Years ago, I went to Portugal for Christmas while I was an exchange student in Toulouse, France. At the time, Lisbon had a giant Pizza Hut on the Avenida de Liberdade, but no Mc Donalds. Now it has plenty of Mc Donald’s, and the Avenida de Liberdade has been bestowed with new Burberry’s. But twenty years ago, when you went to Portugal, you left American things like the Golden Arches behind.
So my cousin (well, really my mother’s cousin) João asked me about his recent sojourn to Mc Donald’s in New York. Apparently he went there and drank something primordially disgusting. It was green, and minty and quite thick and just oh, so wrong.
He very much wanted to know if I had consumed one with each Mc Donald’s meal I’d ever had.
Um, no. I’ve never had a Shamrock Shake.
There are reasons for that. Like it sounds primordially disgusting. Plus, ew, Mc Donalds!!
He carefully pronounced “Shamrock Shake” several times, committing it to memory, sounding very much like my recently deceased grandfather. Knowing someone so similar still walked the earth was a huge comfort.
Now, João himself is a memory. Going to Portugal without him being there two years ago left me with an emptiness. Something was missing. So many, many people were missing. But I’ll never forget being interrogated about Shamrock Shakes.
It’s the simple moments that stay with you, that warm your heart, that fill the void.
(AND BTW, as a Savage, João, my mother, my grandfather, and just about any of the people I mention on here are all a teensy bit Irish. So happy St. Patrick’s Day!)