I am of Irish descent through both my mother and my father’s side of the family. Every St. Patrick’s Day my mind fills with memories of my paternal grandmother Cecile Margaret Catherine McKeon and her ever-present cookie jar from which we all sneaked cookies. Decades ago it was affectionately named Paddy Pig. I don’t know when Paddy joined our family, but I know he has been around since at least the early 1960’s.
Poor Paddy has taken a beating over the years. Though broken on numerous occasions, he’s always been patched back together so that the next generation can enjoy his happy smile and stay connected in some small way to the Irish roots we have.
As crudely patched as he is, he’s one of the family and no one can bring themselves to throw him away; he represents too much. He sits on a shelf in my kitchen now, but when I get him down and lift his head, I know I’m replicating the same action my relatives did for at least fifty years and it keeps their memories in my heart.
His broken, yet mended state of being is somewhat of a metaphor for life and the struggles we can face. Although our expectations are sometimes crushed and the people we draw near disappoint us, we are resilient, piece ourselves back together and forge ahead with the optimism of a new day and a new dream.
May you find some joy and inspiration in this happy little patched piece of porcelain on this St. Patrick’s Day and always.