Salt Lake City's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade started off a little slowly this year. Despite practically perfect parade-watching weather, the Saturday morning crowd was thinner than usual and the event didn't have its usual zip.
But the day was saved by - who else? - the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants.A UACPA drill team, marching smartly in black, brown and gray business suits, reminded the crowd that spring is the season not only for shamrocks and leprechauns but also for W-2 forms and tax returns.
"I don't care what people say," the drill leader shouted, and the chorus came back - "Just wanna be a CPA." Then, "Don't wanna die and go to heaven. Rather file for Chapter 11."
As the accountants marched away chanting, "Credit, credit, credit," the parade's wacky spirit was secure.
Ten members of the Soviet inspection team monitoring Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty compliance got a chance to see a different side of Utah from the reviewing stand.
They must have wondered what the Utah Scottish Association, All State Italian Day queen and the green-bearded El Kalah Shrine Nomads were doing in an Irish parade.
And everyone must have wondered at the Arabian Knights, a new Shrine club whose members performed some amazing male belly dancing feats.
"We had to get a special permit for this gang," said parade announcer Bill Brennan.
A group calling itself the Bountiful Irish made it clear that Utah puts its own stamp on the annual wearing of the green. Members carried signs that said: "Utah language - a pretty, neat English," with such examples as "Oh my heck," "Shur preshat cha" and "Thanks s'much."
There were some more universally recognized Irish symbols - the Catholic schools were out in force, and an impressive group of Irish wolfhounds escorted the Irish tricolor down the street.
Colorado State University's band almost spoiled the parade's musical tradition by actually hitting the right notes as it marched by.
But things got back to normal with the hearse-driving Disgusting Brothers - "a pretty green band" (They didn't use the comma) - and the Mac's Band Non-Precision Marching Mobile Trash Can Band.
As the event concluded, Brennan thanked the Soviets and everyone else for coming. "It is intended to be an informal, friendly gathering, and I'm sure it turned out that way," he said.