It's the most wonderful time of the year

There are certainly a lot of great days that come around every year.

Of course, Christmas jumps to mind immediately as the top dog. There is the religious meaning, which brings legitimacy to its status as a significant day for many. It is a holiday that traditionally brings families together, and that’s always a good thing. And, well, there are presents and a lot of rich foods. That pretty much seals the deal in terms of making Christmas a special day in my eyes.

I’m also a big fan of Thanksgiving. No religious meaning or presents behind this one, but plenty of food and family time, and that shoots it right up any list. Plus, there’s football being played on television that day, and even if it includes the Detroit Lions, it’s still technically football.

There are others that stand out in my eyes — Halloween, Easter, the day pitchers and catchers report to spring training, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Labor Day, any and all Lindsay Lohan court appearances, and others.

But there’s nothing like St. Patrick’s Day for me.

Sure, there’s a lot of Irish pride in that feeling. I’ll agree with that. It probably forces me to see the day through kelly-green glasses and the night through, well, glasses that apparently don’t offer anything substantial in terms of seeing clearly. It’s as if somebody switched prescriptions with me after the first bottle of Jameson is retired and ...

But I digress.

St. Patrick’s Day is, interestingly enough, in memory of St. Patrick. He is said to have used three leafs of a clover to explain the Holy Trinity and was so highly regarded he was credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland, even though their initial existence on the island is somewhat in question. In that same vein, I guess I could be credited with driving the polar bears out of Delaware — that is, if I was highly regarded. And a saint. And accomplished anything of note.

Regardless, the Irish celebrate the life and legend of St. Patrick every year, and they invite the rest of the world to join in the fun. It’s truly one day of religious meaning on the calendar that is not exclusionary of any other religions.

Jewish? Come on down! Muslim? The more the merrier! Buddhist? We got you covered! You can pray to Jupiter with a duck on your head and Jell-O in your pants, and as long as you’re joining in the spirit of the day, you’re welcome to jump into the party on St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s just that kind of day.

And night.

And early the next morning.

And, yeah, March 18 is typically a day I try to avoid sunlight, food, water, air and anything else that intrudes into the delicacy of my pickled existence, but it’s still worth the suffering.

Pretty much.

But it’s different for me this year.

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration for me takes place in Key West. Oh, I’ve visited the area before, and know which restaurants and adult beverage facilities I enjoy, but I don’t know the lay of the land on St. Patrick’s Day.

Throw me in D.C. on March 17 and I can tell you where to go, where to sit and what cab company to call. Ditto for Philadelphia and San Francisco. I’ve done the holiday here several times around, to great satisfaction, had an incredibly good time celebrating the deeds of St. Patrick in Manhattan on a March evening and was told I once had a memorable time in Jacksonville, N.C.

I think I’ve gotten off track a bit.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope all of you have, or will have, a spectacular St. Patrick’s Day celebration, depending on: (1) when you read this, and (2) when you’re celebrating. Ocean City held its parade last weekend, so you might have already gone out and paid homage to St. Patrick. Or you might be waiting until this weekend.

Either way, we’re all Irish on this day.

Erin go bragh!