Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to One and All ~ David R. Gunderson


Happy St. Patrick’s Day to One and All

My first encounter with the “wearing of the green” was on the 17th of March in my kindergarten year and it was not a pleasant one. My mom had gotten me all ready for school that morning but had neglected to fortify me with something green. It seams that St. Patrick ’s Day is recognized by the Catholic church and some of the more liturgical Protestant churches like the Episcopals and the Lutherans. However, it is not a sacred day for most of the non-liturgical protestant churches like the Presbyterians and more to the point the Mormons.When I entered the classroom that day, children rushed at me from every direction pinching me as hard as they could. I was caught completely of guard and was getting ready to fight the attacking hoard off when the teacher intervened, saved me and made a green shamrock for me to wear for protection for the rest of the day.


My next great memory of St. Patrick’s Day was when I was interviewing with Bell Labs. I had a free day in Manhattan and it was on Saturday March 17. My associates and I decided to go to the famous parade. I recall platoon after platoon of ethnically Irish mounted police riding by. In addition band after band from the local Catholic high schools marched by. I also recall that, there were policeman stationed at about 10 foot intervals all along 5th Avenue. One of my friends remarked that the parade watchers were outnumbered by the police.






.Macys & Gimbals had changed their name to O’Macys & O’Gimbals, some people had dressed up like Leprechauns, every bar advertised that it had green beer and nearly everyone had a badge that read “Kiss Me I’m Irish”. The flower shops in the subway stations were even selling little cups of live shamrocks. (I was quite surprised to see that shamrocks were small like clover. I had imagined them to be about 2 inches wide and about 2½ inches tall, like the one my kindergarten teacher had made for me). In any case, everyone assured me that on St. Patrick ’s Day, everyone is Irish.

The true story of St. Patrick is a bit vague but it seams that he was born near the west coast of Briton, across from the Isle 
of Mann, in the AD 380s. This was just as the Roman Empire was collapsing.
At about the age of 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and sold into slavery. He remained as a slave for 6 years and then escaped. One account said that he felt that he had committed some sort of sin in his youth and that the slavery was just punishment.

His father and grandfather were Christian clerics and after his escape, he decided to become a priest and carry the Christian gospel to Ireland. After several years of study he was ordained a bishop and returned to Ireland. One of the great stories of his ministry is how he used the tiny shamrock to explain the Trinity.
March 17, 461 AD is accepted as the date of his death. His life was about 75 years in length. Since his birth date is unknown, his death date is used to commemorate his great work.
So Erin Go Bragh (Ireland for ever) to everyone.

David R. Gunderson


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