When I mention St. Patrick’s Day to Uncle John,
now in a nursing home — mostly deaf, mostly
blind, almost completely sealed away now from
the cares that were his life, he pauses, then says,
“I never used to miss the parade, all those years,
but now…” He gestures with his hand and sighs,
the sigh we have all come to know so well.
I like to picture him, somewhere on 5th Ave., he’d
know just the right spot, by the Cathedral, as close
as he could get. He’d be wearing the hat he bought
in Donegal, the story of buying it still playing out in
his head, the smile it gives him on his face. They’d
march by, the faces, the music, all the green, and he’d
be home again, in his element, the city boy being
a part of the things, part of the family he loved.