An Irish Tradition in our Household – Friendships Now & Remembered

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A 45 year old tradition continues despite the quarantines, travel and sickness and work obligations. I have had three half shots of Jameson Whiskey on St Patrick’s Day every year, usually at a restaurant or drinking establishment. The first toast is to my grandfather Lewis Kelly who always had a shot on St Patrick’s Day. When he got up in age and unable to drive himself to a local pub, my father used to take him to a local bar despite the protestations of my grandmother!  42 years ago my father passed, so I took my grandfather out for a shot of Jameson. It only happened once, as subsequently later that year at 89 he too passed.

I had a very good friend Tom Mollard an industry mentor and every year since we met for 37 years having 3 half shots of Jameson. Missed only one while attending the New York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, but subsequently met with Tom on my return. During this time we told a tale or two of those we were toasting. The first shot was for my grandfather, the second shot was for my father (and subsequently Tom’s wife Ann who passed) and third was for good health and lives’ for those we were drinking with on St Patrick’s Day! No surprise, there was always lots of others around us who joined in!! Besides telling some stories of those we toasted, many Irish toasts were read.

Tom Mollard passed a few years ago. So today the second toast is to the key and influential people in my life who have passed: Dr John Rhodenbaugh (golfing buddy, former NCGA President, mentor), Tom Mollard (a great friend in the high tech industry, mentor), Margaret Houghton (one of our adapted grandmothers, former member of Castlewood CC), Richard Becker (the greatest father-in-law one could have!), Jim & Marian Heaton who guided me in work, spirituality and family life passed more recently and Deidre Comerton (a Saint in Dublin Ireland, mother of my good friend David Comerton) and continuing to add others from our memories.

The third continues to be with those we are with this evening. Having moved and our children have also moved, it has been Susan and I, but with the power of video chatting, we will toast with both daughter’s and their husbands this evening. Both daughters have continued this tradition with a spin on being more inclusive.

45 years of this tradition continues with toasting and speaking about great friends both past and present, relatives and the joy they brought to our lives this evening. Saint Patrick’s Day in our household is far more than just drinking but of fond remembrances and what life will bring our way.




One thought on “An Irish Tradition in our Household – Friendships Now & Remembered

    Kathy Coon said:
    March 17, 2023 at 10:48 pm

    Happy St Patrick’s Day, Michael. I like reading this every year about our Dad & Grandfather. Thank you.


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