Soul may seem at odds with green beer and red hair. But Irish soul isn’t lofty. It’s rooted in real life.
Irish soul is tough and scrappy. It comes from a people whose pride kept them strong in the face of colonization. It helped them claw their way up from the bottom at Ellis Island.
Pride in my Irish soul swells my chest to this day.
The potato famine sent my ancestors across the pond and we made our way to Queens, NY.
We worked with our hands until the mechanic and mailman (my grandfathers) met their wives in the vicinity of Steinway Street.
It was then and there that the life I know took hold and a huge family started to bloom.
Essentially, my life has been one long family party.
With more than 50 cousins, there was always an occasion to get together.
Parties were done right and anything done right was institutionalized.
My parents hosted Christmas Eve parties. Christmas Day was at one aunt’s house and Easter was held at my other aunt’s. Uncles hosted the summer barbeques.
But we weren’t just partying. We were strengthening family bonds, continuing traditions and nurturing new branches of the family tree as it grew.
Considering the “deep soul” of the Irish, Thomas Moore writes, “It basks in tradition and finds its heaven in family…”
The majority of my large family stayed close over the years. Even family members who moved away stayed in touch because of the love we have for one another. It was visible at each party.
There was love for the ones who needed a ride; love for the ones who outdid themselves with the preparations; love for the ones who always came.
Because of the love we have for one another and the high priority we place on family, favorite drinks were on hand and the spare bed was always offered.
Everyone had the chance to hand their coffee back to the host without worry and say, “Irish it up for me.”