US Catholic Faith in Real Life

It's not easy being not green.

Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

I've never been one to appreciate being told what to wear. So, since I was a wee* 5-year-old, I've been deliberately avoiding wearing green on St. Patrick's Day. I started by telling my mother that being a Meehan (my mother's name) and a Murphy meant that I didn't have to don a kelly green jumper. Not even relentless pinches from my classmates could make me budge. And when she'd put a sparkly shamrock pin on my backpack, I'd take it off on the bus and hide it in a pocket.

Sometimes I'll partake in the soda bread and colcannon, but anything that could potentially pass for a St. Paddy's Day shirt, skirt, or sweater will hang in my closet until all the spilled Smithwicks, Caffrey's, and Guinness has been mopped up and the corned beef consumed.

Amateur psychoanalysis might say that I don't want to reveal my true self. But as the expert on all things me, I think it has more to do with my long-standing tendency to be ornery, contrary, and plain old stubborn about some traditions.

In my family, I've earned the nickname Grumperina. Sometimes I'm even Grumperina McGrumperson, which I suppose is particularly appropriate today.

It's not that I'm not proud of my family's heritage. Thanks to help from my grandmother, I created a family tree that goes back seven generations. And I admit to getting giddy over a block of good Irish cheddar. But, the closest I've come to Ireland was a layover at London's Heathrow airport last January.

So, today I'm wearing a purple blouse and a white cardigan with the tracest amount of green in the embroidery. I will not eat a boiled dinner and I won't be drinking an Irish beer tonight. I will not be streaming the Irish folk music from NPR today, nor will I put on any Van Morrison records. 

I will roll with the pinches, however. I will laugh along with the name calling. And I will smile when my mother sighs at my stubbornness. I hope that counts for something.


*You can get a little Irish stereotype out of me after all!