I really wanted to go. Well, that’s not entirely true. I really wanted to be invited.
But I didn’t really want to go. I wanted to stay in New York. They have bacon sandwiches at Langan’s -- Irish bacon sandwiches. Even though I’ve been a vegetarian since last September -- well, that’s not true either -- I’m a pescetarian, which means I eat fish (fish and vegetables, and one ham sandwich, accidentally consumed at my mother’s wake in January – it tasted so good) -- this St. Patrick’s Day, I was planning on a bacon sandwich. After six months of diligently dieting my cholesterol is still high – higher than it was when I ate hamburgers, and all I can think of since I heard the news last Friday is a steak.
But, I digress. I really wanted to be invited to the White House.
For 25 years, I’ve been editor and co-founder of Irish America. I put out a good magazine – lots of interesting stories about Irish hotties, case in point, Barack Obama. My Feb./Mar. issue has a great photo of our new president on the cover and a feature that tells all about his roots and more besides, including how our Kilkenny architect, James Hoban built the White House using slave labor -- his favorite slaves, mind you.
During the Clinton years -- I was at the White House St. Patrick’s Day party several times -- in fact, one year I was invited but I didn’t bother to go. Why go to Washington when the real party is in New York? There’s nothing like walking up Fifth Avenue with a fake Irish tattoo wearing a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirt and watching all those cops, and firefighters -- yummy!
President Bush, of course didn’t have a party.
But now Obama, who actually has said that Barack is an ancient Celtic name , is bringing the St. Patrick’s Day party back. And I’m not invited
How Irish does one have to be? Who else is on this list?
I was born and raised in Co Tipperary, a stone’s throw from Moneygall where Barack’s third great grandfather hailed from. And let us not forget Irish America
Is Anna Wintour going to be there? Does she do an Irish Vogue?
Taking the advice of a friend who says, ‘never wait for an invitation,’ I lobby Ambassador Michael Collin. I’ve known Michael since he was first secretary at the Irish Consulate General in New York in 1985 -- now he’s the Irish Ambassador in Washington.
Michael emailed saying it “looked hopeful.” But all that arrived was the consolation prize -- an invite to the Ambassador’s party. Thank you Michael.
Plan B: If I’m not going to the White House – perhaps my magazine can make an appearance.
I shoot an e-mail to Ellen Moran, Obama’s Director of Communications at the White House offering to provide Obama issues for the St. Patrick’s Day party.
Moran is, according to her assistant who asked her on my behalf, “almost all Irish-American,” and as such, is one of my Top 100, part of my Global 100 issue.
By way of introduction, I enclose in my e-mail, a letter from President Clinton in which he professed his appreciation for Irish America.
I received and appreciated your articles. I did my best.
Sorry you got grief from the Republican crowd.
Moran worked on Hillary’s campaign and I thought enclosing the letter from Bill would get her attention. But alas, not a beep of a reply -- no e-mail saying: Dear Patricia: You must, must attend our party and bring lots of magazines – we’re having a loads of Chicago Irish this year (pay back and all that) but there’s always room for one more authentic Irish person, especially if that person happens to be the editor and co-founder of Irish America!
So, my friends, on St. Patrick’s Day, I will be where I really want to be -- where I was meant to be -- in New York City. It’s always been a lucky place for me. I’ll don my four-leaf clover. I’ll have a bacon sandwich at Langan’s Pub – walk a few blocks up Fifth Avenue, maybe even shake hands with Cardinal Egan, or the new Cardinal, Timothy Dolan, in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, exit the parade at Bergdorf Goodman’s where my friend Marilyn will have a table by the window in the restaurant on the seventh floor, share a laugh with a couple of good friends over my White House lobbying efforts, and watch the parade continue on up Fifth Avenue without me.