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Monday, March 17, 2014

Oh Happy Day!

 Well, today is the big day!  It is the release date of
my first book American Homestead Quilts!

It takes a long time to make a book from start to
finish.  We first started talking about a book about
21 months ago and it has been 18 months from the
contract to the book.  What an education it has been.

Since I publish my own patterns and do everything
in that process except the printing, I had no idea
about how many people were involved in the
publishing of a book and I'm sure there are people
involved in this process that I never even heard of.
But it was fun to work with other people on a project.

For example, to know someone was going over all the
technical aspects was a great feeling.  I'm sure most
designers spend a lot of time proofing their patterns but
since we are so close to the project, sometimes we miss
mistakes ~ and ohhhh, that hurts.  You want everything
to be perfect.  By having your own technical editor, you
have someone going through everything with a fine
toothed comb.  I felt Ann made my quilts in her head.

I have to wonder, did C&T Publishing set the release
date for my book on March 17th because my name
is Murphy?

And that brings up another reason to be happy on
this day ~ it is St. Patrick's Day!  And when you
are the granddaughter of a person named
Nellie O'Rourke, you will be celebrating on this
day.  When my Mum was in Ireland and she
would tell people her Mother's name, people
would say, "Aye, Lass, with a name like that, you
need to open a pub!".

So, I thought I would tell a story today about the
first St. Patrick's Day I spent with Mr. Wonderful.
Of course, he wasn't Mr. Wonderful yet, he was
just McCutie.  It was 32 years ago today (yeeps)
and we were a couple of poor college students
who had been dating for just a few months. 
Wonderful had started a job that week at the
Town Pub, a local bar/restaurant, his job was
helping prep the food for the big St. Patrick's Day
bash that was happening that week.  The new job
of course meant new money and we planned to
spend some of it on St. Patrick's Day.  We went
to school on top of a mountain overlooking
New York City.  That meant, on March 17th we
would be on our way to the big city.  We had
both gone to classes and then caught the bus to
Manhattan, we walked over to 5th Ave and stood
along the fences of Central Park and watched one
of the biggest parades in the world.  If you have
never seen it, it is a spectacle.  Yes, there are the
typical high school bands from all over the country
(imagine how exciting it must be for them), there
are politicians waving and shaking hands but it is
the amount of police and firefighters that can
completely blow your mind.  Can there really be
that many police and firefighters in this area and
if they are all marching, then who is minding the
store.  Do you think all the Italians work on St.
Patrick's Day and the Irish all work on Columbus
Day so everyone gets a chance to be in the
parade for their country?  Row after row after
row of uniformed men and women.  And then
if you were not already blown away, marching
along were the Emerald Societies, the pipe and
drum corps.  They are decked out in their kilts
and the fabulous sounds of the bagpipes sends
a shiver down every Irishman's spine.  McCutie
told me how special it was to see this since
Grandpa Murphy had been a New York City
policeman and Uncle Jack Murphy was a New
York City fireman.

After the parade, we headed downtown and
McCutie bought me a corsage, a carnation
sprayed green for the special day.  We went
to McSorley's, it is said to be the oldest Irish
pub in NYC, it has been around since the mid
1800's.  I was a McSorley's regular, I went every
Sunday night.  I was introduced by a guy I dated.
I gave up the guy but kept the bar.  I generally don't
like bars but since this is so Irish, I always felt the staff
was looking out for me.  In fact, some nights the guys
would walk us to our car to be sure we got home safely.
(Don't worry, we had designated drivers).
Of course the line to get in was long on this day and as
we were standing there the manager, John stepped
outside for some fresh air and spotted me in the crowd
and came over to give me a kiss, I guess because I'm
Irish.  McCutie was impressed, wow he said, I guess
you really are a regular.  We ate some of the best ham
sandwiches on the planet, very simple, ham on rye
with raw onion and the hottest mustard you can imagine.

This image was found on Google images.

Later we walked back to the West Village and I spotted
a place called Googie's, one of my friends had been there
and she said they had great Long Island Iced Teas.  We
decided to try them.  Ok, I wasn't much of a drinker then
or now and I honestly had no idea what a Long Island
Iced Tea was.  I guessed it had some alcohol in it but
I really thought it was mostly iced tea ~ really...
So we talked and had another and talked and had
another and then we realized we had to get back to the
Port Authority Bus Terminal in Times Square to catch the
last bus of the night back to school.  And then I stood up
and found out those drinks were not mostly iced tea...
We caught the bus in time and settled in for the 20
minute ride home and somewhere in there we both
fell asleep.  As a businessman was getting off the bus
many miles away in a neighboring town, he saw us and
figured we were from the college and woke us up. 
And there we were, after midnight, tired and cold and
having to walk all the way back home.  On the next block
over from where I lived was a big cemetery and McCutie
thought it would be much shorter to cut through it to
get to my house.  At this point he was starting to be not so
cute.  Do you know that scene in Notting Hill when Julia
Roberts and Hugh Grant climb the fence into the park late
 at night?  Yeah, it was something like that except we had
had a few Long Island Iced Teas...  Finally, we made it
home and I realized I lost my corsage, I had wanted to
save it as a memento of the day, it probably fell off in the
climb into the graveyard.  I still think back on this as one
of the top St. Patrick's Days!

May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, and tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you
and all that your heart might desire.


  1. Sounds like a fun time! And it's a great memory, gotta have those. I have a journal, I never write anything bad in it. If the day comes that I read my journal to remember my life, I want it to be Good! This would be a story for the journal.

    1. I agree Dee, I want to remember the good stuff. ~ Ellen

  2. What a wonderful story. You are a great writer. Happy St. Patty's Day to two very Irish people! Congrats on your book.

    1. Thanks Tess, I'm glad you enjoyed the Colcannon. ~ Ellen


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