In my house growing up, every family party ever held … after dinner, and many drinks, out came the Irish music. When I was 8 my parents even forced me to take Irish step dancing lessons in the back of a bar (Davey’s Locker in Montvale, NJ to be precise. ) … And no, I did not love that. But I did love the music, and still do (albeit in small doses). It makes me feel at home, among family.
Of course, it also accentuates a sense of gloominess in the Irish-American sensibility. A pal once referenced someone she knew who read “the Irish sports pages” every day without fail. She was talking about the obits. Man was that familiar. Between my Grandma, Nana, Mom, Aunts and Great Aunts’ worrying, I was surrounded by adults who were obsessed with mortality. And the craziest part is, all that worrying was done silently. There was always a dark cloud of fear hovering over us, but no one acknowledged it. No one talked about death, dying or anything “unpleasant.”
I’ve done a decent job shedding that mindset but the weight of generations still bears down on me every once in a while. But then I can’t forget − there are positive aspects of the Irish-American sensibility. Wit. Sarcasm. The ability to laugh ourselves through seriously ugly shit. And to fight like hell when we need to.