Tuesday was St. Paddy’s Day, a day normally reserved for quiet contemplation with a book of poetry, perhaps a cup of tea.
But they do it differently in St. Paul. Beer! Can you imagine? Beer and whisky associated with the Irish…
What can one do? When in Rome…
Kathy and I met at her house at 11:00 and went to Modern Café (or as I childishly refer to it: the Modren). A cup of butternut squash soup apiece, their roast beef special – this is what we in Minnesota refer to as a “base”.
Because, you know, since I realized last week that I’m 47, rather than the 48 I’d been telling everyone since January, I feel like having a beer.
We took the bus from Northeast to Minneapolis, where we met up with Steph; and from there we caught another bus to St. Paul. The bus was the perfect place to plan the upcoming Art-A-Whirl garage sale, maybe wheedle “new” clothes out of your friends. (Kathy and I agreed that while we thought we could probably fit into Steph’s shirts and jackets – Stephanie being a slender young thing – we wouldn’t be able to get into her pants no matter how many beers we bought her. Ba-dum-bum!)
At the Top Hat, a bar crawling with the green-clad, the glitter-strewn, the joyfully drunken, we met with Kathy’s ex-workmate.
It was at the Top Hat, too, that we agreed to avoid the Nomad, where they lock the doors at 3:00 and the beer is free until – until! – someone uses the bathroom.
Can you picture it? Can you picture the abuse directed toward the poor woman who heads towards the bathroom first? Because you know it will be a woman to need to go first!
Not for me, sir!
Kathy’s friend Jeff invited us back to the Radisson, where an enormous family gathering (his!) happens every year for St. Patrick’s Day. Children everywhere, elderly folks at tables, everyone in green.
Two separate leprechauns pushed corned beef sandwiches and cupcakes on us, and we gradually sobered…
From there, we went to The Liffey and then to McGovern’s.
But by then, the suspicion had become the obvious.
I was getting sick.
It might’ve been an unseasonably warm day in March in Minnesota, but it was still March in Minnesota. The glands in my throat declared war, my head pounding with the intensity of a thousand clichés, the sound of my breathing reminiscent of someone playing the accordion.
By the time we reached the free bus home around 6:00, I was outrageously sick.
And I know it’s going to be hard for work to swallow, but I called in sick the next day. My voice alone (picture a large, mud-encrusted toad, perhaps one with a cigar in its mouth) should tell them the truth, but calling in sick after St. Paddy’s Day looks suspicious, no?
Next year, I am so not being Irish.
11 hours ago