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Something about little shops and 3/17.

St. Patrick's Day means different things, and when some hear of "Laurel Canyon" they may not picture its northern/eastern miles. Exiting North Hollywood and passing through Sun Valley, Pacoima and San Fernando there is a sweatier and dustier feel.

Rock gardens, small industry and farther back than this essay centers there was a dairy. Going farther away from the fabled close quarters of Joni, CSNY and the Mamas and Papas' "12.30" it makes a curve, and just before this curve was a charming little Irish themed store.

The proprietor had a brogue that chased off the sternest layers of choking brown air we had in the era when I first visited, and always had a pot of tea and some simple cookies---one of the Irish brands but of course---to add a touch to purchasing genuine Irish St. Patrick's Day cards, variously with simple prayers and explanations of legends.

The shop would have banners of various local events of and for the Gaelic of gene and heart.

Later on the store moved to Magnolia Boulevard, in sight not of the oft desiccated rearing of the San Gabriel's but the lower, usually greener and closer escarpments of the Coast range which sleepily looked over Ventura Blvd. a mile south. The side street on which I park has hand laid bricks instead of curbs in front of the above median homes. Not the Old Country but more evocative.

Last week I knew I let the deadline of the 17th draw close and visited for the cards. The shop seemed to have not as much in it though the variety was there, such as groceries (no jokes---"G" rated), apparel, even jewelry. A young lady was the only one there. I didn't ask about the long time proprietor, and the question I did ask about SPD cards---well, they didn't have them now.

I was just listening to some Clancy Brothers on the 'net and boy, you see the often trolling politics in the comments. Whatever the ups and downs of the Irish connection I abhor green food dye and haven't been to a bar scene on this day seemingly forever. I've always worked, gone to band, wore enough green to draw looks but not approbation.

And I work at the writing "thing"; for Irish and all writers part of the bill of fare involves sadness and passing. It is hoped my readers had a fine one and we'll see about next year.

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