The Suitcase Lady


March 11, 2008, 10:40 pm

St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching, so it must be time for me to toast the Czech Republic.

I’ve often been chided about being a bohemian, but the truth is, I really am. My grandfather got off a boat from Czechoslovakia.

As much as I love the irresistible Irish, why do they get all the glory?

After presenting a program to a fifth grade class and referencing the Czech Republic, the classroom teacher asked me, “What’s that checkered thing you mentioned?”

In the interest of diversity, here are some Czech fundamentals. The Czech Republic is a small country in eastern Europe. The capitol, Prague, is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with a fairytale castle high on a hill in the center of town.

The country is famous for producing a curious list of products: firearms, puppets, the original pilsner beer and stunning hand blown glass.

The following incident gives insight into the collective Czech psyche. When Vaclav Havel, the dissident, poet and playwright, was President, his wife died. She was much loved by the Czech people. Havel remarried an actress who frequently popped up, sans clothes, in B movies on late night Czech TV. The Czechs were unfazed by this. But they couldn’t stand the second wife for a much more serious reason – she banished the first wife’s dog from the presidential palace.

The Czechs understand the meaning of irony. They went from Nazi control directly to a communist takeover and still managed to survive.

Don’t think I’m being overly nationalistic. If your ancestral country is as overlooked as mine – Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Moldova or Albania, for example – it’s time for you to take action. You’ll need your homeland to provide a serviceable saint and a functioning brewery or distillery. Then round up a bunch of friends and celebrate your origins. The Irish will be green – with envy.

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