Wednesday, March 15, 2006



Our St. Patty's parade happens a couple weeks into Lent, just as everyone is weaning themselves from Mardi Gras, a sort of hair-of-the-Carnival-dog-that-bit-us. It has two notable features:
  1. It is the sloppiest damn parade you could ever imagine, stretching on for hours with rambling bunches of tuxedo-wearing, flower-giving men and the occasional cluster of floats. This is presumably because everybody involved is stupid-drunk.
  2. In addition to the typical throws, beads and the like, they also throw soup fixings: cabbage, carrots, onions, and potatoes (occasionally a male rider will give a cucumber to a lady he particularly fancies - so charming).
Throwing cabbages from floats is a dangerous game. Every year I hear that they're going to be banned, but every year they're still being thrown. I've personally been involved in or witnessed two serious cabbage-events.

When Louise was just a baby, we went to a party at a friends house with a balcony right over the route. Midway through the afternoon we settled Louise down on the couch in the living room for a nap, and I sat next to her, lazily staring out the floor to ceiling windows. At some point I thought, "I really hope a cabbage doesn't come through one of those." About five minutes later a cabbage came through one of them, spraying Louise and me with a fine mist of shattered glass. Louise woke up screaming, and we spent the next hour picking shards off of her and me. Luckily nobody was actually hurt.

The next year we were watching it at a different location, from the street level. One of the float riders was gesturing to a couple of guys on a balcony about 40 feet away. They indicated they were ready to make the catch. The rider hurled the cabbage in a sort of vegetable Hail Mary. It went way wide and clocked a completely unaware woman square in the side of the head. She dropped down, out of sight below the balcony railing. A minute later she wobbled up and gave a boozy, concussive "It's all good" wave.

This year I saw no serious incidents although June did take a potato (pictured above) to the ankle late in the day.

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