St. Patrick’s Day, Chicago

I wake up early. It’s Saturday, and it’s St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago. I’m at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue and Balbo, getting coffee at the hotel Starbuck’s. The cup is a little too full to walk it back to the elevator, even too full to put the lid onto it. Pour out just a bit to make life easier? You don’t know writers. First thing in the morning a writer would no more slosh out a centimeter’s worth of coffee than he would trim a bit from the length of his laptop’s power cord.

In come two Irish Rovers in their kilts and spats. They have 26 events scheduled today, 22 yesterday. I ask, “How far are you walking today?” With a boyish smile Patrick, who wears sergeant stripes, says, “Well, we like to call it marching. Some of them do call it walking, but that’s about what they do. We march.” It’s said in good humor. The voice isn’t Irish, it’s pure Chicago. They’re powering up for what’s ahead of them today. “We’ve led every St. Patrick’s Day parade since 1958.”

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