Growing up, I was often the only Patty my age. In the United States, the baby boomer generation was filled with Patty's, but by the time I was born, the name had lost some of its luster.
Every March 17, however, my heart fills with pride as people all over the world celebrate my namesake. St. Patty's Day. And this year, while living in Spain, I have even more reason to be proud.
Yesterday, our Andalusian flatmate bounced over to our apartment and announced that he was making paella, a typical Spanish dish, for everyone that night. I think he might have even sung that announcement, he was so enthused. So we joined them for dinner with our Minnesota guests, who were here on vacation, for a wonderful homemade meal of paella with chicken and beef, during the course of which we were also able to meet their out of town guests, along with several other of their friends.
As we left for another Spanish fiesta, I went around the room and kissed each person twice, as is the custom in Spain. Once on the right cheek and once on the left. The last person I said farewell to was a Spaniard whom I had not yet met, so I said hello and goodbye together. When I asked him his name, he replied, "Patxi."
"Right, Patty," I said, impressed that he knew my name.
"Patxi," he repeated.
"Yes, my name is Patty," I responded. "What's yours?"
"My name is Patxi," said the dreadlocked gentleman. "I am Basque."
I nodded in comprehension. We kissed each other's cheeks again and went on our way.
Later that night, at a fiesta at another exchange student's apartment, I met yet another Patty. This one was also Spanish and she was full of life. We felt instantly connected to each other, feeling that a lifetime of being called the same name is enough to bond two people. It was this Patty that reminded me that it was the day of "her saint," as she put it. Saint Patrick's Day.
So, as that is my saint too, I feel thankful to have such a wonderful name. And I feel thankful to have found several others with whom to share this with.
Happy St. Patty's Day.