St. Patrick’s Day in our house

My mom’s side is the source of our Irish heritage. And the reason we barely celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in our house.
My mom’s father, William Strubeck, died on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, in 1936. My mom was 13 and the oldest of six children. His death left them devastated. And defined their entire lives. There’s no way of telling what would have become of them had he lived. We saw what became of them because he had not.
By the time we Ackerman children started coming along in the late ’40s, my mom and her siblings all had managed to make something of themselves, but they had had a difficult path without their dad.
They watched their mom, the former Esther Moran, whose parents were born in Ireland, struggle and went out of their way to make up for that when they finally could. As such, the grandmother we knew had a lovely, peaceful life. She was well taken care of in old age.
But her old age didn’t last long.
She was in only her mid-70s when she passed away, also on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1972.
Yes, 36 years to the day of his death she joined her husband.
It’s not like we mourned on St. Patrick’s Day, but we did not revel either. When we were little, my mom always made sure we wore green. We still do. She always made ham and cabbage, too. And reminded us that for all her troubles, our grandmother went through her life with a smile on her face and a song on her lips.
And more often than not, Rosary beads in her hands.

Ed Ackerman