St. Patrick's Day, for the past 29 years, makes me think of my honeymoon. Javaczuk and I were married on the Eastern Shore of Maryland on the Ides of March, 1984. Through the workings of fate, my mother, brothers and their wives were all with us on our honeymoon (that's what happens when you sneak off to get married during a family reunion.) We were staying in some cabins on Ball's Creek, where it intersected Broad Creek (I kid you not.)
Two days after we wed, the family consensus was to head to Tilghman Island for a pretty renowned seafood place, sure to satisfy the oyster lovers in the family. And so, we set off and drove from our creek over to the island for a feast -- to Harrison's Chesapeake House -- on St. Patrick's Day.
So, at Harrison's, they were having a huge St Patrick's Day party. So huge, that they weren't sure they could accommodate our group of 5 Nadels and 2 Romanczuks. For while we covered a fair number of nationalities within that group (Ukrainian, Scottish, German, more Ukrainian, and some Hungarian) we didn't have any of the green in our heritage. As we turned to leave, my eldest brother threw his arm around my shoulder, and announced in a loud voice not to worry, little sister. We'd find somewhere else to celebrate the marriage.
Someone overheard him (as I'm sure was his intention), and we quickly found ourselves at a table, with a buffet of oysters, served 20 ways. Plus there were other delicacies: fresh shrimp, crab, fish, all from the Chesapeake Bay. We laughed and ate. Drank and ate. Toasted the new bride and groom and ate. Ate and ate. Sang along with the rather drunken band playing Irish tunes, and ate. People sent us drinks and toasted us some more. I made it through about 5 or 6 ways to have oysters, and then had to undo the button on my trousers and let the zipper out a little, so that I could breathe. I was totally stuffed to the gills with gills, and molusks, and other delights of the sea.
As I watched the room through a rosy glow of abundant food, drink, family, and love, the band leader came to our table. He said he wanted to offer us a toast. Javaczuk and I smiled at him. The fellow then hauled me to my feet, and pulled me to the center of the room with him, where he began a drunken toast, and an even more inebriated version of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling." The whole room sang along, toasting us, (my groom at the table with my family, and the oyster-filled bride, being clutched by a soused Irishman, in front of 100 people singing to her.)
And what was I doing? I was hoping my unbuttoned, unzipped trousers wouldn't tumble down. I am convinced they were held up by the miracle of St Patrick.