Friday is St. Patrick's Day. The day when everyone is Irish, no matter your background or whether you are Texarkana or any other city from coast to coast.
St. Patrick's Day is the traditional feast day of one of Ireland's most beloved patron saints.
In the Republic of Ireland, the day is a national holiday. For many years the holiday was mostly a religious observance in that country --i n fact, pubs were closed by law on St. Patrick's Day until the 1970s.
In the U.S., though, the unofficial holiday has long been a time for celebration of Irish culture, food and drink. Especially drink.
Many American cities, notably Boston -- which held the first St. Patrick's Day parade in 1761 -- put on a big celebration to mark the day. Just an hour and half away from us in Host Springs, revelers will be enjoying the "First Ever 20th Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade," an elaborate celebration "officially" held on tiny Bridge Street but actually spreads to the surrounding area. Country star Justin Moore will be the grand marshal this year, with the iconic disco group the Village People performing a free concert on Saturday
The trend has spread to other arts of the world as well, including Ireland itself. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Irish government decided it was time to adopt a bit of American exuberance and use St, Patrick's Day to promote tourism and Irish culture. Now, Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade draws more than half a million people annually.
Yes, everyone will be wearing the green Many will indulge this evening in the traditional fare of corned beef and cabbage. Many more will take advantage of barroom special and quaff down more than their share of Guinness Stout or American brews with a touch of green food coloring.
Especially considering this year the day falls on a Friday. That will likely leave many feeling a bit green around the gills come Saturday morning.
Be ware, though, that the police know about St. Patrick's Day, too. And the consequences of too much beer and driving could be much worse than a little upset stomach the next day.
So enjoy yourself, be take a bit of sobering advice.
The police will be out in force Friday. If you celebrate with adult beverages, don't let the good times and liquid courage dull your senses and lead you into believing you are safe to drive. You aren't.
You could wind up behind bars, facing a hefty fine, drivers' license suspension and much higher insurance rates..
And that's if you are lucky. You might end up in the hospital. Or the morgue. Or you might send someone else to one of the two.
If you drink, call a cab or designate a driver who doesn't indulge.
Don't let a drunken driving arrest spoil your St. Patrick's Day. And don't let foolishness with alcohol make you regret the night for the rest of your life.