...to the grand tradition of Saint Patrick's Parade Weekend in Westhampton Beach? It used to be... upon personal recollection... a blast!
I would start celebrating... now-a-days it's called "partying..." Friday evenings at 111-113 Main Street where, like that celebrated scene in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" as the flock steadily gathered onto the pipes of the jungle gym, the warmer weather regulars would straggle into Magic's and The Dodger to belly up to the bars.
Firm grips and manly abrazos were exchanged, tales told and in the background Maddog Harry Maddox thundered on his 12-string as adult beverages freely flowed.
The next day it was back to Magic's (or The Patio) for coffee/Irish Coffee/beer (check one or more) then in quick succession, corned beef, cabbage & boiled potatoes, the parade (the high point of which was The Cooks & Bakers, later the Coneheads), Club Marakesh, and then up to Wilson's Garage.
The entitety of the experience was enveloped in a blur of suds and foam, green shamrocks and Oirish tartan and many drum and pipe bands.
It was great, and much fun was had, if not by all, then certainly by me and thems what trekked out to stay with me for the occasion!
Problem was, it began taking me longer and longer to recover from the annual rite of mid-March, and there came a time when I was still feeling rocky on Wednesday, and determined that I had to scale back the breadth, and accordingly the length, of my participation.
Came then the sad realization that the hardest core of the celebrants were, if'n one wasn't keeping pace with them, acting like idiots!
(Ergo: if I had been keeping pace, I would have been acting like an idiot as well!)
That's what happened with me... but what the hell has happened to Westhampton Beach?
All my chums and clients in the local retail liquor industry (the bar business) used to look at parade day as the way to, if not catch up after the slow Winter, at least serve as a bridge to Memorial Day weekend.
But how many are left here to benefit from the event?
Marakesh is long gone, as is Jack Lyons' Merrick Inn. Magic's and The Dodger have been shuttered for several years now, and Wilson's/Casey's stands a shell, awaiting razing.
(And for her part, Sandy Patterson doesn't care to open The Post Stop Café early for just this weekend, taking the moral position that let those who've ridden out the Winter, benefit.)
But at this point, cui bono?