It was Sunday morning, March 15. Although it was cold, the sun was brilliant – a typical day in mid-March, and reasonably favorable weather for the St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade. But the Parade had been cancelled because of the feared depredations of the Coronavirus plague, which has turned into a pandemic. And make no mistake. This cancellation was justified, because Coronavirus is highly contagious and can be lethal, especially to older people. Even so, South Boston’s spirit came through, and in our own quiet but hearty, heartwarming way, we celebrated our unique double holidays – St. Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day (America’s first ever military victory).
Vendors of Irish goods, which were emblazoned with Southie Irish insignia and even the word “Canceled”, installed temporary pop-up shops all along Broadway and Dorchester Street. Multiple splashes of green glowed in the sunlight. An impromptu motorcade gathered in the parking lot at Castle Island even though Sully’s was closed. The motorcade proceeded along East and then West Broadway, carefully obeying all of the traffic rules along the way. Even though the honking of the car horns couldn’t come close to matching the music of marching bands, it was a joyful sound. The colorful motorcade, which had gotten longer, returned back up Broadway to its original assembly point on Castle Island. Southie spirit was really on display. Many South Boston residents went out for a walk, just to enjoy the sunshine without the Parade. A lot of them wore green. Sure, we missed the Parade, but our spirits were emphatically positive and joyful.
Well, that was Sunday. Today, March 17, a chilly mixture of snow and rain greeted us early in the morning. And, we heard that Tom Brady is leaving us: “My football journey will take place elsewhere.” Oh well, be of good cheer. As you read this, Spring is on its way; it will arrive late this evening. And South Boston’s spirit still lives.