Editorial: Luck of the Irish? Celebrating a year after shutdown
I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year at the same place I celebrated last year – O’Callahan’s Publick House in Downtown Mocksville.
I was there last year, as well. Others who were there remember the day well. It was the day our governor put everything on lockdown. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you, too, Mr. Governor.
Restaurants and bars had to close at 5 p.m. that day, and not re-open until he said so – months later. The place was packed, and people were already complaining about those restrictions. Little did they know what was to come. I remember, playfully, trying to sell a pocket-sized container of hand sanitizer. Folks were interested, but none came up with the $20 price tag. (P.S. It’s not price gouging if it happens at a bar.) If I had only known at the time about the soon-to-be toilet paper shortage, I could have made a fortune.
We all, of course, had heard about COVID-19. But most of us thought it would go away in a month or two. We didn’t even consider the heartaches it would cause, especially here in our beloved neck of the woods. None, probably including the governor, thought it would go on for over a year.
But alas, a year has past, and a merry seekin’ we will go. My apologies to author(s) of “Danny Boy,” what has been called a beloved and hated Irish song for the changes in the lyrics made here.
Oh Danny boy, the governor he is calling
From bar to tavern, and down the Main Street side
The winter’s gone, and all the hops are falling
‘Tis you, ‘tis you must go home and hide.
But come ye back when spring’s in the meadow
Or even later when the streets are all aglow
‘Tis I’ll be here in person or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, where did you go?
But when he come, and all the bars are dying
If they are dead, then dead they may well be
You’ll thirst for the place where I am lying
And kneel and have another round for me.
And I shall drink, tho’ shots you have above me
And all my night will warm and sweeter be
For your elbow will bend and you’ll still love me
And I shall turn green until you come to me.
It turns out, “Danny Boy” isn’t even really a set song, so my butchering of the lyrics may be OK. According to experts, the song is version of hundreds of sets of lyrics set to the tune of “Derry Air.” The original dates back to Rory Dall O’Cahan. The lyrics as known today were penned by a British barrister and prolific songwriter, Frederick Edward Weatherly.
No wonder the song is hated by some of the Irish.
But the original was written by an O’Cahan, perhaps an ancient relative of the relatives of the owners of O’Callahan’s right here in Mocksville. Who knows?
My knowledge of Irish music and dance is, well, limited. Very limited. I love bagpipes … from a distance. I love Irish dances … for a short time.
The Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day for more than 1,000 years. Traditionally, that meant attending church in the morning and a celebration in the afternoon. The Lenten tradition of not eating meat was waived, and folks had a good time. The traditional meal was cabbage and Irish bacon.
Who was Saint Patrick? He lived in the fifth century and is considered the patron saint of Ireland and it’s national apostle. He was brought to Ireland as a slave at age 16, escaped, and later returned and was given credit for bringing Christianity to its people.
Now that’s a good story.
Bring on the corned beef and cabbage.
– Mike Barnhardt