Kiss Me, I’m Irish

As everyone knows, the United States is the largest melting pot on Earth. Those of us whose families have been around for a long time have histories tied to many different nations and ethnicities. My mother’s ancestors are from England, Scotland, and Ireland. My grandfather told us his grandmother was full-blooded Irish. We have records of my mother’s family in America as early as 1745. My father’s family, on the other hand, was from Eastern Europe and only came here at the turn of the Twentieth Century.

Growing up, my brother and sister and I thought of ourselves more as Irish than anything else. I think that was because we all looked like our mother who talked about her Irish heritage so often, and my father liked to talk about the little Irish girl he married. That all changed for me when I married a Ukrainian from a big family. Fiercely proud of their Ukrainian and Belarussian roots, that’s all I heard at family gatherings. My Irish roots couldn’t compete. It didn’t help that none of my kids got my red hair and freckles. They all took after their dad with his dark good looks.

We ate Ukrainian food and listened to Ukrainian music. My children thought of themselves as Ukrainians. Helloooo! They had a mother, too, you know. The Ukrainian culture was so strong, it trumped my Irish heritage. But as Dylan so eloquently said, “The times, they are a’changing.” Now that we’ve moved close to my brother, who incidentally married a full-blooded Irish girl named Kathleen, there is strength in numbers. Now in my house we listen to Irish music, I’m making corned beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick’s Day next week, and I just ordered my bodhran, a traditional Irish drum. I’ve been practicing drum patterns for jigs and reels and hornpipes, using a bundle of bamboo shish kebab skewers and a cork placemat in preparation for getting my drum in a few days. I plan on sitting in at the local pub on Irish music night when the pick-up group arrives.

So, I hope my children read this because I’m putting them on notice. You’ve thought of yourselves as Ukies long enough. You also have Irish blood running through those veins of yours. And to my daughter-in-law who hails from Belarus and thought she married a Ukie-Belarus mix, I have news for you, Lassie. You married an Irishman.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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33 Responses to Kiss Me, I’m Irish

  1. I’m not Irish at all, however my brother-in-law in 100%. Both of his parents have been gone for years, but one thing hangs on…Irish Soda Bread. His mother made the most amazing soda bread in the world. I have yet to find anything close, but enjoyed looking. Just yesterday my sister finally parted with the recipe…I may just have to give it a try. Honestly though, I think the secret is in the quality of the ingredients that just don’t exist anymore. Her bread had raisons the size of prunes! Do you make Irish Soda Bread? I think George would enjoy it with his coffee.

    • Coming East says:

      I have not made it, LWTTD, but my thoroughly Irish sister-in-law makes it all the time and it is delicious. I make sourdough. Does that count? What if I put raisins in it?

  2. Well…it’s only fitting you spell your name O’Katy!

  3. pattisj says:

    I see after you got all your painting done you start picking on poor George! 😉 I’m glad it’s a friendly rivalry.

  4. Mark says:

    So, Susan O’Katy, greetings from your brother and his Irish wife Kathleen. We bought our corned beef and cabbage yesterday but will have to make it next week before we visit you.

    • Coming East says:

      Glad to hear that, Irish Brother. It will be good when you and the fair Kathleen visit so we can have more Irish blood in the house. George doesn’t stand a chance.

      • Mark says:

        I will bring you some Irish Bread! The secret to plump raisins is to soak them in water for a few minutes. Then drain them before you add to the dough. No foolin’!

      • Coming East says:

        Water? Is that what a real Irishman soaks raisins in, dear sister?

  5. Al says:

    It’s going to be hard to pronounce O’Okaty.

  6. Elyse says:

    That’s no blarney!!! Good for you.

  7. Dianna says:

    Well, my maiden name was McGuriman – mom always said it was Scotch-Irish, but we have records where my dad’s ancestor came over from Glasgow. So I guess there was more Scotch than Irish.
    Good for you: taking back your roots!! And Happy St. Pattie’s Day next week. I’ll be a-wearing green.

  8. Irishmen rock!!! I am second generation American on my mother’s side (maternal grandfather from Scotland, maternal grandmother learned to walk on the boat coming across from Ireland). Third generation American on my father’s side (Great grandfather from County Cork, Great grandmother from the Black Forest). I am half Irish and very, very proud of it… It is the dominant theme of all family gatherings. My hubby is heinz 57 on his father’s side and 110% French on his mother’s. My daughters traveled to London and Paris a few years back. While in London, they took my youngest as an Irish lass, while in Paris they thought my oldest was a native. So, we each have one of our native looks. I look Irish, freckles, pale skin and had auburn hair. Happy St Patrick’s Day a bit early!!!

  9. Nice to have the cultures blending! Food and music are great ways to bring people to together.
    Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  10. Very fun! I too am a mix of English, Scottish and Irish but with the name “Molly Kate” and a pile of curly hair I always felt Irish. Top o’ the morning to ya!

    • Coming East says:

      Haha, Molly Kate. Great name! Our married name is Okaty, but my brother and sister-in-law always send us a Saint Patrick’s Day card with it spelled O’Katy. Works for me!

  11. mairedubhtx says:

    Funny how the Irish seem to rise to rise to the top! Our little bit of Irish always did. My grandmother’s Irish mother always trumped her German father, in stories, in traditions. We’re proud of our heritage, in our Irishness, small though it is. Glad you are too. We have the red hair and freckle though.

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