.St. Patricks Day Dance at Pat Curley’s Hall .
The poem, St. Patricks Day Dance at Pat Curley’s Hall by William Campbell, is provided by Versa (Lucas) Gibson, a long time resident of Lena and Oconto Co. WI and granddaughter of Alex Lucas mentioned in the poem. The original paper copy was kept in her grandmother’s bible and occasionally read by the family with much amusement and enjoyment. Versa shared a family story about these dances that seems to reflect the custom of the time in the Stiles area. The chaperone, or bouncer, at the dance also served the role of introducing dance partners since it was not proper for a young lady to dance unless properly introduced to the gentleman. As the story goes, if Alex Lucas brought around a fellow the young lady didn’t favor and she said no, she probably sat the rest of the night for Alex wouldn’t introduce any other guys to her. So the story goes.
poem was keyed from the original typed paper copy with structure,
and punctuation as it appears. There is no date on
but the best guess is it was written around 1910 or so.
Submitted by Dennis Gilbertson, Versa’s son-in-law.
By William Campbell
Tune: St. Patricks Day in the morning.
We arrived good and early, with sleigh loads by the score, we drank that old time tonic and blew selzer on the floor; and listened to the old lads story tell and when they swore there true, we’d line up at the old pine bar, and then we’d have a few, and then we’d all join in and sing “The Wearing of the Green”.
But when Merhleins band would play, “The Hat My Daddy Wore”, you’d hear Alex Lucas’ high heeled boots hit the ballroom floor, and then you’d hear him holler “Four couples More”. And if you didn’t just behave yourself, he’d march you to the door.
We danced quadrilles and waltzes and polkas by the score, but when we hit the two steps, our feet were mighty sore, for Trepanier was callin like he never did before.
Some missed a dance or two, I missed three or four---for old Pat was selling something in the building just next door, and at twelve o’clock or thereabouts, “Supper” the cooks would cry, you ought to see us devils jump, fear we’d miss the beans and pie.
We arrived at the supper tables all filled with food galore, we’d sit there and we’d fill up till we couldn’t eat no more, and then we’d up and navigate back to the ballroom floor, and when we had a good old waltz, and then a square dance more, then you’d hear Alex yell “All couples on the floor, for we’re going to dance the “Irish Trot” like we never did before”.
And when these grand old couples danced down the ballroom floor they had the happiest lot of faces you ever saw before---they were the Maloneys and the MacCarthys, McCurdis and Shedores, the Wheelers and the Hurleys, McGuires and Monaghans, the Binkeys and the Clearys, the Murrays and Ryans, and the Flatleys and O’Learys and the Degens and the Lanes.
O’Neils and Gallaghers, McDougals and the Marrs, the Barrys and the Morriseys, McNultys and McLeans, McKeevers and McIvers, the Calkies and McQueens and the Murphys and the Ragans, the Jarveys and Hearlds.
The Rymers and Belongies, the Tracys and the Carrolls, the Reynolds, and the Temples, the Kellys and the Bunns the Meyers and the Campbells, the Bagleys and the Birrs and the Barcomes and the Kaufmans and the Coopmans and the Mauers.
The Oshwalks and McTravers, the Leighs and Porterfields, the Flowers and the Robbins, the Goggins and the Walls. The Caldwells and Couillards, the Slatterys and the Plains, the Colburns and McCluskeys and Deveraux and the Langes and McAllisters and the Johnsons, Welches and the Farrells.
And there were about fifty couples they couldn’t let in the door, for old Pat was short of grape juice and no room upon the floor, and there were two mighty homely men--- Bill Campbell and Tom Shedore. Alex couldn’t let them dance, he marched them off the floor, and he swore he would maul them if he seen them anymore. But when these grand old couples marched out the ballroom door, they said they had the best old time they ever had before.
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