This past year on Saint Patrick's Day, I made a huge mistake.
I made a stupid comment, and it caused a friend heartache.
At a table filled with people, I commented with a wink,
"Saint Patrick's Day's a great excuse for friends to have a drink."
But when McDougal looked at me with sadness in his eyes,
all seated at that table felt I should apologize.
Before I could, though, "Mac" stood up and smiled at me and said,
"About this day, Americans for years have been misled."
No one spoke and so McDougal, in a pensive tone
said, "As things stand, there's no reason for you to feel alone.
It's common for the unindoctrinated not to know
what happened to Saint Patrick all those many years ago.
In Ireland, this day is not about just drinking booze.
But celebrations here can make it easy to confuse
the Feast Day of Saint Patrick with a drunken free-for-all
in which it's fine to overlook abuse of alcohol.
But Patrick, as his name implies, was canonized a saint.
You'd think, then, that his feast day would be one of self-restraint.
The tales surrounding Patrick are ones that should be well known.
Instead, though, he's associated with the Blarney Stone.
Parades, green beer, and leprechauns seem only to distort
the fact that it was Patrick who made Ireland comport
to the ways of Christianity through his powerful belief."
Then McDougal ceased his oratory, much to my relief.
To say that I felt terrible would be to say the least.
I'd made a drinking holiday out of a saintly feast.
But when McDougal noticed that I couldn't make a sound,
he saved the moment when he shouted, "Green tea all around! "
William Chaplar's Other Poems
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