Not too long ago,

I was walking down the street

when I heard the

 rustling of leaves

coming from high in

a maple tree.

When I looked up, there was

Francis Arichibald O’Leary with

that waggish face beaming down

at me. He was clinging to a spindly

branch that barely supported

his portly Leprechaun frame.

“Top of the mornin’, chappy!” he

called, tipping his topper.

“And the rest of the day to yerself,”

I said after a moment of hesitation.

For up to that point in my life,

I had been a reasonably logical guy

able to distinguish fantasy from reality.

At an early age, I came to believe that

elves, mermaids, gremlins, pixies,

brownies, even gnomes, were all

figments of our imagination,

conjured up to make human existence

more entertaining — dramatic.

Yet, there clung Francis with a

cluster of shamrocks sticking out of

his hatband, winking down at me

with a set of impish green eyes

magnified by bifocals.

Since I had met my share of leprechauns,

as sure as St. Patrick drove all the

snakes from Ireland, I’d never met one

who was more whimsical than Francis whose

coattail was caught in the branches.

“Before you forsake me,” he pleaded, “would

you be up to doin’ a kind deed?”

I shot him a skeptical glance.

“Wouldn’t you agree:  it’d be unmerciful

to leave a body stuck up in a tree on

such a fine kite-flying day?” he asked

“How’d you get up there?” I said.

“Would you believe I was tryin’ to get

closer to heaven?” he snorted.

“If I help you down, will

you give me an interview?”

“Yer pullin’ me leg,” he howled.

“Maybe you’re right,” I said.   As I  began to

walk away,” he hollered at my back:

“Unless yer interested in talkin’ to the

descendent of Ireland’s King Timothy O’Leary.”

He pressed a thumb to his chest.  “This is me!”

The minute I helped him down, he pushed

out his double chin and explained with a

cockeyed grin, “Timothy O’Leary was not

really a king.  He was more like the

chief of a clan in County Cork.  But King

Leary did exist.  And his same blood

trickles through my veins and those of

my sons, Shawn, Kevin and Bryan.

They are all sturdy lads.”

“And where on the Emerald Isle do you

hail from?” I asked.

“Sad to say, I’ve never been to

Ireland.  My father, Timothy raised

 nine of us on an estate in Cambridge,

Mass. where he was a groundskeeper.”

“Are you truly a leprechaun?” I asked.

“Not only am I the largest leprechaun in the world,

I’m the only one with an engineering degree; one

who works with rainbows, pots of gold, taxes,

and has an adorable wife named Allie who teaches

college calculus. Think of me as an overgrown elf with

supernatural powers. That’s me!”

That spiel was the beginning of a friendship

that lasted many years.

Before we parted, I asked, using tax lingo,

“Don’t I get three promissory wishes, Francis?”

“Brace yourself,” he said taking a deep breath.

“May the road rise up to meet ya. There’s

one… May the wind be always at yer back…

And here’s me favorite: May you be in heaven

ten minutes before the devil knows yer dead!”

With that, Francis vanished in a puff of smoke.”

He was such a happy, unpredictable soul.

Passing away on Valentine’s Day

was so befitting the one time U.S. Marine,

aerospace physicist who dabbled in programs

 ranging from the  Atlas ICBM propulsion

system, analysing military ground support systems,

to kibitzing beach city politicians who for years

tolerated his magnificent blarney.

Right now, I’ll wager he’s gettin’ ready

to celebrate St. Patrick’s day,

dancing a jig in some cloud in the sky

far above the maple tree. That

performance, spiced with a touch

of pure O’Learyism will generate

enough razzmatazz to cause old

St. Peter to open wide his gates.

And leave the many friends he left

behind with heartfelt memories.

Toodleoo, old pal.

In Irish, that means good-bye.


— Boots LeBaron —


Love from Boots, JoAnne, and family.

    • Ann O’Leary Angelaszek
    • March 16th, 2015

    What a wonderful tribute to my wonderful uncle! Mr. LeBaron has certainly captured Uncle Frank’s true spirit!


    • Kevin M. O
    • March 16th, 2015

    Truly Boots Lebaron has kissed the Blarney stone to tell such a wonderful tail about such a wonderful man. Rest in peace leprechaun Francis.
    Love your son Kevin


    • Kevin M. O’Leary
    • March 16th, 2015

    Kevin M. O :

    Truly Boots Lebaron has kissed the Blarney stone to tell such a wonderful tail about such a wonderful man. Rest in peace leprechaun Francis.
    Love your son Kevin


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