But the very best thing of all about St. Patrick's Day was the St. Patrick's Day Frogs.
The St. Patrick Day Frogs were a delicacy to be savored only on St. Patrick's Day and found only at Haegele's Bakery, which was a block up Barnett Street from our house.
Every St. Patrick's Day my mother would buy each of my four siblings and myself a St. Patrick's Day Frog. For me coming home from school to my St. Patrick's Day Frog was on a par with the the delight of waking up on Christmas morning. I truly loved those bright green cream-headed cake frogs.
I believe - though the passage of years may have blurred the time line for me somewhat, and if anyone wishes to correct me on the exact year I will stand corrected - but I believe that I was nine years old and in 4th grade at St. Timothy's when I ate my last St. Patrick Day's Frog .
It was when I was ten years old and in 5th grade,
It was to my joy when I came home from school on that St. Patrick's Day to find that my mother had traveled across town to Haegele's to buy my brothers, sister, and I our Frogs. And to my horror when I remembered that it was Lent and so I couldn't eat my St. Patrick's Day Frog.
I wanted so badly to eat that Frog, to bite into that sweet green icing at just the spot where one hit part cake and part creme, my favorite way to eat it. I yearned to eat the Frog, I longed to eat it, but I knew that I couldn't eat it because it was Lent and I'd given up sweets and I truly believed at ten years old that a Catholic could no more put into her mouth something she had given up for Lent than she could eat meat on Friday.
And it wasn't just that I longed for my St. Patrick's Day Frog. I grieved for it, too, because now I knew that St. Patrick's Day arrived in the middle of Lent, that it would always arrive in the middle of Lent, and that I'd never eat another St. Patrick's Day Frog for the rest of my life.
I don't remember who ended up eating my Frog.
But I'm sure I didn't grieve for too long, and I rather think that was the last time my mother made the trip to Haegele's for the St. Patrick's Day Frogs, anyway.
Anyway, that was fifty-seven years ago, and in truth I'd forgotten all about the Frogs.
Until last night when my brother Joe sent my sibs and myself this picture that he found yesterday on the Haegele's Bakery Facebook page: