March 16, 2012 by Gina
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!
Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Have you in the past? Are you of Irish descent or do you just celebrate for the fun of it? Any traditions?
In the Corcoran household and extended family, you can imagine that this is almost the most important holiday and celebration of the year. My husband’s family (and my family too) are a wee bit Irish so we go all out for celebrating. This is Getty’s first St. Patrick’s Day and for Finn’s first St. Paddy’s I put green food coloring in his bottle. It looked wierd but was fun. Maybe Getty will get the same treatment this year.
I digress (it really doesn’t take much!). As I was saying, St. Patrick’s is a big celebration in the Corcoran family. We all get together for the weekend, wear as much green as we possibly can and even have a parade in Brian’s hometown of Ettrick, Wisconsin. It’s a town of about 300 people and the parade is only about one mile long. The American Legion members carry the American flag, we carry an “Irish Fest” banner, we have a police escort, sometimes goats with Irish attire, floats, candy and old cars. Really, the only thing we’re missing is a band or maybe, bagpipes. And how could I forget, St. Patrick always makes an appearance at the parade. Hardly anyone is along the parade route, but we don’t mind at all. When we round the last corner of our route, the four bars in town come into sight and we finally have an audience! They cheer, yell and wave and the Corcoran clan feels like the effort is worthwhile.
Our St. Patrick’s Day celebration means more to our family than just celebrating our heritage. It is also a time for the town of Ettrick and the surrounding communities to raise money for the Ettrick Fire Department (all volunteer) and remember a very important person. The parade’s real name is the “Chad Corcoran Memorial Irish Fest” in honor of Brian’s cousin. In June 2002, Chad died in a house fire at a young 28 years old. It was an electrical fire and there were several people in the house. Chad and another friend were in the basement of the home and didn’t make it out.
I never met Chad. Brian came into my life later that year but we didn’t start dating until several years later. Although I never met Chad, I feel like I know him. He is talked about frequently in the family and his mom, Bonnie, dad, Ronnie and sister, Annie work hard to keep his memory alive and vibrant. This annual celebration and fundraiser also helps build awareness and needed funds for the fire department. In November of 2011, I visited Chad’s grave for the first time. Brian’s uncle had died and we were burying John. After the burial, every member who attended John’s funeral stopped at Chad’s grave to smile, cry and remember.
I think Chad would have more fun than anyone at our St. Patrick’s celebration! It’s an amazing weekend to raise money, be a bit Irish and remember a loved one. So you know what we have planned for this weekend and many years to come. Happy St. Patrick’s to you all, Irish or not!!