Friday, March 6, 2015

Craving the Green! March 6: Slice of Life Challenge

Craving the Green!

Well, I may be participating in the Slice of Life Challenge for thirty-one days this month, but you can best believe I'll also be participating in my own Irish challenge as well.

For many years, I've started off the month, tipping my hat to my dad, the King of Green. Yes, Kerm, move on over,  John Patrick Murphy, Sr. was the absolute king of it all. Not easy being green? Well, Dad would have none of that.

If you grew up in the small suburban town where I lived, there was a confluence of all different European cultures. On our street alone, there were Italians (my dad would pronounce that--EYE-talians!), Scots, Poles, French and even Swedes and Germans too. There was a wide array of cooking smells, and a wide array of great places to hang around...and get invited in to eat (I had a great set of puppy-dog eyes!). But in our house? We secretly knew...because it was crammed down our throat, that the Irish ruled it all.

My dad had a nose for things, though. And if he smelled even a whiff of garlic on me, I was dead meat for sure. There would be no red sauce, no spaghetti...and definitely no pizza in our house at all.
My classroom kids can hardly believe this...that I grew up without their two favorite dietary delights-pizza and worse, chicken nuggets, sounds like a tall tale to them.

(It wasn't until my dad passed away that we began to fill the pot with our version of Grandma Cucurello's gravy--which we called sauce. And of course, despite my sister, Dub's greatest efforts one did not equal the other at all.)

But...more important than anything else, was my father's commitment to the color green. The outside of our house was a light green, the hallway inside, a darker shade of green, the carpets--green, green coat, green car, and the few clothing articles such as dresses or slacks (as we called them--men wore pants, lol!) were all forest or mint or lime or  moss, and best of all, shamrock green!

It wasn't until I was an adult that I understood my dad's obsession.

I took a trip to County Mayo, to my mom and dad's homeland, a return to my own Irish roots. They say there are more shades of green in Ireland than anywhere else on earth. And it was then, in my time there, visiting mostly my mom's family, that I came to know and understand the depth of my dad's longing for green, and no doubt his long for his homeland too.


Some Marches in the past, I've worn at least one green article of clothing each and every day. Socks, a necklace, a sweater...I've got it all. My fave, of course, is a pair of lime green cowboy boots. This year I'm taking the green challenge, intensifying my green and starting about ten days before the big day. So tomorrow, I start my commitment to my dad. He never did see that homeland again, after all.

Everybody's Irish on St. Paddy's Day...c'mon, be Irish with me for the next ten days!

(My father's rolling in his grave knowing there's an orange slice of life logo plastered on my blog. Orange, in the month of March, is just not done at all!)


Katy Collins said...

This post was magical--a wonderful tribute to your Dad, your childhood, your heritage, and the tradition of St. Patrick's Day. I adored all the description and detail. I've always wondered, why so much green? One look at the picture you posted, and I knew! It makes me sad your Dad never got to go back, but I bet he'd be so proud of the traditions you carry on!

gael lynch said...

My dad always got that faraway look in his eye when I asked him about going back, and he'd say, "Someday, Gaelie." But somehow raising four kids as a single dad, he was never able to get himself or us there. You are so encouraging, Katy! How great that we're slicing this month together! Thank you!