Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bligh Me! Bagpipes & Blooming Onions!

I appreciate the fact that there are few things in life my husband enjoys more than sitting under a giant white tent on a nice day drinking a cold Budweiser and listening to Irish music.  If there is a heaven, I am sure that Jesus and Joe will be belting out The Fields of Athenry in perfect harmony with a couple of cold ones wrapped in cousin Kate's Hanukkah beer coolies in the hereafter.  This is why I try to block out Memorial weekend for Gaelic Park's annual Irish Fest.  We have been going together since we were dating, and Joe went for many years before we even met.  It is the very least I can do for the man I saddled with three kids, a wife who can't cook, and a father-in-law who only refers to him by his last name.

For several years, I went somewhat unwillingly.  Often uncomfortable in the final months of pregnancy and toting kids back and forth to port-a-potties, I became a bit of a shrew.  Some wives might have fallen into the permanent role of long-suffering martyr.   Instead, my inner Scarlett O'Hara finally made an appearance.  So when it came to the morning of Gaelic Park's 25th annual Irish Fest this past Monday, I had the babysitter lined up, my coffee with Bailey's ready to go, and money for a blooming fried onion and funnel cake stashed in my purse.

My husband looked surprised when I told him to go pick up the babysitter.

Joe:  Aren't we taking the kids?

Me:  Oh fiddlee-dee-dee.  Kids, kids, kids.  All this talk about kids is spoiling my spring.  I get so bored I could scream.

Joe:  ....uh, does that mean no?

Me: I can't think about this now.  I'll think about that tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day.

Joe (rifling through the perscription drug cabinet for clues): So you want me to get the babysitter or no?  

Me:  Great balls of fire!  Don't bother me anymore.  And don't call me Sugar!

With that, we were off.  No little boys to fight over rides, demand ice cream, or insist they had to pee the moment our favorite band came on.  

Upon arrival, my husband the foodie did a walk-through of the various booths without buying anything.  He commented on each new vendor and added menu options over last year.  He was like the Rainman of Irish Fest.  We stopped in and listened for a while to the great music of Tartan Terrors and Milwaukee's Sandcarvers

With a 90 degree day and the sun beating down on us, we decided to take a stroll over to the beer tent.  For the 3rd year in a row, I was stopped and asked for an I.D.  I merrily agreed, happy to point out that I was pushing 40 and appreciated being carded.  My husband rolled his eyes, so I of course had to point out that I was merely a trophy wife to my much much older husband (2 years 1 month).  To commemorate the moment, I took a picture of our banded and unbanded wrists.

After bumping into a few people we knew and comparing headliner options, we had to make the tough call between the Larkin & Moran Brothers and Gaelic Storm.   I had seen the Larkin & Moran Brothers recently at a local fundraiser,  so we opted for Gaelic Storm.  I only recently discovered that Gaelic Storm is the Irish band playing music below deck in the movie Titanic.  They put on a great show.  In an interesting twist, the band that played right before Gaelic Storm vowed to donate half of all CD proceeds to breast cancer research.  Not to be outdone, Gaelic Strom announced mightily...

100%...yes....100% of all proceeds from sales of our CDs and t-shirts will go directly to....US! We're keeping it all.  God bless America!

And that is how you have a great time without children on a hot spring day.


  1. This year, get that babysitter back and come up to Milwaukee for Summerfest! Many more bands (some of them may even be Irish), great food, lots of beer and a plethora of candidates for the game of "That's Your Boyfriend"! Rada

  2. I love "that's your boyfriend!" I gotta tell you, as much as I like Gaelic Park, it doesn't compare to the grounds at Milwaukee's Irish Fest. We were walking in muddy rocks wearing flip-flops on Saturday and the vendor booths were like rivers. Milwaukee does have a distinct advantage on several fronts. Plus that's where we ditched Joe on our first "date" so I could hang w/ my Milwaukee girl. Good times, good times.

  3. Did you wear curtains? :D


  4. ...with the rod hanging right through....

  5. Heard a live pub performance of the Fields of Athenry while in Ireland, and afterwards, the singer told me the whole story about the song.

    To this day it remains one of my favorite Irish tunes. "Four Green fields" is a close second.

    For your readers who don't know what we're talking about, here's a link:

    O/T: Never went to Milwaukee since I assumed we'd be "Flash mobbed" by the denizens. Is it worth the drive? How would you rate Gaelic park vs Milwaukee Irish fest?

  6. Thanks, Rue! Love love love the song. Joe & I really like Milwaukee's Irish Fest the best out of all of 'em. Great bands, food, and grounds. Let us know if you guys will be making the trek!