St. Patrick’s Day is coming this week.
There are stories of 40 day fasts, snakes attacking and being driven out of Ireland, and myriad other myths you can read about here if you wish. These days, nobody I know is familiar with the history of St. Patrick, but just follow the 21st Century traditions for the day.
St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated March 17 every year. Celebrations include parades, drinking, dressing up, and drinking, more parades, more drinking, and then drinking again.
I have a totally different celebration. I remember a day of miracles and grace that happened when I was fourteen. Our junior high school was having its annual talent show. I hitched a ride home with a neighbor, and when they dropped me off, I knew something was wrong.
I saw my mom in silhouette, standing at the front door, backlit by the light from the kitchen. She never did that. “What’s wrong, mama?” She was a nervous wreck and told me that she had been contacted by a hospital in a town 160 miles away. My dad had been traveling back from a business trip when a refrigerator truck crossed the line and hit him and his associate head on. My dad was the unrestrained passenger and suffered some catastrophic injuries. (no judgement, please – there were no seat belts in this vehicle.)
My mom did not drive well, especially under duress, so she had called our good friends to drive us there. I immediately packed a bag for her, then started running around the neighborhood to find my brother. We all gathered back up and the three of us packed into the back seat of their sedan for the trip.
We arrived at the hospital around midnight, daddy was out of a very lengthy surgery and we met with the doctor to get the low down. Then we were ushered into ICU to see him. I’ll skip the gory parts, but mom ended up staying a week, the neighbors brought us home, and my brother and I figured out how to carry on – going to school, taking care of ourselves and the house, etc., until mom returned.
After the first week, daddy was air-ambulanced back to our town, where he was in a local hospital for about two more months, then continued to recover at home for the summer.
Here’s the miracle and blessing part – what should have killed him, didn’t. We had my dad for an additional 43 years after that wreck. Every St. Patrick’s Day from then until he passed from this life to the next, I sent him a card on March 17 to tell him how much I loved him and how grateful I was for another year with him.
So for me, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t about parades, dressing goofy, and drinking – it’s another opportunity to be grateful. . .and to remember who to me was “The Greatest Salesman In The World”. What are you grateful for today?