Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Memorial Day (Green Edition)

(Grandma and Grandpa Royce in 1986)

For me, St. Patrick's Day is not so much a holiday as it is a day of remembrance. It's the day I always think of and remember my paternal grandfather. He was as Irish as they come.

As a kid I remember thinking he looked like a jolly ol' leprechaun - only much taller. Because this sweet man adopted my dad I suppose I can't claim any real Irish blood. However, I choose to believe that once a child is adopted into a family and loved like a natural-born child the family's history seeps into their blood as if it were always there. (So Ireland, I claim you as part of me. I'll try to make you proud.)

I remember speaking to my grandpa on the phone one year on St. Patrick's Day when I was fairly young. He sang me a little song that still brings memories flooding back when I hear it - When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.

The summer I graduated from high school my friend Suzanne and I went on a road trip to Northern California. I stopped in for a day to visit Grandma and Grandpa Royce in their little apartment in Sacramento. They served me boxty and smoked sausage. Along with the smell of sweet pipe smoke, smoked sausage still makes me think of my Grandpa to this day.

Later, when my kids were old enough to care, I decided to make a proper St. Patrick's Day feast to celebrate March 17th. I got a book from the library on Irish cuisine and was surprised to find there were no recipes for corned beef and cabbage. However, I did find a recipe for boxty - along with this poem that made me smile:

Boxty on the griddle,
boxty in the pan,
if you can't make boxty,
you'll never get a man.

I had forgotten about boxty! And although I already got myself a man I figured it would be a fitting tribute to Grandpa Royce to prepare these little potato pancakes along with some smoked sausage. And the kids loved it. (By the way, if you serve homemade applesauce on boxty your tastebuds will thank you. And you'll thank me. You're welcome.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

And Grandpa, I'll never forget your smiling Irish eyes.


simplysarah said...

Yum. I must learn to make boxty. Thanks!

Meanwhile, your post reminded me of another Irish food that makes me feel all nostalgic...colcannon. Which is the Irish word for mashed-potatoes-with-lots-o-butter-and-ham-and-cabbage-all-mixed-together.

The first time I saw that made on tv, I cried. It's divine.

Chelle! said...

Memories...aren't they great--especially when they are about such wonderful grandparents!

Happy Hubby, JJ, Bugs, Nenie and Sadie Jo said...

this post made me cry. I miss my grandpa too.

Gina said...

Why do you have to be so cool and so poetic? I just love it. And how did you life turn out like a movie. Every memory, romantic and detailed. I enjoy reading each post, another chapter in my captivating novel.

Pam said...

What a great post! I miss Gramma and Grampa all the time. Those pictures and memories put a smile on my face. Thank you for starting my day off right.

Gerb said...

Sarah- Boxty is fairly easy and mighty tasty. I'll have to try colcannon one of these days. ham and potatoes are always a good combination.

Chelle- Happy memories are the best.

Jen- No one can quite replace a grandpa, can they?

Gina- You always make me feel so cool and poetic. Thanks for reading regularly!

Pam- Same here. I was always jealous that you lived so close to them. :)