Thursday 22 August 2019

Shrek the real hero of brilliant Patrick's parade

Wasn't it a great St Patrick's Day parade in Dundalk? Thousands lining the streets, great weather (for the time of the year of course) and a parade that was just awesome, the best ever. Fair play to all those involved, but a special, personal thank you goes from me to the person who was dressed up as the Dreamworks character Shrek and made my Wee Lad's day. Oh, and apologies for any injuries caused as a result of the encounter.

St Patrick's Day has always been a good occasion in our house - it's the first big day out since Christmas and the fact that the maw-in-law presents herself, resplendent in 40 shades of green every year, gives me the kick up the bum needed to get the spring cleaning started. She lives in Bangor, but is an Irish countrywoman at heart, having been born and bred in the wilds of West Clare. They don't do St Patrick's Day in Bangor-desh, (they're much more into the Twelfth) so she hops into the car with her other son, without fail, and heads for the motherland to get her dose of Irishness with us in Dundalk.

The day before March 17, I told the husband to put up the five metres of plastic tricolour bunting along with the plastic shamrocks, which he did, just to make the maw-in-law feel she was among her own, like.

The Wee Lad, of course, had himself worked into a frenzy, as he always does for any occasion whatsoever, no matter how slight. He was in a state of high excitement last Friday, for example, when 'dee-clips' was forecast, and even though he didn't see a thing he told everyone who would listen that the moon had blocked the sun only for him to engage them in a dubious dance of 'pretend you're the sun and I'm the moon'.

We got into town just before the parade started and the maw-in-law was very impressed with all the displays and floats and army personnel on show. The kids were delighted with the musical interludes and the fire engines, of course. They also loved all the dogs and horses that seemed to be more than happy to have kids pet them along the route. (If I don't behave myself in this life I have visions of being reincarnated as one of those poor animals and having kids pat me on the head all day!)

But the highlight of the parade for the Wee Lad happened when he spotted the Shrek fella, complete with impressive green rubber face, come marching up Park Street. His little face looked up at me expectantly and I said to him: 'Go over to him, that's fine'. The Wee Lad rushed over to the unsuspecting Shrek, grabbed him around the waist and hugged him for all he was worth. A good few people in the crowd who saw the encounter collectively 'aahhed' and bolstered by the boost in popularity, Shrek went to lift the Wee Lad up. But, as I have said many times before, the Wee Lad is on the sturdy side of stocky and poor Shrek ended up like an Olympic weight-lifter, and, surprised by the heftiness of the Wee Lad, could only get him waist high. But with dozens of eyes on him, and me secretly praying he wouldn't drop him, Shrek showed himself for the hero he is and used whatever strength he had left over to hoist the Wee Lad up to his face.

The Wee Lad, was, of course, delighted with himself, but he will never know how his 'sturdiness' probably put Shrek off the parade for life.

Irish Independent