Another AOH (Ancient Order of Hibernians) outing with Ham o’ Bone in the books and I’m always taken aback about how good a time it is despite past experiences of similar good times. It’s simply unrecreatable in the normal ebb & flow of daily existence. I became lost almost immediately in the psychedelic glow of lights off the old man singer’s thick glasses though I’m chagrined to report that Bone missed the fabled “dead set” in which the Hooligans sing “Finnegan’s Wake” (during which the crowd retorts “Lunch!”), but he was gathering valuable intelligence during a smoke break from a former AOH president concerning the current state of AOH affairs. You know those smokers always do get good intel.
This year it was held at the Germania Club, which was sorta funny. It’s a measure of how far AOH has fallen that they’re reduced to hosting their big event at a German club. But how ecumenical and fun, and me being a German afficiando as well as part German, I felt quite at home. An odd moment occurred when an elderly German lady attempted to sing one of our Irish songs at the end of the night with a German accent & all. Since Ham o’ Bone & I speak (between us) at least fifty words of Deutsch, we felt it our duty to be ambassadors to this lady by yelling out “Wie geht es ihnen!” and “Danke Schon!” at odd intervals. Can’t take us anywhere.
The seating at this event could not have been better. Picture perfect, despite early reservations. As the table immediate stage left, I wasn’t sure if our boisterous behavior (just singing) would sit well with our neighbors (the table seated 8). But lo & behold the guys we sat near had far more acquaintance with Mr. Bud Weiser than we had of Mr. Guinness or Mr. Jameson. I also learned to never tease der Bone about his slow drinking. He bought me an extra shot and finished his pronto while I was humbled: "No más!"
It was startling, later in the night, to be five to ten feet from Bill O’Reilly’s bete noir, the tux-wearing Judge Connor who O’Reilly judged “the worst judge in America” for allowing a child molester to get off with probation. To think I was only two degrees of separation from the Factor.
In the wee hours, post-“God Save Ireland”, we discussed religion and Ham’s difficulties with “Mariology”. Ham is an evangelical but said that his non-denominational pastor was celebrating Lent for the first time, including Ash Wednesday. It was heart-warming to hear that. If Catholics have become more Protestant since Vatican II, Protestants are becoming more Catholic.