March 17, 2018

This morning, I headed toward downtown Phoenix intending to catch the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade, and spend some time at the fair that follows it. Lo and behold, instead of in Ireland, I ended up in Japan.

I parked my car in a half empty parking lot right next to the Irish fair grounds. One could hear the loud music blaring already from that direction, even though it was only just 11 AM.

This is is a part of downtown Phoenix that I had never been to before, Of if I had, it was more than 30 years ago when it looked entirely differently. So I headed on foot in the direction of where I thought the entrance to the fair grounds would be. Alas, instead, I entered magnificently serene Japanese gardens. I could have been in Tokyo or Kyoto, but for the Irish music from next door. The garden were exquisite and quite authentically Japanese.  Here, you can see for yourself.



I eventually had to backtrack and walk around the other way to get to the entrance of the Saint Patrick’s Day fair. Here are now some photos from that brief visit.



An hour or so later, as I was walking toward my car in the Biltmore shopping center wearing my Irish greens (see above), an older lady wished me a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

I thanked her.

And then she saw that my green shirt on the back had the word ALOHA and a map of Hawaiian islands imprinted on it.

“Are you Hawaiian or Irish?” she asked.

“Both,” I replied, grinning ear-to-ear.

If you know my life’s story, then you can understand why this answer was both true and false. Because both Hawaiian and Irish ended up a my adopted nationalities. 🙂

“Bob O’Dj” – that’s how I have been signing my name on this auspicious day for decades.

Bob O'Dj.png

PS: By the way, I missed this year’s parade entirely. I had read somewhere that it was to start at 10 AM. I got to downtown Phoenix around 10:30, figuring I’d catch the last and the best of it. Alas, there was no trace of any parade on Central Ave.

At the fairgrounds, I asked someone what happened with the parade this year.

“It’s over,” a man with a big leprechaun hat replied. “It started at 9 and finished at 10.”

Oh, well. The best laid plans of mice and men. 🙂



Mar 12, 2016

The morning in Phoenix at Saint Patrick’s Day parade, the evening in Tucson at a Shakespeare’s play


Since this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17, 2016) falls on a weekday, celebrations of this uniquely Irish holiday started early.  The parades were held in Phoenix on Saturday and in Tucson on Sunday.

Elizabeth and I joined the fun in both Arizona cities. Plus, on Saturday night in Tucson, we attended a wonderful performance of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” play at the University of Arizona.

The following day – Sunday – we did an 8-mile hike up and down the Sabino Canyon – our favorite hiking spot in the Tucson area.  By the time we were done, the Tucson Saint Patrick’s Day parade was already over. So we skipped it and drove straight back home to Scottsdale – for a long and well-deserved nap and a Mexican dinner. 🙂

I’ve seen green shamrocks. I’ve seen green tea. I’ve seen green beer. But have you ever seen a green horse before? I have not. Yet here it is…



There were also Irish Wolfhounds (as if from the Cù-chulain legend), lots of jig-dancers and other entertainers.

St pat 2016 jig dancers

Here’s a video potpourri from the Phoenix parade:


 * * *
 Here’s now a photo album from the Phoenix parade…


For those of you who are not familiar with my “Irish Roots,” here’s the story…

Here is also a link to last year’s St Patrick’s Day festivities in Maui... –


After up for a bit at our Tucson hotel, Elizabeth and I attended a wonderful performance of Shakespeare’s “Comedy of Errors” at the University of Arizona.



We started the second day of this exciting weekend with an 8-mile hike up and down the Sabino Canyon. Since I had left my camera in the car, here some photos from our previous hikes through the same canyon.



It took about 1:45 hrs to get up to the top of the canyon – elev 3,313 ft, and another 1:15 hrs to get back.




Bob Eliz St Pat Shakespeare


On this day in 461 A.D., Saint Patrick, Christian missionary, bishop and apostle of Ireland, dies at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland.

Much of what is known about Patrick’s legendary life comes from the Confessio, a book he wrote during his last years. Born in Great Britain, probably in Scotland, to a well-to-do Christian family of Roman citizenship, Patrick was captured and enslaved at age 16 by Irish marauders. For the next six years, he worked as a herder in Ireland, turning to a deepening religious faith for comfort. Following the counsel of a voice he heard in a dream one night, he escaped and found passage on a ship to Britain, where he was eventually reunited with his family.

According to the Confessio, in Britain Patrick had another dream, in which an individual named Victoricus gave him a letter, entitled “The Voice of the Irish.” As he read it, Patrick seemed to hear the voices of Irishmen pleading him to return to their country and walk among them once more. After studying for the priesthood, Patrick was ordained a bishop. He arrived in Ireland in 433 and began preaching the Gospel, converting many thousands of Irish and building churches around the country. After 40 years of living in poverty, teaching, traveling and working tirelessly, Patrick died on March 17, 461 in Saul, where he had built his first church.

Since that time, countless legends have grown up around Patrick. Made the patron saint of Ireland, he is said to have baptized hundreds of people on a single day, and to have used a three-leaf clover–the famous shamrock–to describe the Holy Trinity. In art, he is often portrayed trampling on snakes, in accordance with the belief that he drove those reptiles out of Ireland.


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