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Cottage Charm, Coastal Calm

COTTAGE CHEESE:A Dab and A Pinch

It’s Springtime, Tybee!  It’s about to be St. Patrick’s Day, ya’ll!

It’s time for green beer, green rivers, green fountains, green leprechauns, green everything.

Oh yeah.  And then there’s that whole “wear green or get pinched” thing.  Pinched.  Even now I wince.

Now, I like leprechauns as much as the next guy.  Heck, I believe in them just in case there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I am. if nothing else, an optimist…or gullible…either way it works for me.

Legend has it that you’re supposed to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day so that you’ll be invisible to those leprechauns.  If you don’t wear green they can see you and they’ll pinch you.  Pinched.  Another wince.

Wear green or get pinched.  Come to find out it’s not even an Irish thing.  St. Patrick chose the green three leaf clover as a way to explain and define the trinity.  God The Father, The Holy Spirit and The Son.  Irish soldiers wore green as a sign of rebellion at the start of the Irish Revolution.  Heck, in the very beginning green wasn’t even the official color of St. Patrick’s Day.  It was blue!  And, they never even did the whole pinching thing.  Pinched.   Another wince.

The wearing of the green or get pinched thing was an American invention.  Shucks, if I didn’t know better I’d swear my dear saintly mother started the whole thing.  My mother was not Irish and she was no leprechaun.  She was Southern Baptist.  That’s a whole different ball game than any mere cultural tradition.

You see, when you’re born in the deep south chances are you’re brought up in some type of religious environment.  For me, that meant I was part of a rural farm family where church was the social hub of the community.  We went to church every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, every Wednesday night and every time the church doors were opened.  We even had our own pew.  My grandmother sat on one pew.  My mother sat behind her.  I could sit on either pew, but there was a strict code of decorum no matter which one I occupied.  And, we’re talking Southern Baptist which meant they were hard wooden pews, too.  You ain’t being a good Christian if you’re comfortable during the service.

Then there’s the whole hellfire and brimstone sermons the preacher rained down on us poor sinners every time he took the pulpit.  Lucky for me I had already figured out by the time I was seven or eight years old the wages of sin he warned us about each week didn’t really apply to me.  I was just a kid.  I didn’t have a job or any way to make money so I was exempt from the tithing thing and I was too busy playing to be coveting anything my neighbor had and I never dared to show off  the cuss words I knew…at least not in front of anyone that would tell on me.

So, that meant while that preacher was bent on stepping on everyone else’s toes I was free to swing my legs, look around and day dream.   That is, so long as I limited my movements and didn’t draw attention to our pew.  My mother had perfect poise and dressed in her Sunday best and fully understood that her reputation as a good wife and mother was to be demonstrated by the prim and proper behavior of her children in church.  From time to time my day dreaming and  mind wandering would make me forget just where I was, but my mother had a sure fire way of bringing me back into the fold.  Without even uttering a word.  Never turning her head in my direction.  Her eyes would glare at me from the side of her beautiful face.  Her chin would tilt downward ever so slightly.  Drawing my eyes down towards her lap.  There it was.  Her right hand cocked into the shape of a claw.  A Pincher.  Coiled tighter than a rattlesnake about to strike.  Her thumb and finger clamping shut and then opening in rapid succession.  I was being warned.

Let me tell you.  Getting pinched by my mother was kind of like squeezing a tube of Brylcreem in hopes of taming the cowlicks that populated my hairline.  A little dab will do ya.  I quickly learned it was best to heed the warning.  If not, with lighting speed my mother could pinch the tar out of you, recoil and re-cock for another strike.  If I made even a whimper she’d yank me up, take me outside, dust my backside good and then usher me all the way back down the aisle to our pew.  She wasn’t having it.  It made a lasting impression.

So, ya’ll go ahead.  Tempt the fates and not wear green on  St. Patrick’s Day.  Get  pinched all you want.  It holds no fascination for me.  I’ll be surrounding myself with every shade of green in the universe.  Kelly green, grass green, lime, pistachio, mint, sea foam, dark green and light green.  I ain’t taking any chances, so I’ll even have teal, turquoise, aquamarine and every shade of green I see.

Lucky for me they’ve got em all over Tybee and the Mermaid Cottages are eat up with it, too!

It’s Irish Heritage Celebration, ya’ll.  It’s about wearing o’ the green.  It’s about life lessons.  It’s about showing respect for any house of worship, no matter what the religion.  It’s about remembering someone once loved and cared for me enough to make me behave.  It’s COTTAGE CHEESE!

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