'Oh, Danny Boy, oh Danny boy I love you so', but not in Southie and NOT in the St. Patrick's Day parade.
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author's program note. Have you ever been to South Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade? It is at the best of times a pitiable thing, ramshackle, disorganized, still smelling of the mother load that Billy O'Sullivan barfed on Monseigneur Murray last year as he bent down to bless the laddie, age 38 and unemployed.
No one was particularly surprised, including the Monseigneur who always knew the O'Sullivans were a bad lot... but they are County Clare Irish, their father a reliable campaign worker (his record five votes in a single day), and (it's important to inform you) didn't tell the world what happened when the twins were apple-cheeked altar boys at St. Matt's...
That's a comfort to his eminence, although his lawyers told him to pony up $60,000 for each of them because he loved them not wisely but too well. Hallelujah. And, yes, they'll be marching in the parade, wearing their new store-bought duds. They even chipped in for something for Billy since the ones he wore last year are encrusted with dull green puke and stink to high Heaven.
Ordinarily no one would mention it but, as I said, they're from the County Clare O'Sullivans who have standards to maintain. They'll be a gay sight to see, and their poor mother (who's still paying for the bail money) will be so proud to hear them break into uneven song just for her...
She hopes it won't be "I'll take you home again, Kathleen/ Across the ocean wild and wide... The roses all have left your cheek/ I've watched them fade away and die". (Thank God, she's just got time for a concealing facial. Trixie is such a treasure. She's always so good at removing the dead skin cells... at least most of them. Such a pity she's cross-eyed and misses a patch or two. Still what a bargain at just $25... though she says her price will double if she ever gets her license. No fear of that. She's 70 now if she's a day.)
Such a serenade it will be. It's sad most of the boys singing are missing their front teeth, a combination of hockey pucks gone astray and punches from the O'Malley's. In truth they shouldn't have called their cousin Fiona a whore, though if the truth be told... Still, the Christian way is to say nothing and hope that Father Pat can give her some good solid advice before this baby ends up in the Home for Little Wanderers like her last one. Who finally admitted paternity in that case anyway?
Oh, yes, now I remember. That would be Jimmy Hennessey, who set the record for most AWOL days in the USMC. It was said, but never proved, that he had girls in every port. He told me right on this very porch he always kept the lights out when he had visitors of the female persuasion so they couldn't see all his tattoos and figure out where they stood in the pecking order.
The first one saying "Rosita" was the biggest and as he added the girlies he cut the size. I shouldn't tell you where the most recent was engraved... he said he could only fess up if he had another brew or two... I gave him the bottles of course, not to see mind, but only out of courtesy. I looked... then I had to look away. It was D-I-S-G-U-S-T-I-N-G .He told me he'd be marching in the parade... then laughed and showed me his tattered underwear. "I'm charging 50 cents per view." He would. (OMG how I love my neighborhood and all the good people within it... they make our parade the best ever and everywhere).
Old French Proverb, hence unknown in the Emerald Isle. The old guard obstructs, blocks, embarrasses, dies. But it never thinks and never surrenders. Their's is the most foolish consistency of the littlest minds.
For over 20 years now the people of Southie have done everything they could to keep the wrong sort of people as far away from them and their civic endeavors as possible. They wanted a parade that showcased their adamant (Roman Catholic) family values, their local and vocal celebration and veneration of St. Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland, and the evacuation of the British fleet and army from Boston in 1776.
These disparate factors come together once every year to create a humdinger of an event... bigger and better every single year. And still pure as the driven snow. No preverts, if you catch my meaning. Of course my little signs have helped a lot, "No preverts need apply!" I've dished out at least 100 but only to my lace-curtained friends and neighbors. They cost good money after all.
Brother Thomas Dalton's true colors.
This year the forces of Sodom and Gomorrah made a concerted attack on the parade. Since last year at this time they had gained a very significant supporter in his newly elected honor Mayor Martin Walsh. Walsh is as Irish as they get but he knows that preverts walk nowadays in every city's parade but two, and he wants New York to be the last one standing, habited in shame and prejudice. Thus, he made a major effort to get them a place and bury the problem.
For an instant, but only for an instant, his round-the-clock endeavors paid off. The parade organizers at The South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, with their personal pitbull John J. "Wacko" Hurley in the vanguard, agreed to let gays and lesbians march, so long as they wore no identification, no badges, no tell-tale insignia. It was insulting, of course, discriminatory, and demeaning. Nobody liked this compromise which may have been the surest indicator that it was the best that could be achieved just now.
Unfortunately the bigot brigade, which never slept during these tumultuous negotiations, immediately sent in one of their dimmest bulbs, Bro'. Thomas Dalton, Principal of the Immaculate Heart of Mary school in Harvard, Massachusetts. He pulled the school's marching band out of the parade saying he couldn't allow his petted darlings within a country mile of anyone "condoning the homosexual lifestyle." Thus, with a whiff of the Inquisition this uneducated educator made his unenlightened opinion known... and the agreement fell apart, disgust and finger-pointing from every side.
Was that completely unacceptable outcome absolutely necessary? Certainly not! As an internationally known management consultant, I offer a better way, a thinking-outside-the-box way, a way that will solve this pesky problem... with the extra advantage that it leaves Manhattan and its biased practices in the trash. Delicious.
Dr. Lant's idea for solving this problem now.
We have all wasted enough ink on this situation. Let's solve it now, people.
"Wacko" Hurley and company would prefer no homosexuals walking the parade route. But given enough mayoral arm twisting, they would probably re-accept the deal they originally offered and then withdrew.
Gay rights organizations understandably want total equality, absolutely no hint of condescension and moral disapproval. Political realities being what they are, they'll have to hold their noses and take the original offer with as much grace as possible... always remembering that this grand presentation I'm here recommending ensures maximum worldwide publicity and an eye-opening response from the recalcitrant and mulish organizers.
Hurley says no badges or insignias or political statements of any kind. No problem. Thus, position a bevy of frilly drag queens at the front, two holding a big sign saying "Oh, Danny boy."
Six examples of pulchritudinous beefcake should follow, dressed in green jock straps, broad green ribbons, and leprechaun hats with pointed ears. Nothing else except for "Erin Go Bragh" artfully engraved in bright green on the right buttock. These boys, tap dancing, will from time to time open like shamrocks at sunrise... only to reveal this scenario.
Billy O'Sullivan naked as the day he was born kneeling before a picture of Brad Pitt singing the ultimate Irish lyric...
"And I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow"/Oh, Danny boy... I love you so!" Given what Billy's packin', it's easy to see why... and there won't be a dry eye in the house, which is just as it should be.
"Danny Boy" is one of the most famous and affecting songs in the world. It is a ballad written by English songwriter Frederic Weatherly (1913). It is usually set to the Irish tune of the "Londonderry Air." It was recorded in 1915 by the celebrated vocalist Ernestine Schumann-Heink who gave its simple words their soaring majesty. Go now to any search engine and find the version you prefer from so many notable alternatives.
Since its release people have argued about its meaning. Is it a parent singing for a child off to the Great War with its sickening casualty lists? Or is it about another leaving the profound beauty of Ireland, so easy to admire and break your heart? What matter? It is a song of love, however given, wherever needed. As such one man should indeed sing it to another whenever his love is ardent and true, whether he be straight, gay, or anything else.
Dr. Jeffrey Lant, Harvard educated, started writing for publication at age 5. Since then, he has published over 1,000 articles and 63 books, and counting.