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Put on the green and celebrate the best holiday of all

March 31, 2014

By: Lynda Hollenbeck

Remember when "doing one's colors" was the big thing?
Personally, I thought the concept was ridiculous. Who in her right mind would actually give money to somebody to drape a bunch of fabric in varying shades around her face and say "you're a spring" or "you're a summer"?
This would be followed by such commentary as "you can wear red (or blue or yellow or purple, etc.) because it's in your palette."
This color analysis was a huge thing for a while. I never got into it because I said I was capable of doing my colors myself with just me and my mirror.
All I had to do was position myself for about 30 seconds in front of the looking glass and see that grey was ghoulish and green was good.
I don't make light of the fact that certain colors look better on different people. I just can't imagine paying someone else to tell me that.
Personally, I think a classic, tailored grey suit put together with the right accessories is a look that's hard to beat. Movie stars have been doing it for years. But wearing grey in any style on me is akin to immersing myself in a bath of concrete.
My complexion is transformed to the color of a street. If my hair were to become that shade, too, I would be the equivalent of a dead woman walking. It would be a scary sight indeed.
Spring tends to be associated with pastel shades, but I run from them also. I'm not a pastel person. That's for the "springs," not the "autumns," which is where the color analysts would put me. The vibrant shades are my friend.
But spring includes an event that brings my favorite color to the forefront: St. Paddy's Day. The "wearin' o' the green" is the day when we redheads can shine.
I love Alma Joyce Hahn and treasure her friendship, but I have to take issue with a point in her column today in which she says "about the only important event this month is the sale of Girl Scout cookies."
I'll have to forgive her for the transgression. I enjoy Girl Scout cookies as much as the next person, but for those of us with Irish roots, her comment about nothing important happening could be "fightin' words."
St. Pat's is one of the year's highlights for me and other Irish-American folk, and on Monday I will proudly pledge allegiance to my heritage.
An event that's become a tradition of several years for me has been to join friends Freddy and Brenda Burton in attending the "First Ever 11th (this year) Annual World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade" in Hot Springs. Once again we plan to make our trek to the Spa City to enjoy that delightful event that features many fun things, not the least of which is the march of the International Order of Elvi. (If you can read that and not at least smile, I will pray that the Irish fairies bless you with a sense of humor.)
Freddy, who also has an Irish background, says he "looked more Irish" when he was a kid because he had what his grandmother described as "orange hair." And now when he grows a beard, it will reflect that colorful past.
For several years, he's managed to sneak a spot onto a parade float and ride a short distance, just to show us that he could.
When my mother married my father, she announced to everyone that she planned to have "a redheaded little girl." As with most things, Mamma got what she wanted — at least in the years after she and Honey married. ("Honey" was the term of endearment I gave my father, which other relatives and all my friends used, too.)
My Irish heritage comes from my father, Paul Parnell. According to the tiny bits of genealogy we have, we know that the early Parnells came to America from the old country. A relative's account notes that one of our kin was serving in Irish parliament, but was kicked out.
Further details of the incident never have been revealed — but perhaps ignorance is bliss.
The red hair that Mamma decreed her child would have can be traced back to those early Irish folk.
I expected to pass it on to at least one of my progeny, but it didn't happen. The only trace of it that comes out occasionally is son Allen's beard when he goes that route.
But all of us can be happy on St. Paddy's Day and wear green to our hearts' content without anybody having to tell us "it's OK because it's in your color palette."
Someone once said that "everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day." I'll keep that thought in mind and
issue a special invitation to Alma Joyce to put on some green and become one of the clan.
The blarney is great.

Lynda Hollenbeck is senior editor of The Saline Courier.
lyndahol@yahoo.com

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