Thanks for making me laugh! Ahh, how cruel parents can be at times . . . but at least they make for good blogging material later in life.

  3. March 18, 2010 6:16 am

    OH my poor sweetheart.. what an image you had to endure when you were young and growing up. (hugs for sure)

    I never had corned beef until I was in my 30’s if that.. Always had Irish Soda bread, Sheppard Pie and some sort of greens that believe me weren’t recognizable at all (both in taste and as to what it should be) .

    I cringed every time we had soup.. everything went into that pot (egad) but Momma being of her heritage and with Pop’s parents around telling her how to prepare certain meals.. to me it was eating straight out of a garbage can some times. Nothing went to waste at all.

    Residing in the country had advantages and many disadvantages.. but life as it was, made me who I am today.

    Thanks for sharing your ‘wee’ tradition and that story of a green bum!

    With love,
    Olivia

  4. March 18, 2010 7:24 am

    You’ve GOT to be kidding me! Ever find out WHY you were told that?

    Too funny..and just a little more than creepy.

  5. March 18, 2010 8:05 am

    That is too funny! I can only imagine your horror when you visualized such a scene! Lol! I don’t celebrate the holiday, but have Scott-Irish ancestry. My grandmother was a feisty redhead and I believe most of her offspring have inherited her, shall we say…fiery “zest”!

  6. March 18, 2010 8:09 am

    I got meself quite a chuckle this mornin’! Thank ye.

  7. March 18, 2010 9:45 am

    This is hilarious… You are such a wonderful story teller!

  8. March 18, 2010 10:07 am

    Your mom spun quite an inventive story. I probably would have gone and had my bottom painted green just for the gold coin candies – I mean, they are CHOCOLATE!!! 😉

  9. March 18, 2010 1:10 pm

    Hahahaha!!! Why do Mother’s tell their kids such things (can I use it next year???). At least you have a great story to tell now! Do you stay away from Macy’s on March 17th just in case?? Thanks for the laugh.
    Kathy

  10. Anonymous permalink
    March 18, 2010 1:48 pm

    OMG!!! That is hysterical ~ I have a 2 year old I may have to mention that to next year. The other 2 are too smart by now. I received your postcard today and it is like you have been sitting in my kitchen for the past 2 weeks. I LOVE Cape May and have been there more than a few times (but only discovered it 18 months ago). I fell in love instantly. My husband and I are looking for a small fixr’upper to buy on the water somewhere and Cape May is in the running. Keep your fingers crossed. BTW – both my boys play Irish Football and my very Irish husband is the coach (he can tell ya stories aboot his childhood….) ~ Dee

  11. March 18, 2010 7:48 pm

    My cheeks hurt from smiling at your post! Thank you for the smiles!

    Mr. Major and I stayed in last night and drank some Guinness in honor of the holiday. He’s about as irish as they come- red hair and all. 😉

    I think I remember him telling me that corned beef and cabbage isn’t a real irish dish- though that never stops him from requesting it! I hope you both had a wonderful St. Pats’ green beer and all.

    -V

  12. March 18, 2010 10:55 pm

    I’m a wee bit late getting here….but how funny!

  13. Jennifer permalink
    March 19, 2010 9:40 am

    that is absolutely hilarious!!!
    have a super weekend!!

  14. March 20, 2010 9:06 am

    oh my goodness…i was trying to think, “why would macy’s let anyone do that?” LOL. a little *leprechaun* in your mum is what i believe! haha! well, you weren’t under her feet for whatever preparations she had to do that day. *wink*

    you’re a cutie, lass.

  15. March 20, 2010 9:54 am

    Ha hee! You know you shouldn’t make me laugh that hard with a broken rib.

    Love it.

    We too had our corned beef and cabbage. I can never get enough of it.

  16. March 20, 2010 11:09 am

    Is this a TRUE story??? (I’m kidding of course- it’s just SO CRAZY!)
    Oh my goodness- I may have nightmares about paintbrush-toting Leprechauns tonight!
    🙂

    Layla

  17. Gina permalink
    March 22, 2010 8:15 pm

    That is hilarious! I bet you’ve been afraid of leprechauns ever since!

  18. Kit permalink
    March 22, 2010 10:32 pm

    LOL!! What a great story! And I just received your postcard today and it was fabulous. I am originally from New Jersey and I had never heard of The Elephant. How fascinating! Glad you got my card too. Thank you so much! Kit

  19. March 22, 2010 11:18 pm

    I just love coming to your blog…your header…your home….that front porch is just callin’ my name…(((hugs))) Susie

  20. March 23, 2010 3:59 pm

    Hi!
    I did get your postcard and it was very lovely… and you have the BEST penmanship ever! It looks so nice and straight! My handwriting is a mess! lol 🙂 Cute leprechaun story… very funny! 😀

  21. March 23, 2010 5:58 pm

    Hi Deborah! Nice to know another NJ Blogger!! Wasnt the weekend gorgeous!
    Your story is so funny…ah the things mothers say…My husband’s Mother told him not to get too near the trash truck or they would throw him in…the poor boy believed her!

    Your house is so cute! What’s your favorite time of the year in NJ?…mine is summer!

  22. March 24, 2010 4:01 pm

    I just literally laughed my own arse off! 🙂 Oh MY you made my day!!

  23. March 24, 2010 9:39 pm

    OMG!!! That is so funny . So sorry that you were scared. But it is so funny now. And I love the card . It makes me want to move there. Sounds wonderful.

  24. March 25, 2010 9:44 am

    wishing you a very belated happy st. patrick’s day!

    xo
    elyse

  25. March 26, 2010 9:11 am

    GOT MY POSTCARD YESTERDAY and I will be putting yours in the mail today! LOVED the Postcard!

    Tam

  26. March 27, 2010 8:45 am

    I did get your postcards. Thank you! Thank you! I love Lucy! I sent out close to 30 postcards including France and Canada. Sweet Boy has received about 15 postcards in return. I can’t tell you how thrilled he is to be getting mail. I should video tape him.
    I mailed your package which contains your postcards on Thursday.

    So, after last night’s Margarita I guess I will be Buzz and you can be Woody (since you also have trees and I only have Saguaro cactus 🙂

    Love the video. I need to know how you made it. What program? My wedding anniversary is coming up fast. Sadly, Mr. Decor’s mom is on hospice and he will soon be leaving to go be with her and we will be apart on the day. How fabulous would it be if I compiled the great photos of us together~ like when he and I went to a Halloween party and he wore my cheerleading outfit. What? Who wrote that?

  27. April 1, 2010 12:02 am

    Well that’s just plain fantastic! I wish I had a wee one about to pull the same trick on!!! Great post, as usual dear Deborah.

  28. February 2, 2011 9:48 pm

    Your email and this post just brought a grand smile to a face that was crying only moments before. Luckily, my mother wasn’t full blooded Irish and um, a wee bit evil like your mom. (And I mean evil in the best way possible) My grandmother and her family? Oh yeah, I could seem them doing this too me if they had been sneaking the sauce like they were known to do.

    I remember Paddy’s day in Tarrytown, when I was not even as high as the table, as they would say, the passed me a jug o beer and told me to drink it. “‘Tis good for ya and will make ya pee green” they said. I spent quite a fair amount of time in the bathroom that afternoon and it wasn’t because I was peeing green. It was a few years before my grandmother brought me back for a visit to New York, but she never did tell my mom and swore me to secrecy.

    We are planning a Burke reunion out your way either this summer or next, I will have to look you up!

  29. March 11, 2011 7:30 pm

    I remember this post! It was the second one I ever read of yours after your mantel link up. I don’t see my comment though, thinking maybe we were emailing then?

    Anyway! This would also mortify my children, especially my son. And he would have believed it too. My daughter would have hated it, but let her bottom be painted green anyway… just in case someone was passing out candy for her effort.

  30. March 11, 2011 9:45 pm

    LOLOLOL!!! That’s even worse than the tradition of getting SPANKED for your birthday!

  31. Kathy :) permalink
    March 15, 2011 5:40 pm

    HILARIOUS !!!!

    I saw a post about the postcards….and decided to visit…I am so glad I scrolled back on your blog…this made laugh out loud….I too am an Irish lass we must have a wicked sense of humor huh ???, your Mums a gem !!!!

    So nice to meet you 🙂

    All the best,
    Kathy 🙂

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