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17 March 2012

A NUN AND GREEN SHOES: HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY

      I tend not to be a reveler on St. Patrick's Day. Sure my late father insisted we all wear the green on this holy day, but a holy day it was, and was quietly observed otherwise in our household and at my parochial school. As I grew older, I sometimes wore a "kiss me I'm Irish" button, hoping that a few preteen boys might notice me that day and take a chance on being forward. I'll keep it a mystery as to whether the button served as a magic mistletoe or not.
      Every St. Patrick's Day, I remember one particular boy, a late classmate of mine named Kevin, may God rest his soul. It was a gray March 17th morning  in 1961, and, as we first graders stood silently in line waiting to be let in the doors at St. John's School, I saw Kevin grinning in the boy's line across from me. He looked down at his shoes, and I followed his gaze to discover his school loafers painted with bright green paint. Splotched, rather than painted, is a more apt description of the forever-wrecked shoes.
     "My parents let me," Kevin said in a low voice.
     As Sister Paracleta approached, we all waited for judgement to descend upon Kevin. Would he be dragged from the line by his ear? Sent out of the schoolyard and told to go home?
     Sister loomed over Kevin, sternly examining the loss of two perfectly good school shoes. She raised herself straight, a giant among us pint-sized youngsters, for her veil and accouterments added a good eight inches to her height, and proclaimed,
     "NOW HERE'S A MAN WHO KNOWS HOW TO OBSERVE ST. PATRICK'S DAY!"
     Thanks be to Kevin and to Sister Paracleta for the wonderful memories.
       A very blessed and peaceful St. Patrick's Day to all!