Hello, I’m Pat McMahon. Or more actually, I’m John Patrick Michael McMahon — and not just on Monday, St. Patrick’s Day. That’s my full legal name.
I’m totally Irish, all year long. Oh, there may be some other scattered nationalities in there somewhere, but that would be simply due to the irresistible attractiveness of the Irish.
I married one named Duffy. I have a son who is academically Irish: He went to Notre Dame. My grandparents came from County Clare. Duffys were from Cork. I should, in fairness, acknowledge that my wife is half-French. But I’ve never known her to celebrate Bastille Day, while I’m sure she’s wearing green today.
That’s the funny thing about the universality of St. Patrick’s Day. They say that on the holiday, everybody’s Irish. But why?
Why are the crowds that line every city’s streets to watch a St. Patrick’s Day parade made up of every color and every nationality? Why don’t gnomes and Menehunes get as much attention as leprechauns? And why after three hours in Ireland does my wife sound like she grew up in Tralee?
Perhaps it’s the magic of the place. I may have to go back a few more times, just to find out.
I’m John Patrick Michael McMahon.