There was no holiday or parade for St. Patrick’s Day in Western North Carolina, but it was the best personal celebration I could remember. Amy and I knew we were both having company and planned to share the day. John’s sister Chris and husband Steve came specifically to go with us to the Biltmore estate, as did Amy’s friends Mary and Tom. The plans were quite loose. We’d have dinner together in the evening.
As we waited at the shuttle stop to go to the mansion, three pairs of hands waved at us from inside the departing bus. We had semi-formal introductions as our groups met at the grand staircase, one going up and one down. Surely we wouldn’t see each other again. We did. There were more greetings in the garden shop when they had finished a picnic lunch, and we had not eaten. We were finishing ice cream treats at the creamery as they arrived. John and I had never before stopped at the last gift shop on the estate, but we clapped each other on the shoulder inside. Having met so often, we chatted like friends of long standing at the dinner table.
It should have been neighborhood day at the Biltmore. Neighbor Shawn said she saw us from the shuttle bus as we waited to follow her path. I didn’t know until we got home that she had been there, too. The other surprise to me was seeing a huge number of people wearing green. Shop owners here didn’t realize people would notice the day. There were a token number of decorative items and a mere mention of corned beef at the supermarket. Wake up people! We are more Irish in our hearts than you think!
I can’t begin to quote conversations from our dinner, but the recurring punctuation was laughter. I wished the evening would never end.