You can call Maureen Rooney Miller a first-timer, but you may not call her a novice.
She has a grasp on the world that is St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrations, but this will be the St. Patrick Society's 2014 IrishMother of theYear's first St. Patrick's blowout in the Quad-Cities.
But let it be known, Miller is ready.
A newspaper publisher in Knoxville, Iowa, Miller is a laugh-per-minute type who lived for 28 years in Camanche, Iowa. She celebrates St. Patrick's months, not days, and cannot wait for her first St. Patrick's Day Parade in the Quad-Cities.
It will, however, not be her first dip into the pool that is St. Patrick's Day walkabouts.
"I'm from Dyersville (Iowa), and at the urging of family and friends, helped start the St. Patrick's Day parade there,'' Miller said. "I dressed up and drove a golf cart. My parents entered a float and for years, we had had a great time. I have some parade experience.''
Dyersville is a wonderful city that offers a fun St. Patrick's Day event, but few Irish shindigs rank with the only inter-state St. Patrick's Day parade in the country. Some celebrations are larger, but you cannot match the Quad-Cities in old-fashioned fun and viewer celebration.
"All those years when we lived in Camanche, we talked as a family about making the Quad-Cities parade a must for us,'' Miller, a mother of three, said. "In those days, we owned a party (supply) store in Clinton, and we always had weddings or some kind of event to be part of on Saturdays. As much as we tried, we never got to the Quad-Cities for the parade.''
In steps longtime Miller pals T. Waldmann Williams and Pat Schrad, two of the finest nomination letter-writers on the planet. The duo convinced the selection committee that a wonderful mother of three -- whose maiden name is Rooney, with deep Irish roots -- who can spare a week before her daughter gets married, is the perfect Mother of theYear choice.
Did we mention Miller celebrates St. Patrick's months, not days?
"I was honored and touched to be nominated,'' said Miller, who guides the everyday fortunes of the Knoxville Journal Express and Pella Chronicle newspapers. "It had a lot to do with being free this weekend, because of what we have as a family next weekend. A lot also had to do with being nominated and picked for such a great honor. You cannot step back from something as wonderful as that. I never imagined I would be so fortunate.''
Miller will be introduced at Friday's Gathering of the Clan Luncheon at Davenport's RiverCenter. The impact of the 36-hour Irish whirlwind that stands before her is not lost on theIrishMother of theYear.
"Who doesn't love a celebration?'' Miller said, voice raising. "This, though, is the big time and such a wonderful honor. There will be too much fun to be had for me to be nervous. I am excited and looking forward to all that comes with the celebration. I'm sure it's a beauty.''
And a perfect fit for a perfect first-timer.
Columnist John Marx can be reached at 309 757-8388 or Jmarx@qconline.com
Today is Thursday, Oct. 2, the 275th day of 2014. There are 90 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The ladies have adopted the fashion of wearing representations of insects in the flowers on their bonnets. Some look very natural. 1889 -- 125 years ago: T.F. Cary, former Rock Island alderman, has accepted a position as salesman for a Chicago wallpaper house and plans to move to that city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Work on the new telephone building on 18th Street between 6th and 7th avenues is progressing rapidly. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater at 3rd Avenue and 19th Street will have a name significant of its location. The "Rocket" is scheduled to open Thanksgiving Day. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Two of Rock Island's newest water towers were vandalized last night, including the one at 38th Street and 31st Avenue, where police took five Moline boys into custody about 9 p.m.. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Some of us who live in the Quad-Cities take the Mississippi River for granted, or at least we used to. But the river is not taken for granted by our visitors. And most Quad-Citians are realizing the importance of the river to this area as increased emphasis is placed on tourism.