The Crowe’s Nest

St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day in America has become a great day of shamrocks, binge drinking and hoping you don’t wake up praying to the porcelain god. I am not even sure most people really know the reason they raise their glass in honor of Saint Patrick anymore. Odds are most are like I was when I was younger, and just like the whole idea of drinking and having a great green time.

I know that my 21st year of life I didn’t know what I know now.  I knew that being a March baby, I was going to use it to continue on with my March 14th celebration.  I thought of it as an extended party bringing me into adulthood.There I was in all my glorious green splendor, ready to go about town getting free green beer. The night started out great. We were to have dinner at Bennigan’s Bar and Grill, then head out to several bars that were supporting the great holiday of gluttony. I had on my favorite silver pentacle, wearing it proudly trying to be the out of the closet witch.

Being of Irish decent, as well as having a personal kinship to Bennigan’s, my friends and I had a booth that we always sat at. As I sat my bottom down, I noticed that someone was staring at me with contempt on her face. I couldn’t possibly think of what I did to upset this raven-haired woman. I hadn’t bumped into her before we sat because she was almost finished with her food. I didn’t sneeze in her general direction, and I know I didn’t smell, so my odor was not offending her delicate sensibilities.

Now, I know I get looks often. Being in the middle of the “Bible Belt” you are not friend of the Lords if you wear a pentacle. You are Satan’s spawn. Demons from hell come to play havoc on the good people of Earth. So someone looking at me like I just killed their favorite puppy was nothing new. However, it is usually from some little old lady wearing a cross or a deacon of some church. The woman staring at me now sported her own pentacle and her aura felt like home, so I couldn’t understand what was wrong with her.

Little did I know, she was going to inform me of her problem.

Now, just a little bit about me, I am not great with confrontations. I am way too much of a hippy to handle people yelling at me, or treating me bad because I upset them. So my breathe caught as she sauntered over to me. I was scared. Not that she would hurt me or anything, but I wanted to know what I did to upset her and it scared me that I could hurt someone like that or make them so angry.

“You are the worst pagan ever!” she blurted out to me.

WHAT!? This was certainly new. Someone telling me that I am the worst pagan, not griping because I was one. How could I be the worst pagan ever? This complete stranger knew nothing about me or my spirituality other than I wore a pentacle around my neck.

“Excuse me?” I asked, completely unaware still at how she could come up with that conclusion.

She explained, “You are a horrible pagan. You sit there in your green, getting ready to celebrate the death of pagans and druids all over Ireland and then you wear a pentacle. You disgust me.”

I was absolutely flabbergasted. I had no idea what she was talking about. As she walked away I looked at my friends in shock over what she said. What death of pagans and druids? I couldn’t understand what was going on.

Every year I think of that woman. If it weren’t for her casting a hasty judgment on me, I wouldn’t have the knowledge I have now. Oh, don’t worry, I still wear green and drink (well on occasion) on Saint Patrick ’s Day, but I don’t do it for him. I do it because I am a happy pagan and I love to see how many more come out of the woodworks every year. I drink in memory of those that died for their spirituality and for those that are completely oblivious of what the truth is behind St Paddy’s day. I drink to gather with friends.

Now, I do drink something different though.  I think it is better to honor our sisters and brothers by bringing in a drink that is both irish and definately an aquired taste.  Those that love it, LOVE it. The ones that don’t can’t stand the smell. The recipe I am going to give you though is very easy and is great tasting as well. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has. I plan on making this month and I hope somewhere around the world in a few months, we can all toast one another.

This is a very easy recipe and makes 1 gallon, so you will have plenty to share. Now, do note that it takes a few months to ferment and settle. The beautiful thing about this mead is that you can rack it off of all the oranges and raisins any time you want to or you can just leave it in. When it sinks to the bottom you can drink it or you can bottle it. Remember that if you let it age a couple more months, it will be even better. That is what I do.  Now, simply mix all the following ingredients. After that, pitch your yeast. It is simple as that.

1 gallon of Spring Water

Yeast: Fleishcmanns (1 packet)

25 Raisins

1 Cinnamon stick

1 whole orange, sliced and peels included

1 pinch of allspice

1 pinch of nutmeg

3 1/2 pounds of clover honey

1 whole clove