Friendship In The Land Of The Shamrock

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"May your home be too small to hold all of your friends," goes an old Irish saying. Here in the Rim Country, friends, (of Irish descent for purposes of merrymaking, if not of actual heredity) will gather this week.

Their excuse?

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Clad in a green tinsel wig, Judy Mills serves up a hearty helping of corned beef to guests of Shepherd of the Pines' annual St. Pat's meal.

A celebration of that venerable soul, said to have driven all the wee snakes from the Emerald Isle.

We know him as St. Patrick.

St. Pat's bonny day falls on a Saturday this year giving us, one and all, more time to celebrate with family and friends, old and new... starting on Friday!

Irish fare for benefit

Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church will hold its annual corned beef and cabbage dinner from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, March 16.

What began 15 years ago as a fund-raiser with 60 people in attendance, has grown to a community event that serves a remarkable 300 people.

"We had so much fun we decided to keep doing it," Clayton Hatfield said. "It is a fellowship. There is no push to join the church. It is just an evening of good times and laughter."

"May you always have work for your hands to do" is another Irish saying.

More than 100 pairs of hands share in the work of serving plates of corned beef, cabbage, parsley potatoes, candied carrots and beverages for the event.

"The work is divided so everything goes smoothly," said Hatfield, who gets a kick out of cooking the beef with Bill Brandt, Larry Moore, Ken Haggit and Don Shreckengost.

"Seriously, I am thankful for the hard work everyone does," Hatfield said.

This year, Ella Hatfield is lining up the desserts that a couple of dozen women have whipped up. There will be Jell-O salads and cakes baked full of love and all sorts of tasty ingredients.

On Friday evening, people might not realize Todd Arnold is the leader of the flock.

"He is busy doing a bit of everything," Hatfield said.

(Arnold is a lanky man with a gentle voice, glasses, a beard and an ever-friendly smile.)

Service is usually speedy and takeout is available.

"If anyone goes home hungry, it's their own fault," Hatfield said.

A goodly portion of the money raised from the dinner will help pay off Shepherd of the Pines' new organ.

Celtic Cowboy Festival

Kohl's Ranch is holding Celtic Cowboy Festival with authentic Irish food and music.

The lovely Ivory will sing:

"Her smile warms my dreams ... ah!

"To think of her like a soft mist.

"One glimpse seen through dense hazel boughs;

"So like a shimmering sprite she would seem."

So go the lyrics to "Gentle Maiden" -- the melody is traditional Celtic tune, but Ivory wrote the lyrics.

Her audience can expect a wide variety of Celtic and Renaissance music, plus songs Ivory wrote that were inspired by long-ago eras.

Of course, as it is the day of green beer, Ivory will sing some favorite pub songs, such as this bit from The Rover:

"And it's No, Nay, never,

"No, nay never no more

"Will I play the wild rover,

"No never no more

"I took up from my pocket, ten sovereigns bright

"And the landlady's eyes opened wide with delight

"She says ‘I have whiskeys and wines of the best

"‘And the words that you told me were only in jest'"

Ivory may sing a couple of her other favorite pub songs, "Cold Blows a Rainy Night" and "Bedlam Boys."

"If I tell you how long I have been singing, I'll give away my age," Ivory said.

But pasted in her scrapbook is a picture of her at the tender age of 2, wearing a cast-off wig, singing into a toy microphone.

"My mother is 100-percent Irish and she sang all the time I was growing up," Ivory said.

Ivory has been singing commercial jingles for about a decade, she is part of the ensemble Celtic group Wild Thyme and has been writing her own music for 16 years.

"Singing makes me feel alive," she said.

Ivory can play the piano, hammered dulcimer, Middle-Eastern drums, the fiddle and the violin.

On Saturday night at Kohl's, Ivory will be accompanied by Don Harrington.

The two met when he judged Ivory in a dulcimer competition.

He told me, "Wow. You can sing and you have pulchritude."

(Try saying pulchritude, or even looking the word up in a dictionary after one toast too many at the pub.)

Ivory looked up the word (it means beauty) and the two have been friends ever since.

Ivory will fill out the evening of song at Kohl's with songs from her CD, "Gentle Maiden."

Other green-tinted celebrations

Elsewhere in the Rim Country there is dancing, food and fun to be had by the light of the moon.

Dancers can shake it up with the Groove Defenders on the Mazatzal Casino's dance floor.

Junction 87 will be playing at the Mogollon Steakhouse both Friday and Saturday night.

Kokomo will rock the night at Kelly's Saturday.

And, the Main Street Grill plans live entertainment on the patio Saturday.

These restaurants and bars have food and beverage specials.

Don't forget to add an Irish toast or three:

I drink to your health when I'm with you

I drink to your health alone

I drink to your health so often

I'm starting to worry about my own

And:

I have known many

Liked not a few

Loved only one

So this toast's for you

Then:

Here's to your coffin ... May it be built of 100-year-old oaks which we shall plant tomorrow

And last but not least:

St. Patrick was a gentleman, who through strategy and stealth

Drove all the snakes from Ireland, Here's a toasting to his health

But not too many lest you lose yourself and then

You forget the good St. Patrick and see those snakes again

Celebratin' the Wearin' o' the Green around the Rim Country

Annual St. Patrick's Day Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner

Friday, March 16

4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

$8 adults; $4 Children 10 and under

Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church

507 W. Wade Lane, Payson

Call (928) 474-5440 for tickets.

Kelly's Sweet Revenge Saloon

Star Valley, (928) 474-0111

Saturday, March 17

Authentic Irish music and corned beef and cabbage.

8:30 p.m. to midnight

Kokomo

Zane Grey Steakhouse and Saloon

Kohl's Ranch, (928) 478-4211

Saturday, March 17

Celtic Cowboy Festival featuring musical guest: Ivory, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., plus authentic Irish food.

Main Street Grille

Payson, (928) 472-6246

Saturday, March 17

St. Patty's Day Patio Party with (weather permitting) live music from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Mogollon Steakhouse and Lounge

Strawberry, (928) 476-2222 reservations

St. Patty's Day Party Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Junction 87

Mazatzal Casino

(800) 777-PLAY

Dance to the music of The Groove Defenders from 8 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, March 17. Admission $5.

Must be at least 21 years of age to attend.

St. Patrick's Day Dinner and Silent Auction

Benefits the Diamond Star Water Coalition.

In the Lamplighter Recreation Room, Star Valley

Contact Karen Benjamin for details (928) 474-4728

Saturday, March 17

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Corned beef and cabbage dinner $5

Bring a dessert to share if you wish and items for the silent auction are appreciated.

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