Sunday, March 16, 2008


For some reason this snapshot of my Dad's brothers and sister made me very lonesome. I guess, it is the informality of the image and how very much they were, as they are in my memory. It probably didn't help that the public television station in the background was playing sentimental Irish music.
L to R:
Francis (Frank), Lawrence (Uncle Buckie), William (Bill) and Julia (Fecht) Hogan.
Being "Irish" was an important part of being members of the family of Elizabeth Ann (Walsh) and William Charles Fecht. Although these folks were half Alsatian and half Irish, it was the Irish part that seemed to matter. This was no doubt reinforced by the Catholic priests at Saint Brendan Church in Mexico, Missouri, who were Irish. When I was a little boy, I thought God spoke Latin with an Irish accent.
On March 17th, there was a huge corned beef and cabbage dinner at the Saint Brendan church hall. Boiled potatoes, greasy corned beef, over-boiled cabbage (actually my mother Mildred over-boiled nearly everything.) Uncle Lawrence (Buckie) always prepared an elaborate practical joke. My dad smuggled in Irish whisky (not Bushmills, but real Irish whisky Jamesons.) Aunt Effie would bring parsnips and horseradish. Aunt Lena baked Irish soda bread. AND, most important! We got the day off from school, and the Lent abstinence from meat was suspended. Two days later, on the feast of Saint Joseph we had another school holiday. On the day between, the nuns took us to a nearby part to run around. They were smart enough to know that they wouldn't accomplish anything on March 18th.
My dad, Bill Fecht and my sister Genevieve would do Irish jigs after dinner. Aunt Meg (Margaret Fecht) and Uncle Gene Sullivan would dance the shoddish on Patty's night.
My wife Janne and I had big St. Patrick's Day parties for a long time, but since it comes right in the middle of tax season (Janne is a CPA) we look for a saint's day in late April to celebrate.

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