mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

St Patrick's Day

Old Green River

For sentimentalists, don't forget to sing a chorus of "Old Green River."

I also had this version of "Same Old Shillelagh" in my archives. It was recorded 30 October 1944, by my mother and neighbors at one of my grandmother's parties. The song is definitely a glimpse into the culture of vintage Irish-America. (See words below.)

I keep meaning to write a piece about the real St. Patrick. St. Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland but shadowy bits of knowledge suggests he was so much more. He was a foreigner from that island just to the east of Ireland, yes, but chose to return to Ireland where he had been enslaved for most of his youth. He was a humanitarian, a feminist, an organizer, and the first known person in the history of the world to speak out against the slave trade (from that excellent book "How the Irish Saved Civilization" by Thomas Cahill). And from that immense contribution, we now have green beer.

THE SAME OLD SHILLELAGH
Verse 1:

Fifty years ago me father left old Erin’s shore
He landed with shillelagh in hand
And divil a fair-thee more
He got a job and then a wife
And then a family
But up he dies 
and leaves his old
shillelagh stick to me

Chorus:
Sure it’s the same old shillelagh
Me Father brought from Ireland.
And Divil a man prouder than He,
As He walked with it in his hand.
He'd lead the band on Paddy's Day
And twirl it round his mitt
And divil a bit we'd laught at it
Or Dad would have a fit
Sure with the same old shillelagh,
Me Father could lick a dozen men
As fast as they'd get up be golly,
He'd knock 'em down again
And many's the time
He used it on me
To make me understand 
Sure it's the same old shillelagh
Me Father brought from Ireland.

Verse 2:
I’m goin’ on the p’ lice force
It’s the only thing to do
Instead of having one nightstick
By golly I’ll have two.
If there’s a fight I’ll do all right
There’s none can bother me
Because I have the old shillelagh 
Father gave to me.

Repeat Chorus

Verse 3 fragment:

He used to take it to bed with him
When he'd get home half lit.
And divil a bit we'd monkey with it
Or Dad would have a fit.

3.17.2008

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