March 17, 1970
Although both Nate and I came from mostly-Scandinavian backgrounds, when St. Patrick’s Day came around it was a different story. My mom had been half Irish, and she told us she’d “lost all her Swedish blood in nosebleeds as a child.”
She adored her Irish father, someone I never met but had heard tales about. Apparently Mom got her lively side from him and was closer to him than to her mother. It sounded like a two-peas-in-a-pod situation that went all the way back to her birth.
Mom arrived at least a month prematurely, but in those days babies were born at home, and no one kept track of due dates, birth weights, or even exact birth dates. Mom, born in December, had no info other than that she wasn’t expected until late January.
She was a tiny newborn, and the doctor told her father, “She probably won’t make it, so don’t name her. Then you won’t get too attached.”
But Mom defied the odds, and her father admired the baby-spunk in her. Following doctor’s orders, the family called her “Baby” for many weeks. Then finally, just before St. Patrick’s Day, her father said, “I’m going to give her a name.”
He began calling her “Pat” in honor of the holiday he loved, and though eventually they christened her “Evelyn,” her father called her Pat the rest of his life. So did many others. With her very-blue eyes, dark hair, and pale complexion, she looked the part and definitely had her father’s Irish wit.
That’s why, when March 17 came around each year of my childhood, our home glowed green. Mom was decked out accordingly and always wore her “Kiss me – I’m Irish!” button with pride. She served an all-green meal, and heaven help us if we didn’t dress in green that day.
“You are truly my one and only love…. the one I get so excited about seeing at the end of each day.”
That evening after we had eaten our 69 cent “Chicken Baronet” dinner (out of a box), Nate surprised me with “the sweetest shiny green shamrock box of chocolate candy that I ever saw.”
Life was good, and little things meant a lot. But as we munched on chocolates and opened the day’s mail, we received an unexpected surprise that was REALLY big!
“My cup overflows with blessings.” (Psalm 23:5)