Blarney, at its best

Welcome to St. Patrick’s month in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
With the Irish pub crawl, complete with bagpipers, behind us, the Pittston St. Patrick’s Day parade a couple of days from now, two more gala parades coming up, and St. Patrick’s Day, itself, on which the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick will hold their 106th annual banquet, still 13 days away, “going green” around here has a meaning all its own.
Which surely pleases the ghost of my old pal, the late James “Spot” O’Donnell.
I always referred to Spot, a former newspaper pressman in a class by himself, as a 365-day-a-year Irishman.
When he bought and refurbished an old mansion at Harvey’s Lake in the late ’60s, Spot named the property “O’Donnell’s Donegal Hill,” and asked me to paint a big sign for the entrance to his long driveway. An art student at the time while writing sports part-time, I threw myself into it.
When the sign, featuring a welcoming leprechaun, was stolen and then found in a dorm room at College Misericordia, Spot was more honored than angry. “Kid must be an Irishman,” he said. “And he’s got good taste.”
Blessed with the proverbial “gift of gab,” Spot had plenty of stories to tell. Here’s one.
The O’Donnells were hosting a visitor from Ireland, he of devilishly good looks and more than his share of Irish charm. “He had a way with the ladies,” is how Spot put it.
Well, one evening at Spot’s favorite local watering hole, Bill’s Tavern at the lake, one woman in particular was falling all over herself making a play for the visiting Irishman.
“Did you ever visit the Blarney Stone?” she asked at one point.
“I have,” the Irishman answered.
“Is it true what they say about the Blarney Stone?” she went on.
“And what,” he answered, “might that be?”
“That if you kiss the Blarney Stone you will be blessed with abundant good luck?”
“Indeed,” he answered, “that’s what I’ve heard said.”
“And,” she continued, ” is it true that if you kiss someone who kissed the Blarney Stone you will have good luck as well?”
“Aye, that is what they say.”
“Then may I inquire,” she pressed on, “if you, yourself, have ever kissed the Blarney Stone?”
He knew the answer she sought but was not about to oblige. “I’m afraid not, my dear lady,” he said instead. “But I did sit on it once.”

Ed Ackerman