St. Patrick’s Day #socs

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig dhuit! Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, a day for the “wearin’ o’ the green,” drinking Guinness Stout and eating Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage, and speaking with a fake brogue. By the way, it’s “St. Paddy’s Day,” not “St. Patty’s Day.” Patty is a girl in the Peanuts cartoon. Two of them, really: there was Peppermint Patty, of course, but there was another girl named Patty who was a friend of Violet’s and liked throwing parties to which Charlie Brown wasn’t invited. As the strip went on, both she and Violet were phased out. I’m sure Charles Schulz would tell us they moved away. I’d like to think they were eaten by wolves.

In Chicago, where I grew up, they celebrate by dyeing the Chicago River green, at least the part that runs past the Wrigley Building, Marina City, and the Merchandise Mart and alongside Wacker Drive. The dye is organic, so it won’t kill off anything that might be lurking in the river. In order not to dirty Lake Michigan with all the sewage that used to pass through the river, the city engineers reversed the flow so that the river flowed away from the lake, then dug the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (or, if you prefer, the Sanitary and Shit Canal, considering what goes into the river) to connect the Chicago River with the Des Plaines River, which meets up with the Kankakee River and the two form the Illinois River, a tributary of the Mighty Mississippi, flowin’ down to New Orleans. (Thus ends your geography lesson for today.)

I used to work in The Wrigley Building, a chalk-white building on Michigan Avenue on the north bank of the river. You see pictures of it on Instagram all the time. It’s on the upper left in this picture.

The Wrigley family is, of course, the company that makes chewing gum, and for many years owned the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, home of the aforementioned Cubs. At night, flood lights illuminate the building, and have for years. Which was ironic, because at the time Wrigley Field had no lights.

I always thought it’d be cool to live in Marina City. It was built to try and lure people back to town from the suburbs. Marina City is two towers that look like corncobs. Here’s an aerial view of them.

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Inspiring scenes only found in Chicago. Today’s featured photo is a repost of @amyulo: ———– "May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you're going, and the insight to know when you're going too far." -Irish Blessing ———– Tag @chicago.travel and use #chicagotravel to be featured! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 #chicago #chitown #chi #chicity #illinois #midwest #architecture #chicagogram #chicagocubs #chicagobulls #chicagobears #chicagoblackhawks #chicagowhitesox #chicagopizza #chicagolife #chicagofood #lakeshore #chicagowedding #searstower #willistower #navypier #michiganavenue #lincolnpark #rivernorth #chicagotour #thebean #millenniumpark #schooloftravel

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There’s a parade down Dearborn Street on St. Patrick’s Day every year, and it being Chicago, it’s usually colder than a well-digger’s bottom. I’m writing this yesterday, and I see the forecast is for partly cloudy, high 44, low 28. Those are Fahrenheits; in centigrades, that’s 7 and -2, respectively. You can bet that, by the time the parade departs from Dearborn and Wacker, many of the marchers will have been drinking for about four hours.

St. Patrick’s Day is second only to New Year’s Eve in people drinking heavily, then trying to drive home because they’re too drunk to walk. Please, don’t drink and drive. Mary and I will spend the evening at home, in case you were wondering.


Stream-of-Consciouness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about Tab, the diet soft drink from the Coca-Cola Company.

26 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Day #socs

  1. I think both Patty’s were placed in a ring and had to fight to the death:) St. Patrick’s Day is just insane with so many dumb dumbs getting drunk and smashing things. My natural path is right next to an Irish pub and they always suffered some damage. I all aok for celebrating and drinking but I hate when they become stupid and damage things or, as you say, get behind the wheel. Today, I am making cupcakes, lemon and chocolate because we are celebrating 2 birthdays. I plan to wear green so…Happy St. Paddy’s Day

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  2. I had the opportunity see the green river in Chicago last year. We’re from a small town in Wisconsin. We were impressed with the crowds, and the green beer drinking spirit, and the camaraderie of the day. We navigated our way to see the river as it turned green and it was worth the effort. We left early enough to avoid the crowds as the day wore on!

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  3. First off, let me apologize for my use of St. Patty’s during my morning comments. I’ll remember to use the correct St. Paddy’s next time.

    I’ve yet to visit Chicago during St. Paddy’s day. Would love to see the green river and have a glass of non-green beer with a fine plate of Irish food. Thanks for a little bit of history and tour of Chicago, John. Have a lovely evening at home, safe and sound from a raucous crowd.

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    1. Hey, don’t worry about the Paddy/Patty thing. It’s a minor annoyance. “Erin Go Braless,” on the other hand…

      “Fine plate of Irish food” is almost an oxymoron. There’s really nothing wrong with Irish cooking, it’s just not all that exciting. A lot of potatoes, everything’s boiled and generally doesn’t have a whole lot of seasoning, at least as I remember it.

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        1. A lot of the characters I remember from the early cartoons are now “minor” characters, i.e. Frieda, Violet, Patty, Pigpen and Shermy. Sad, because I remember Shermy was the first character to speak in the comic, and he was talking to Patty. Pigpen was always a funny character, I think because there’s always one kid who’s covered with dirt…

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  4. I am stuck on Party Patty and Violet being eaten by wolves. It appeals to the dark side of my humor which I rarely let out of the closet. The Tab commercial reminded me that I was hooked on Tab in my younger days. That commercial must have made me do it, because it tasted awful.

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    1. Tab was really godawfful, wasn’t it? My aunts used to drink it back in the Sixties before we knew that cyclamates could kill you.

      I always thought that it was unfair that Charlie Brown was the only one that got the short end of the stick in “Peanuts,” you know?

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  5. Hi John – yes St Patrick’s Day – a day to celebrate in our age … I suspect though we’ll be quiet here. I’ve always enjoyed the engineering around Chicago and those are some good pics to show us – enjoy the day …cheers Hilary

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  6. As you may know, Savannah, GA has a HUGE Irish population and the second largest St Paddy’s Day parade in the nation. We never went. BUT! We did enjoy all the charming Irish shops downtown.
    I did not know that about the river, and I think it’s AWESOME!
    I still drink Tab. Got into it pretty heavy a few summers ago. They don’t sell it everywhere, so I can’t stay on it, but I would if they delivered it!

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    1. The only time we were in Savannah was when we went to Hilton Head to not golf, not play tennis, not go sailing… One day, maybe…

      I know they still sell Tab around here, but given the choice between Tab and Diet Coke, I’d probably opt for coffee. I stopped drinking soda a few years go, and really, I feel better.

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  7. Thanks for the trivia about St. Paddy’s Day, and about Chicago. We usually spend St. Paddy’s Day in Blue Ridge, Ga, where they have a parade and all the town folk celebrates throughout the day at the Boro Pub. The pub is owned by a retired Irish Priest and truly a magical place. Unfortunately, this year we didn’t go but hopefully, we’ll get up that way in June (my birthday). We stayed at home because we didn’t to be out and around with all of the crazies.

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    1. The crazies have this tendency to ruin eveything, don’t they? Mary says Blue Ridge is up near Ellijay, but I don’t remember passing thru it on our way there. Remine me when it’s cloer to the date so I remember to wish you a good time…

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