There is really no street in Washington that says, "This street belongs on the Irish on the 17th of March," but the people moving about with a dash or a sprig of green helped the color of an early spring come to this city.

Of course there are some Irishmen who feel the green of the traffic light belongs of them on this day, but for many of the people the feeling was that "it's nice to be Irish and we would like to share our day with you."

To share this day, the former governor of Massachusetts, Endicott "Chub" Peabody, wore a green neck-tie as he shopped for a belt from a bearded sidewalk vendor.

"Is Peabody an Irish name?" he was asked. His smile and voice said, "Everyone's Irish today."

Peabody bought the belt and when he was asked if he wanted it wrapped, he said, "No, I'll wear it."

So we walked down the street together as he talked about marching in St. Patrick's Day parades when he was governor of Massachusetts.

"I marched in South Boston and there was a big parade in Holyoke, Mass. I marched there too."

"I come from Holyoke, Mass., were the first words out of Fran O'Brien, the 270-pound leprechaun, as he sat behind a table to his crowded place, the Anthony House.

"We used to have a big parade there every St. Paddy's Day. I don't know about here. It's okay though, the people are having fun. Look at them, who else can have fun on a Thursday?"

As for the preparations for the big event, O'Brien likened himself to a football coach. "You know," he said, "It's like I get the troops ready so I can sit down and watch the game and, wham, I'm in the middle, like George Allen."

Helping him in the game was a Brazilian waitress from Sao Paulo named Ines Oliveira, who wore for the day a green jersey with matching green leotards, covered by a mini "Irish plaid" skirt, and for no other reason than St. Patrick's Day, a green and white fancy garter about half way up her thigh.

Matt Kane, whose face has stopped a hundred punches, is the owner of the restaurant that bears his name, sat at a table with O'Brien and said, "I wanted to give Fran some money. My place is a madhouse today."

Kane put up a sign outside his restaurant to help the patrons who had to wait. It said, "Folks, it's a great day for the Irish. I hate to see you wasting the day standing outside," and then listed the names of several bars where they could go eat and drink.

The subject went to boxing and the old fights were fought again with a few descriptive jabs thrown at the air while people wearing green drank, danced and sang.

Mark Quinn sat down and wiped his brow. A heavy man wearing a sweater on his warm day, he talked about playing his "button accordian" and wondered if he could last the night.

"Have a drink" he was told, "It's early yet."

Kane talked with O'Brien and they made plans to sneak away from their places of Irish mist and melody to have a quiet dinner with their wives at Duke Zeibert's a ritual they perform every St. Patrick's Day.

Laura Lee Cookson sat on a bench in Farragut Park slowly eating ice cream. The look on her face, over the green dress topped with a casual wide green scarf said that she would rather be somewhere else.

"My father, Eugene O'Brien, takes Paddy's Day to Tucson Arizona, where being a polo buff, he started and has run for several years a polo match. He calls it the "Leprechaun" Tophy match. The trophy is a shillelagh and the winning team gets to keep it until next year," Laura said. "They even give a prize to the best-dressed horse."

For the strong, the celebrations started last Sunday with the parade, and will end for many on Friday morning. If given half a chance maybe the Irish can outlast the 12 days of Christmas.