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The flowers continue after marching season - hope, romance and remembering the past in New Jersey

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St Patrick's Day roses fade away as spring emerges in Jersey
St Patrick's Day roses fade away as spring emerges in Jersey


The white roses with the deep green tint I gave Honey Badger for Saint Patrick’s Day faded just a bit slower than our month-long Irish marching season here in New Jersey.

They stand dead now in the vase still looking romantic.

The parades are history, kept only in photos and stories as memories.

But the flowers go on.

Over Easter the lilies bloomed in a cold spring and in remembering the 1916 Irish Uprising. Some were flesh but many were metal sprouting from lapels.

Most we saw were displayed at the Easter Mass at the Pro-Cathedral of Saint Patrick in Newark.

The Brick City isn’t as Irish as it once was; as when my mother emigrated there from the County Mayo in the early 1960’s. Those days are only old stories, like memories of past parades.

You wouldn’t know it this recent Easter Sunday as the pipes and drums of the Sean McGonigal band from Kearny lead the procession of hundreds from Military Park down New Street past McGovern’s Bar and up to St. Patrick’s.
Easter Sunday procession
Easter Sunday procession

The church was standing room only. Downtown Newark was Irish again for a short while on a quiet Easter Sunday.

A beautiful Mass featuring a hopeful homily from a smart and kind priest about the new pope was followed by a reading of the Irish Proclamation.

“Irishmen and Irishwomen: In the name of God and of dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.”

The pride of history and tradition filled the air for the faithful romantics assembled.

The procession and the pipers then lead us from the church into a sunny afternoon outside.

Thereafter many of our lot found ourselves in McGovern’s in an almost St. Patrick’s Day atmosphere, a time when you reconnect with old friends you haven’t seen in ages.

Bill Scully, the mustached face of McGovern’s, was there to greet all through the door.

I have a soft spot for the place.

For if it wasn’t for Frank McGovern from the County Cavan and his tavern in Newark, New Jersey I wouldn’t be here now at all.

He was a brilliant matchmaker as well as a sound publican.

My parents met there on a New Year’s Eve many years ago, thanks be to God and thanks to Frank McGovern.

We Irish around here don’t forget any of it. As I don’t forget to get Honey Badger some fresh flowers for our new spring.

This week, while shopping for a new bouquet, news spread of the death of Baroness Thatcher who was discussed many a night in McGovern’s.

Honey Badger got something she doesn’t have to plant: red roses.

And Maggie Thatcher got dirt.

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