In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “32 Flavors.”
Well, today is Saint Patrick’s Day! That was a pretty big thing around our house. As a child, I was boarded at an all girl Catholic school and that was my ‘Saint’s’ day. There was always plenty of green food, green cake, green jello, and green ice cream. I never did figure out what the flavor was, but I do know that is was not mint. It may have been vanilla with green food coloring. Nuns are not that creative and they are not all great cooks. We all wore green ribbons and were up early (5:30 am) for a special mass.
Years later I gave birth to an adorable, beautiful little girl. Call me crazy, but that was one of the best days of my life. I loved being pregnant and I loved giving birth. Everything about that day was perfect. Women all around me in the small recovery room were moaning and sleeping. Not me! All of that work had given me an appetite. My mouth wouldn’t shut up and the visitors came and went. Everything I said was about how adorable our baby was. Perhaps that is why they left. Finally, my lunch came and there it was, green jello, a green napkin and a green tray liner. I worked at that hospital, and knew that this was not the norm. My head was still swimming with the thought of bringing that amazing little baby into the world to even realize what it meant. Finally, while gazing down at the tray there was a menu with a little green leprechaun and clover leaves on the front. It said, ‘Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.’ Now it all made sense. It was my ‘Saint’s’ day. That very day she was given two green dresses and every year after, there were green clothes, socks, food and jewelry to celebrate her special day. As she got a little older she asked for mint and chip ice cream. No birthday cake (my personal favorite.) She didn’t like cake. Her dad would bring his ‘Purdy’ (as he called her) green bagels and one dozen green carnations to go with the green mint and chip ice cream for her day.
The first birthday after her father died, I wanted to reenact that day as close as I could. By this time she had moved to Oregon to start a new life with her husband. I got on a plane and went to visit on her big day. Of course, I bought the corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and made the soda bread so that things might feel the same. The house was smelling just like every other Saint Patrick’s Day/Birthday. Now to bring in that beautiful green. I was shocked to find that not one bagel shop had green bagels. One place said that they had tried the year before but that people thought they looked ‘moldy.’ Ok. No bagels. The next stop was for her green carnations. Nothing like that existed in her little part of Oregon. I had one more chance to try to save the day. It was her favorite mint and chip ice cream. There was no lack of that at the market.
I put her clover leaf tablecloth down. It was the one that her father and I bought on a cruise some years earlier. We used it every year. Now it was in her house where it belonged. The table was set. The dinner was done. We sat down to eat and her husband had brought home some lovely green carnations that he placed as the center piece. Yes, that was right that he do that. Letting go is never easy for me. Well, I did cook the dinner and ended it with her favorite green mint and chip ice cream. Of course, it wasn’t the same, but then it never would be, would it?