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.
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.