But, we weren't Catholic, and I grew up never knowing what the holiday meant. We celebrated leprechauns and gold coins buried under the rainbow. I don't think any of our holidays had a religious significance. There was always beer, though - so, I guess we were really Irish! LOL!
My dad's ancestors arrived in New England in the 1600's. They came from England. He has a bit of paperwork handed down to prove it. But, he didn't ask many questions growing up. His family raised him in New Haven, Connecticut. He grew up fishing. He never had a bike - instead, he had his own little boat to fish in. Each of the 4 boys had their own little boat until a horrible hurricane washed them all out to sea.
My dad is 84 years old. He has said that when he grew up the Irish were the poorest kids around. He was also very poor, but he said in New Haven, the Italian kids and the Irish kids were not allowed to play together. Being English, he stayed away from both, rather than get beat up for walking down the wrong street. He said gangs did not start in L.A.
He met my 15 year old mother while stationed in San Diego. Her family came to California via Oklahoma. It might have had something to do with the Dust Bowl - but, I know it had to do with poverty. All they brought with them was a beat up old car that barely made it thru the desert, and a suitcase. Grama said she brought a sewing kit and a pot to cook on.
My parents are All American - through and through. They believed in the American Dream. Work hard, and your wishes will come true. It worked for them. They are happy people. They love their country. They love their family.
The little gold wishing well above was a wedding gift 35 years ago from a very kind single woman who attended my church. I could not believe I was getting something with REAL GOLD on it! She said we could put our "wishes and prayers" inside it! Mary Lou was what you might call, "a spinster". She was a school teacher. She had never married or had children. Her name was Mary Lou.
Mary Lou was very kind to me. She loved to encourage my newfound faith and she especially loved to share Bible verses with me. I remember well her telling me a story of how I could have the Gifts of the Spirit in my life. She said, "If someone gave you a beautiful gift all wrapped up in pretty paper and a beautiful bow, would you open it - or would you set it on a table and never peek inside to see what the gift might be".
We have all heard this story - but at that time, I was only 18, and it was the first time I had heard the story. There was nothing I wanted more in my life than to be a woman of God. I so wanted to know what my gifts were. How could I find out? How could I ever know what I was supposed to do for the Lord. I made everything so hard. I didn't know that I didn't have to do anything much except let HIM be in me. Mary Lou was an encourager. I think that was her gift.