Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oh, Those Unicorns

I'm part Irish on my mother's side and usually mark St. Patrick's Day by refusing to wear green because nonconformity comes before ethnicity. Also, the biggest St. Pat's celebration for me rarely happens on the day itself. Every year, Aunt B and Uncle B throw the Corned Beef Fest, in which they cook 25 pounds or so of corned beef, plus cabbages, potatoes and carrots and invite over everyone they know to eat it all. When my grandmother was still alive, it was the one day a year, she'd have alcohol--just a little Bailey's in her coffee.

Other traditions of that day include:
  • men wearing green, white and orange tams crocheted by Grandma.
  • people telling my (Jewish) Dad that there was once a Lord Mayor of Dublin who was Jewish.
  • cries of "get down, get ethnic!"
  • discussion of The Unicorn Song.
You see, for years, my Grandma would tell us about this song by The Clancy Brothers in which the unicorns are too busy frolicking to get on Noah's Ark and that's why there are no unicorns. And not a single other person in the family would remember hearing the song. And we have a large extended family, so that's a lot of people gaslighting Grandma, asking if she just imagined the hoompty-backed camels and the chimpanzees. This being the dark days before the internet, grandma we couldn't just go online and solve the controversy.

And then my Uncle B started dating Aunt B and the Corned Beef Fest came around and the mentioning of the song occurred and Uncle B knew the song perfectly well and looked at everyone like, "what's the matter with you people? Of course there's a unicorn song." The next year, he even brought a record of the song and played it for everyone and no one ever accused Grandma of making up the hoompty-backed camels again.

1 comment:

  1. I love that song!!! I would have stood up for your grandmother. It was always on as a child I remember it over and over and over again!


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