March is the month when we, hopefully, say goodbye to Old Man Winter and prepare to welcome the wonders of spring. Who wouldn’t be grateful for that? It’s a time of transition and new beginnings. This is my list of gratitude for the month of March:
RAIN, RAIN, YOU CAN STAY
I love sunny days, but I admit that I also love it when it rains in March. I love how my grandchildren giggle when we grab an umbrella and go walking in the rain, always stopping to splash in the puddles. I love to sit by my window and watch spring thunderstorms. Even when it’s a cold, dreary day with a steady drizzle, all I can think about is how that rain is watering the spring flowers that are popping out of the ground. Everything smells so fresh and clean after a good rain shower and, if you’re lucky, you can spy a rainbow afterwards, as the sun peeks out from behind the clouds.
Nothing says spring is near like the sight of daffodils beginning to bloom. The trees are starting to bud, the grass is getting lush and green, and everything feels new again. I’m grateful for this time of new beginnings.
BABIES IN THE FIELDS
If you take a long drive down a country lane this time of year, you’re bound to see baby animals frolicking in the fields. There is a farm about 40 miles from my home, where I can always count on seeing adorable little lambs hopping about. Just down the road from that farm, I’ll find a pasture filled with cows looking after their calves. Kentucky is horse country, so I can drive in most any direction and soon find myself watching newborn foals skipping around alongside their watchful mamas. I watch them grow a little bigger each week, and wonder if I might be watching a future Kentucky Derby winner! I don’t have to drive to the country in order to see baby animals, however. I can look out my back windows and see Bambi nibbling on my bushes, or drive around the corner and see little ducklings, waddling behind their mother. I’ve even spied a red fox leading her three babies into the woods, and a mama skunk with her adorable little ones. Babies, of any kind, always bring me such joy.
We have no major league sports teams in the state of Kentucky, so college sports reign around here. NCAA basketball is an especially loved sport for us, which makes March Madness an exceptionally exciting time! Both, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville, have outstanding basketball programs. Most folks in this state love one of those teams and love to hate the other one. When March Madness rolls around, however, all except for a few stubborn heads hop on board the fan wagons of both teams, hoping to bring an NCAA Basketball Championship back home to Kentucky again. March is always a time of endless pizza, nachos, wings, and exciting hoops. Go Big Blue!
It’s only natural that St. Patrick’s Day is a special day to a family with a name like Murphy. We started a tradition, years ago, when my children were very young, of hosting an annual Shenanigans Party to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with our Murphy relatives. We’d serve Irish Stew, green jello salad, and cupcakes with green frosting. Everyone would wear something green, of course. We drew names to exchange gag gifts, and adorn ourselves with funky hats, over-sized eye glasses, and fuzzy green wigs for family portraits. One year, my mother-in-law bought sweatshirts with the Murphy family crest on them for all of those whose birth name was Murphy. Those who married into the family received sweatshirts that read, “MURPHY’S in-LAW.” Clever, huh? Our Shenanigans Parties stopped for a few years, after my father-in-law passed on. It didn’t seem right to celebrate without the head of our Murphy family being there. A few years later, however, after our hearts had some time to heal, my mother-in-law decided to reignite the annual celebration, in her husband’s honor. There weren’t as many green foods, and she would order potato pizzas rather than serving Irish stew, but the gag gifts and funny family portraits continued. She also taught all of her grand kids how to do the Irish Jig and gave out cash prizes to the best dancers. My mother-in-law has since passed on, as well. The Murphy grandchildren grew up and some of them moved to different parts of the nation so, once again, the tradition came to a halt. My husband and I now have four grandchildren of our own, so this March seemed like the perfect time to rekindle the Shenanigans fun, once again. I hope they treasure the memories as much as I do!
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand. -Irish Blessing