In Holland, Michigan, Irish paraphernelia is not to be had for love or money. Meijer’s and Walmart each have a little stand of green muffins, napkins with clovers on them, that kind of thing. No green body paint, no Irish flags, and very little in the way of public events. Of course it’s no fault of theirs; it’s simply that everyone here is Dutch and no one is Irish. You can’t seriously expect a large population of last names beginning with “Vander” to celebrate the heritage of all the O’Neals and O’Shaughnessys who are locally nonexistent.

But some of the locals have gone out of their way to accomodate me. At work I found a small vase of green daisies on my desk, which was (gasp; dare I, a macho man of twenty-two years, say it?) touching. Then after coming home from dinner with the Furhmans, I find that my kitchen has been penetrated by would-be Irish celebrants. A shamrock-adorned cake in my freezer and all my dairy products mysteriously modified with a charming hue of green that could only have been accomplished by an amateur user of food coloring. The buggers did leave a little in the way of identification, however, in the form of a couple of carefully crafted St. Patrick’s day cards and a short note.

Aw, shucks…sniffle…what are you lookin’ at, anyway?