As the St. Patrick’s Day festivities kick off with “Green Beer Sunday” and Bobby is hanging up the obligatory Shamrock lights, I sit here on Tipp Hill wistful to say the least. There’s so much history….and by history, I do not mean the history of those that migrated to this tundra of a city from Ireland (who, these days, I find myself getting mad at for picking Syracuse) but rather the history of my very own experiences and my moments
As a kid, I did not generally enjoy St. Patrick’s Day. I was just a wee bit Irish and and a whole half Italian. Really, the only way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a kid was to don some green. There were no feasts, traditions, gifts or otherwise at our house, just a good ol’ green shirt and maybe some green socks if you wanted to get real crazy….. Then it happened….
Seventeen years ago, in 1998, I fell into an opportunity to move to the (semi) grown up version of Disney World. I’m talking about the magical land where adults move when they are not quite yet ready to become adults, college for the working class, where old houses are plentiful to rent and in glorious condition with original wood work, where the walk-of shame is more funny than shameful because you’ll run into a couple of friends on the way home Saturday morning in their fanciest, Friday night attire. A land where solo cups litter front porches the minute the weather starts to break and can jam and bbqs are bursting at every block . It’s a land where people are more than willing to help you dig out your on-street parked, buried, car. They will invite you in for a beer during their sacred time of celebration, or as us laymen call it; the month of March. It is a place where friendships are genuine, plentiful and all inclusive. It is my home, my love ,and my heart. The one, the only, Tipperary Hill.
I had never heard of this place growing up and since that magical moment I was thrown into all its green glory, well,…I still can’t bring myself to leave.
This is where the nostalgia kicks in. I remember so much, how can I ever go? I hold onto those memories like my baby holds my hair….desperate and proud. I wanna go back (insert foot stomp and pout here.) Do I want to really be the “lady” feeding her son a bottle, looking out the window, as fuzzy, kelly green boas swirl by my window? The answer is NO…and yes.
I can remember, like it was yesterday, dangling paper shamrocks from the ceiling at 222 in preparation for my first St. Patrick’s Day on Tipp Hill. The enchantment was in the air everywhere and I’ve felt it ever since. I felt it when I would head to Coleman’s for the green beer delivery and carelessly stay for one too many green brews even though Monday would be even more “Monday-ish.” I felt it when I cheered on hundreds of shamrock runners in blistery, blizzard-like conditions. I felt it when I filled my thermos with “coffee” on St. Patrick’s Day Eve and trekked up to the upside down light, so at midnight I could see a shamrock get painted and then destroyed moments later by slush, cars and footprints. I felt it when I was 7 months pregnant, St. Patrick’s Day was 70 degrees, and Syracuse was played (and WON) on the big screens outside Coleman’s. I also felt it that same, sober, St. Patrick’s Day when I walked at least 3 miles visiting bars where people spilled out onto the streets. I’ve felt spiritualistic, sparkles from the early morning St. Patrick’s Day breakfast to the midnight mayhem at the upside down light and I have felt it through every type of weather imaginable.
Now, since I’ve yet to meet someone with a DeLorean, I cannot go back. I can look at pictures and relish those moments but I can not successfully recreate them. Things will always be different but they will be the same too.
I can pass on my memories to my children and I can help them make more. I can make sure the month of March is more than one green-shirted day because it has given so much more to me. I can visit any time I’d like and always have the privilege of being embraced by this emerald city….but I can never go back. That’s the thing about nostalgia. It is memories, it is marvelous but it is also melancholy. It is because you wished you embraced more, took in more, talked to that one person more and held on tighter. But I think, you can never hold on tight enough. Time will always slip through your hands until that time has passed and you can’t have it back and so you wistfully miss it. That’s the melancholy part, but here’s the marvelous part… The alternative means to have never lived, it means I wouldn’t have a jammed packed photo-bucket account or years of yellow paged photo albums to leaf through. It means I wouldn’t get to say “hey, do you guys remember the time we (insert absolute hilarious time here)” and if you know me, you know I say that often. It means I wouldn’t be ready for some of the best days of my life that aren’t here yet and it would mean that I couldn’t bring to tomorrow all of my lessons, love and laughter of yesterday!!!!