What could have been more perfect for St. Patrick's Day than to have the sun shinin' bright during a wee sprinklin' o' rain that resulted in a rainbow arched over Burbank? While, as of yet, there been no reports of any pots of gold being discovered, many locals honored the patron saint of the emerald isle by gatherin' with the McKenna clan and partaking in a little liquid gold — toastin' with a wee dram o' Irish whiskey or tippin' a pint o' Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, Smithwick's Ale or Guinness, Beamish and Murphy's stouts.
The clan — Paul, Janet and their 10-year-old son, Liam “Mac” McKenna, have made it an almost annual tradition to open their Burbank home to celebrate St. Paddy's Day. Paul, a local Realtor who serves in the U.S. Army Reserves as a sergeant first class, and Janet, a teacher with the Burbank Unified School District, have served as host and hostess for the mid-March party since they were married in December 2000 at the home of former Burbank Mayor Dan Remy.
The tradition for the McKenna St. Patrick's Day party, which Paul said actually goes back 19 years, has been interrupted at times when duty has called. “We did have to delay it a bit once due to my deployment in Iraq,” he said. “When I returned in August of 2009, we celebrated with a ‘St. Pat's Plus Six Months' party in September,” he added with a laugh.
Paul McKenna, who served as a Marine from 1977 to 1985, also worked as an actor appearing in television films and series including “Cab to Canada,” “Jag,” “Vital Signs,” and “Hill Street Blues.” He has also served as the vice president of a local transportation company before joining the Army National Guard where he served his country with tours of duty in Bosnia and in Iraq. Along with his country, Paul has also served his community as a member of the Burbank Traffic Commission, for which he is the current chairman, and as a member of the Burbank Sunrise Kiwanis Club.
Among those who enjoyed the evening of food and spirits at the McKennas' were former Burbank Mayor Marsha Ramos and her husband, Dave, Vince and Kristy Carnegie, Steve and Jennifer Turner, Oscar and Isabel Aguilar, Paul and Eva Chiaravalle, Bob and Laura Frutos, John Paul and Cheryl Kisob, Shelly Rawlins, David Cantu, Steve and Danny Harris, Caren'a Lasko, Victor Contreras, Sean and Viki Hilferty and Rob and Cynde Bost.
DAVID LAURELL can be reached by email email@example.com or (818) 563-1007.