St. Patrick's Day in the Morning by Eve Bunting; Illustrated by Jan Brett

Jamie wakened early and remembered that it was St. Patrick's Day. He climbed carefully over his big brother, Kevin, and his bigger brother, Sean.

The stairs were cold on his bare feet. The kitchen was cold too, the fireplace full of dead ashes, like chalk. Nell, the sheepdog, lay in the rocker.  "Here, Nell!" Jamie tried to snap his fingers the way Sean did. Nell uncurled herself from the cushions, Jamie sat in the warm spot where she'd slept. St. Patrick's Day in the morning. The green sashes were laid out on the table. The big one was his dad's. The next biggest was Sean's. The next biggest was Kevin's. Their fringes were crusted with gold. There was no sash from Jamie. "It's not fair, Nell," Jamie said. "I want to walk in the parade too. They say I'm too small. That I couldn't get to the top of Acorn Hill. But what do they know?"

...

Mad old Mrs. Mulligan threw open her window and leaned out. "Save us all," she yelled. "It's the terrible noise you're making, Jamie Donovan." She banged her window shut. That mad old Mrs. Mulligan! And what did she know? Mrs. Mulligan's big red rooster cock-a-doodled from the roof. His wattle rattled and Nell howled again. It was as good as a chorus to go with the music. Jamie was sorry there was no one to hear but mad old Mrs. Mulligan.

...

Jamie took the cap off his ginger ale and drank. He poured some in his hand for Nell.  "And all of them were saying I was too small," he said. "What do they know?" The sun jumped up like a firecracker from behind the mountain. "A happy St. Pat's to you, sun," Jamie shouted. The words made a shimmer of sound in the emptiness.

...

He opened the back door. The clock tick-tocked. The turf ashes lay in their white drifts. Jamie took off his mother's coat. He set Hubble's egg on the table. He climbed in the rocker and Nell jumped beside him. He laid the flute across his knees and closed his eyes. Oh, the music he'd made. They'd not hear the likes of it all day. And wait till they saw the flag! The mystery of it. The wondering there'd be. There were feet coming down the stairs but his eyes were too heavy to lift and look.  "Och, our Jamie!" Kevin's voice was soft. "Sound asleep, and with the sash and the flute and our dad's black hat. Are you sad now, and you not big enough to walk in the parade?

Jamie kept his eyes closed and smiled. Silly Kevin! And what did he know?

Bunting, E. (1980). St. Patrick's Day in the Morning. New York: Houghton Mifflin/Clarion Books.












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