St. Patrick’s Day Blog Hop

You may not know it but Denver, Colorado has a large Irish population. At least on St. Patrick’s Day. We have the second largest parade in the country. Second only to New York City. Everyone wears green or ‘Kiss me I’m Irish’ buttons, hats or T-shirts. All the bars, taverns and restaurants serve green beer and corned beef and cabbage.

In my younger years, I call them my wild years, before my husband and I got together, I celebrated at a bar named Clancy’s. I didn’t start celebrating the holiday until I started working for the assessor’s office. My boss loved St. Patrick’s Day and always gave his appraisers the day off to go to Clancy’s. I was the first female appraiser in the county’s history so I went, too. I’d be damned if the men did anything that I didn’t. I was determined to prove myself to be ‘one of the guys’.

My mistake this particular St. Patrick’s Day was in wearing all black except for a green leaf in my hair. Now in a dark bar, in my dark hair, a dark green leaf doesn’t really show up much. I got pinched a lot. I’m surprised I didn’t have bruises. I did, however, notice that the men who weren’t wearing green didn’t get pinched. And I seemed to be the target of serial pinchers. I caught a couple of the guys pinching me more than once after they knew I was wearing green. I think they were getting back at me for entering what had previously been an all boys club.

It wasn’t easy being the only woman in an all male profession. To say all eyes were on me is not an exaggeration. Men and women watched me. Both having a stake in whether I succeeded. Both sides having persons for and against me. Now you’re probably asking why this has anything to do with St. Patrick’s Day. Well this was the first time I was interacting with many of my co-workers on a non-working basis. This is where I either made it into the club or not. How I behaved that day would determine the rest of my career in that office. I had to be able to be “one of the boys” if I was to succeed. It wasn’t about drinking beer or eating corned beef. It was about camaraderie. It was about trust. Could they trust me to be one of them. To be in the trenches with them. To have their backs if needed.

I guess I had what it took. I was invited to join them in other after hours activities and I later became the first female appraisal department head and later then, the first female Chief Deputy Assessor. None of which would have been possible without passing the test on that first St. Patrick’s Day.

I will be giving away to one lucky commenter the paperback volume of my Centauri Series, which contains all three books, Centauri Dawn, Centauri Twilight and Centauri Midnight.  The paperback will be mailed to anyone in the US.  If the winner is outside the US, I will give them ebook copies of the three books.

My Best New Year’s Memory – Blog Hop

My father died when I was five so I never got to know him.  I have very few memories that I can call mine.  They are usually the memory of him through someone elses eyes.  One of the memories I do have is night he died on his birthday, January 20, 1961.  He was 51 years old.

When I was twenty, my cousin who was a year older wanted to go out for New Year’s Eve.  Not with me.  She wanted me to babysit, but only her two week old baby.  You see, she was living at home with her parents at that time and my uncle would be watching her three year old son.  He didn’t feel comfortable with the baby granddaughter though, so I’d be there to watch her.

And we spent New Year’s Eve together.

This was the first and only time that happened.  But after the children were put down to sleep for the night, my uncle and I talked.  We watched Guy Lombardo on television, (I know I’m aging myself terribly here) and he regaled me with stories about my father.

Dad was the second oldest of thirteen children.  His family was very poor.  My dad started delivering milk when he was ten years old.  He finally quit school in the eighth grade and went to school fool time.

The family were migrant farm workers and followed the crops, working everywhere from Colorado to Washington and everywhere in between.

As an adult Dad held a number of different jobs.  When he met my mom he was a cowboy working on a real working dude ranch in Creede, Colorado.  They ran cattle and rented cabins out to people, usually from Texas, in the summer.

After he and Mom married he was a cowboy, a trapper, an airport warden, a sheriffs deputy, a hod carrier and a county road maintenance worker.  He did whatever needed doing in order to make a living and support his family.

My dad loved to fish and hunt and he was good at it.  One of my first memory that I can call my own if of fishing with my Dad.  I was four and he gave me one of his fish to carry back to camp.  I ran ahead of him, so proud of htis fish.  I ran into a woman going up river, also fishing.  I proudly told her that this was my fish and I caught it all by myself.  This was my first experience with story telling.  :-)

I learned that my dad could play the organ, liked to eat raw hamburger with onions in it.  He liked to have a beer and play poker with the boys now and again.

I have a picture of me on top of a horse named Judy, in my diapers.  Dad was next to the horse hanging on to me, making sure I wouldn’t fall.  He was always with me, making sure I didn’t fall and if I did help to pick me up.  Even though it was in spirit only.

And I wonder how different my life would have been had he lived.  Not better because my Mom did a great job raising us by herself, but it would have been different had he lived.  I wonder how different and how much different I would be.  Would I have made the same choices, the same mistakes.  Would the abuse and other bad things that happened to me have been prevented because he was there?  How different would I have become?  Would I be a better person?  Or a worse one?  Would I really be a different person at all?

I had a wonderful night with my uncle.  I learned so much about my Dad.  The best thing I learned was that I was my Daddy’s baby girl and he loved me very much.  And now, fifty-one years later I still miss him.

Be sure and leave a comment to be entered to win not only my contest but the GRAND prize for the blog hop.  If you leave a comment on every blog in the hope you can be entered to wing the grand prize 65 times.  What is the grand prize…wait for it…a Kindle Fire!!  Second prize is a $80 Amazon gift certificate.  What is the prize for my blog alone?  A complete set of my books in paperback.  Centauri Dawn, Centauri Twilight, and Tame A Wild Heart.  All to one lucky winner.  So comment today.