Itís not easy to admit, but Iím the human equivalent of a canine mutt. My ancestors were obviously on the loose side, sleeping with anybody and everybody. As far as I know, they kept their wanderings confined to the European continent, but also managed to cross the English Channel for some fun and games.
     Consequently, Iíve got a lot of different continental European blood in me, along with a good dose of English lineage. But the only heritage that is really close to my heart, especially with St. Patrickís Day coming next week, is my beloved 1/4 Irish part.
      I may be a mutt, but at least I could explain why my nose was so red and why I always felt like singing when I drank too much.
     That is, until the other day when I was informed by my mother that I was no longer Irish.
     "What do you mean Iím not Irish," I cried. "Youíre Irish." Then it dawned on me. "Oh, my God. Iím adopted!"
     She patted my hand gently as I checked her facial features, looking for some resemblance. "No, dear, youíre not adopted. Itís just that your sister has been researching our family tree, and sheís discovered that my great-great grandfather wasnít Irish after all."
    "What was he?" I asked with some trepidation, still in shock over losing my beloved Irish heritage.
     My mother took a deep breath (for a woman in her 80ís) and dropped her head slightly. "Welsh."
     "Youíve got to be kidding me?" I answered. "Welsh? Welsh? How frigging boring is that? Canít we at least pretend he was Scottish? No one wants to be Welsh. I donít know anyone who has even been there."
     She was back to patting my hand. "Wales is a beautiful part of the British Isles," she said softly.
     "Have you been there?"
     "Not yet. But maybe Iíll go soon."
     I wasnít buying it. I donít know much about Wales, but Iím guessing itís a lot like Oakland. There is no there there. One moment I was from the Emerald Isle, the next moment I was from a windswept, rocky outpost where the most famous person was some writer whose name escapes me. Talk about a bad day.
    I left my mother and my Irish eyes were certainly not smiling, primarily because they were no longer Irish. St. Paddyís day was just around the corner, but I wasnít planning on any celebration.
    Foremost on my mind, though, was that I had to tell my children they were no longer Irish. I was hoping they could handle the news better than me.
    First up were my two teenage sons. "I have bad news for you boys," I told them over dinner the other night. "Youíre not 1/8 Irish like Iíve always told you."
    One of them immediately high-fived the other. "Yes!" said the 17 -year-old. "I knew we were part black. Thatís awesome."
    "No," I replied, tempering their enthusiasm. "You have no African-American blood. Youíre Welsh."
    "Whatís a Welsh?" asked the 16-year-old.
    I didnít bother explaining. It was too depressing. My strapping young Irish lads were now descended from boring old Welsh goat-herders. Anyway, it was time to break the news to my two twenty-something daughters.
    The girls had always wanted to be Jewish, ever since their best friends in elementary school celebrated Christmas for 8 straight days. Or as they called it, Hanukkah. But as they entered the bar scene when they turned 21, they realized being Irish had its advantages, especially on St. Patrickís Day. This was going to be hard for them
    "What do you mean weíre not Irish?" one of them said when I informed them of the devastating news. "What about Momís side?"
    Oops. I forgot about the other half. But my wife is French-Canadian (never could make up her mind---what is it, French or Canadian?) and I was pretty sure she didnít have a drop of Irish blood in her. She certainly didnít like to sing after quaffing a few pints.
    I asked her when she got home. "Yep," she replied triumphantly, "1/8th Irish, through and through. Irish blood is still flowing through our family, thanks to me."
    Sheesh. Everybody was Irish except me. St. Patrickís Day will never be the same. Instead of wearing green, Iíll be wearing Welsh colorsógrey and darker grey.

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