Yep. It’s a fun day and an opportunity for folks to spend money on cards, chocolate and even valuable presents to assure us that love is burning away. Paddy McGinty’s Goat and Valentine’s Day are somehow linked in my mind. Here’s how.

Some People just ignore the issue of Paddy McGinty’s Goat versus Valentine’s Day. They are the V. Day Grinches I guess. No presents, no chocolate and no cards – not even homemade ones.

Daisy and I are in the Valentine’s Day Grinch camp. Been there for years and have, in fact, stopped Christmas, Birthday and all greeting cards with a few exceptions. Daisy announced at our New Year’s Day sit-down dinner for 20 family that, henceforth, there would be no presents given or accepted for adults. I lobbied for exceptions for kids still in high school and people over 75 years old.

For me the important thing about V. Day is that it preps me for Daisy’s February 16 birthday. Now that’s a celebration! No presents for these many years but she never rejects warm Happy Birthday kisses and hugs.

We have often been away on Valentines day because winter has been our travel time in the past. We’ve celebrated in Spain, Costa Rica, Albania, Thailand, Venezuela, Italy and perhaps a half dozen other countries. This year we’ll be at home. Twelve days to go!

Worst Valentine’s Day ever was when I was 9 years old. My Irish friend Johnny McNichol asked me, “Billy. Who’s your Valentine?”

“I dunno Johnny.” My face was probably red. “I don’t have one.”

“Billy. Fer gosh’s sake you must like someone.”

He teased me and wheedled a name. Maureen. His 14 year-old sister Maureen. Big Mistake.

“No Billy,” in his Irish brogue. “Ye mus git ‘er a caard.” He waxed persistent.

“No. No. No… Okay. But I won’t sign it.” I actually felt better when he walked me around the corner to the candy store and I handed over a nickel to the proprietor for a flowerly Hallmark.

At Johnny’s insistence I misspelled Maureen on the envelope and gave the card to Johnny. “Beely. Ya mus write something. Tell her ya luv her.”

Persistence won and I unfolded the card all the way to reveal a hidden center section and wrote I love You. Johnny promised to deliver the card without revealing my identity.

“Ye’ll be an anonymous admirer,” Johnny said. I was dubious.

My unease was justified. Maureen never looked at me again. I’d become invisible and developed a desire to beat Johnny. But he was older and tougher and we never had a fight until I stole his girlfriend Valerie a few years later.

He’s about 79 now. We had not seen or spoken for some 60 years when we made contact again. We arranged to meet for lunch in Manhattan. We had a long talk about the good old days. He told me then that he was sorrythat he that might have been involved in stealing my bike. He bought lunch for me and Daisy at Carmines in  as a partial restitution.

I gave him a gift at our reunion luncheon. His girlfriend was there. I invited them to lean closer to me and began to sing the words of Paddy McGinty’ s Goat, a song Johnny had taught me as a kid. He said it came from Ireland when his family came over the year I met him.

Our eyes were wet as we sang parts of the song and remembered old days.

Mr. Patrick McGinty, an Irishman of note

Fell into a fortune and he bought himself a goat

Says he, “sure a goat’s milk, I’m goin’ to have me fill” 

But when he brought the nanny home he found it was a bill

All the young ladies who live in Killaloe

They’re all wearing bustles like their mothers used to do

They each wear a bolster beneath their petticoat 

And save the rest for providence and for Paddy McGinty’s goat 

Mrs. Burke to her daughter said, “listen Mary Ann 

Who is the lad you were cuddlin’ in the lane

He had long wiry whiskers hangin’ from his chin” 

“Twas only Pat McGinty’s goat,” she answered with a grin 

Then she went away from the village in disgrace 

She came back with powder and paint upon her face 

She’d rings on her fingers and she wore a sable coat 

You can bet your life she never got that from Paddy McGinty’s


Little Nora Mccarthy the knot was goin’ to tie 

She washed out her trousseau and she hung it out to dry 

Along came the goat and he saw the bits of white 

He chewed up all her falderals and on her wedding night 

“Oh turn out the gas quick,” she shouted out to Pat 

“For though I’m your bride sure I’m not worth lookin’ at

I had two of everything I told you when I wrote 

But now I’m wearing nothin’ thanks to Paddy McGinty’s goat” 

Mickey Reilly he went to the races the other day 

He won twenty dollars and he shouted “Hip Hooray” 

He held up the bank-note sayin’ “Look at what I’ve got” 

Along came Paddy McGinty’s goat and swallowed up the lot 

“He’s eaten me bank note” said Mickey with the hump 

They sent for the doctor to get the stomach pump 

Oh they pumped and they pumped for the twenty dollar note

But all they got was ninepence out of Paddy McGinty’s goat 

Well the bould Irish guards, you’d think it was romance 

They adopted the goat and they brought him off to France 

The day that they landed he heard the bugle blow

He ducked his little cranium and he ran to meet the foe 

The Germans retreated, hurriedly they fled 

Holding their noses they tumbled over dead 

“Ach,” says the Kaiser, “there’s poison gas afloat, 

But it was only the effluvium from Paddy McGinty’s goat” 

Off the west coast of Ireland one morning they were seen 

As plain as any pikes there were German submarines 

When coast-guard Maloney fell into a fit 

Says Paddy McGinty’s goat,

“It’s time for me to do me bit” 

He jumped into the water as frisky as a whale 
Swam around the

 u-boat wagging his little tail 

He upped with his horn and he stuck it in the boat 
And sent

 them all to Heligoland did Paddy McGinty’s Goat 

Now Paddy McGinty’s goat had a wondrous appetite 

One morning for breakfast he ate some dynamite 

Then a big box of matches he swallowed with a grin 

And when he had his fill of that he drank some paraffin 

He sat by the fireside, he didn’t give a hang 

Swallowed a spark and exploded with a bang 

So, if you go to heaven you can bet your dollar note 

That the angel with the whiskers on is Paddy McGinty’s goat

So. That’s me, Paddy McGinty’s Goat, and Valentine’s Day

Click here to go to Arthur Godfrey and me

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