Not only did I grow up in what can only be described as an Irish household – and that despite my dad’s German roots – but I also worked for 23 years surrounded by colleagues of Irish descent.
That was at the weekly newspaper The Sunday Dispatch, owned by the Watson family. Bill Watson, Sr., Bill Watson Jr., Bill Watson III, and John Watson, were beyond proud of their Irish heritage, even though Bill III, nicknamed “Cowboy,” and John, nicknamed “Chicky,” had a mother of Italian descent.
My co-workers there included Richard B. Cosgrove, Ken Feeney, James “Spot” O’Donnell and his son Jimmy, Anne Carmody, Sarah McAndrew, Sheila McKeown Gelb, Bill Corcoran and Leo Moran. It was St. Patrick’s Day every day.
From them I learned one of the most endearing qualities of the Irish is self-deprecation. Proud as they were, they never hesitated to make fun of themselves.
Bill Watson Jr., affectionately called “Pidge” by everyone, including his wife, was a master at this, and showed it the year he was named “Man of the Year” by the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. At the banquet, he told the following story:
In Ireland, there’s a little village where every St. Patrick’s Day the most hen-pecked husband in the town must ride down Main Street sitting backwards on a donkey. And every year, year after year, it’s always the same guy.
Because Pidge Watson lives in the United States.
You’re right, his wife was not in the audience.