Column: The Real Story; by Dirk Knudsen of the Hillsboro Herald
It seems like only yesterday that the City of Hillsboro, Oregon was hosting one of the biggest St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the region. The Murphy’s Furniture St. Patrick’s Day Parade was just sort of an expected event around here. For 42 years the Hillsboro family has sponsored and organized the fun event that featured a parade around the old town, a FunRun, and other events! The 2020, 2021, and 2022 events had to be covid-canceled. No doubt we all hope they come back next year.
Photos courtesy of Murphy’s Furniture FB Page
As we wrapped up another day at work and stared out at Main Street and the 2022 reality that is the burned Weil’s building we took pause. No St Patrick’s Day Parade. Another casualty of Covid. That, added to the damages the fire continues to cause, just felt like a bit of a low watermark. No sooner had that thought been processed did we see a straight-up miracle in the form of one very giddy green Leprechaun! Strolling along Main Street he stopped to wave and with a smile, he came through our doors. Carrying a bucket of Gold Coins and adorned in a beautiful costume this very realistic Shamrock King brightened our day so much we wanted to know more. Here is our interview with Spencer Dilworth of Hillsboro who had come downtown to spread some joy!
His wife tells of how Spencer came to downtown last year sporting a full red beard. But because she is mostly deaf she can not read his lips when he grows one. So this year he came sans beard. It mattered not as the family was wonderful to meet and just what the doctor ordered. The only thing Spencer worried about was the lack of people who were out downtown. After we talked I sent him East towards Noble Hop, Hillsboro Bar And Grill, Pizzario, and the Carts On Main. It was a joy to meet them all and for now, he is my favorite Leprechaun!
Finishing my work up shortly thereafter I headed to order dinner at HBG. As I passed The Venetian a green glow was flowing onto the street. That stylish venue was hosting Hit Machine, a top 80s band, and had a great dinner crowd going which was awesome to see. As I got to the Hillsboro Bar and Grill the crowd was all a buzz talking about a cool Leprechaun that had just come in. I ordered my food to go and stopped by Noble Hop. Same story there. As I crossed back over to grab a pint at Pizzario I saw our new friend clicking his heels and greeting a family passing in a truck and another on the street.
It seemed Spencer had tapped into the collective energy of the City and brought those seeking some Irish fun out for the evening! As I entered Pizzario I ran into my good friend and Hillsboro native, Vern Pursley, and his gal Lori. They were sitting with his mother Eva who is an Octagenarian and a local lady as well. The place was packed so the seat I was offered was quickly taken! Pints were ordered in a crowded house and the energy of a good night in Hillsboro was rising.
The staff was serving an Irish mac-n-cheese with corned beef which was delicious. Playing on stage, streetside along the front windows, was local fiddler Rose Darke and her friends which included singer guitar man Joe Engert, bassist Dave Hopkins, mandolin maestro Steven Rogers, and Barryn Makapagal on the percussion. They really got going as the evening went along and the crowd responded as if they were sipping honey wine from a golden pitcher. It has been a long road through this dark tunnel – and we are almost out.
Anyone who has ever been to this venue knows that it is the center of the live music scene in Hillsboro, with many weeks offering a different talent every night. The staff was excellent, as always. And the evening got even better when one of my favorite all-time news weathermen, Andy Carson of Good Day Oregon, showed up with his family and friends. He is a Hillsboro resident and we had a chance to share a few nice moments together.
Andy Carson (left) and Crew enjoyed some St Patrick’s Day fun at Pizzario (2022)
Hillsboro resident Vern Pursly, Lori Blommel, and Eva Pursley had a ball!
Rose Darke and Friends brought a very Irish sound to Main Street on St Patrick’s Day!
There were events around Hillsboro tonight. All I can say is that this night belonged to the people, the music, the food, and that wonderful Leprechaun who seemed to kick start it all. I only got to stay an hour or so before heading home and as I left I am sure I saw him skimming along the street spreading the last but of gold.
“Top of the evening to yah Laddie,” he said as I walked off. All I could do was smile and send him two grateful thumbs up!
As I passed the burned-out shell of the Weil’s building I zipped my coat. A warm wind-aided me along as 80s music flowing from The Venetian blended with Rose Darke’s fiddle somewhere overhead in a very Hillsboro 2022 symphony. I thought about all we have been through. All of those who have died from the black monster. All of those who are dying tonight under the thumb of Vlad the Destroyer. And those who will still die from both. I thought of our new friends struggling to stay open at LaMixteca Oaxaca after a tough start to 2022 thanks to the blaze. I thought of “Ron-Dog” Knapp who just wanted a place to sleep but burned to death for his choice of buildings. My grandkids too and all kids who have not had much of a life or school experience these past two years.
And I wondered …who was I to have a good night.
Then it came to me. If not us, who? If not now, when? Life is never certain, always changing. And one thing it has shown me is that for every ounce of light in the Universe there is an equal measure of darkness. And for all of you, I wish more light- less darkness. That is my wish.
Happy St Patricks Day, Hillsboro. From one of your Sons, I love you!