Three years ago, prior to all the Covid setting into our lives, my brother Mike, sister Marge and her husband Butcher and I were in lovely Chandler, Arizona for Brewers’ Spring Training on St. Patrick’s Day. On our breakfast trek that morning, we came across an extremely festive St. Pattty’s Day enthusiast who wasn’t letting the early hour keep him from spreading joy. It is best to assume he was still going from the previous night. He had what Mike refers to as “The High-Pro Glow” and glowing he was. He declared that he F’ing Loved Us Irish MF’ers!! A glorious start to a glorious day, for sure!
That was the last trip to Spring Training, and we will make it back at some point, hopefully next year. But it gets me to thinking of St. Patrick’s Days gone by, and my love for the day that makes everyone Irish, and a lot of people drunk. The day also very often falls into the March Madness NCAA Basketball Tournament, adding fuel to a drunk fire. It can be a very fun day. Even days I worked the holiday were fun. People are festive, celebrating all things Irish, like Guiness and Jameson. It’s a day for merriment. Except the one year it wasn’t.
Two years ago, on March 17th, I served food and drinks for the last time. That was the day that the State of Wisconsin did what nobody thought they would ever see: shut down the bars. Covid was starting to rage. Following the trend in neighboring states, Wisconsin locked it down. Places had to close by 5:00pm. We did at Solea, and I walked out of there with tears in my eyes because I had no idea when, or if, I would ever be back. And as it turns out, I never did go back, really. Within a short period of time, our boss decided he would close that location permanently, for lots of reasons really, and it was only a business decision, which I totally understood then, and still do now.
Two years. It’s still unreal to me. I was sure I would work in that industry forever. I had no exit plan. I know I bitched fairly regularly about things in the industry, but the truth is I loved working in a restaurant. I never worked the same day twice. I got to know hundreds of wonderful people, even if it was only for a day sometimes. I have stories and experiences that have made me the person I am now. People can be hard to deal with sometimes, but I knew how most days. I miss it, so very much.
Don’t get me wrong, I have a good gig now. I am lucky that I landed as well as I did from that dark day two years ago. That day was full of unknown, and dread. I went home not knowing what I was going to do, or how I would make money for the long term. Thankfully, all those people I have met over the years came through for me, and I landed on my feet. I get to be a little bit of myself, my bartender/server self, at my new job. I just don’t get to use as many swear words, and they won’t let me put a tip jar on my desk. It’s fine. I have inquired about setting up a margarita station at the reception desk, I don’t know how far that has gotten through committee, but I am hopeful.
Here I am, two years later, and I happen to have the day off. NCAA tournament starts today, and I know places are open selling green beer. I am thinking about it, venturing out and declaring my love for the Irish MFers of the world. We’ll see, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t put a little Bailey’s in my coffee this morning while I contemplate my agenda. I think of the March 18ths I have had, and I don’t seem to recall them as fondly. But the idea that I can, well, that makes me feel better about where I have been on St. Patrick’s days past, and where I may be in the future Irish holidays. Carry on, all you Irish MFers!! I love you!!!