BREAKING NEWS: LEPRECHAUN CAUGHT IN MAPLE TREE

THE HUMAN RACE

 


A CHANCE MEETING WITH MY FAVORITE LEPRECHAUN

  

Not too long ago,

I was walking down the street

minding me own business when

when I heard a rustling of leaves

coming from high in a maple tree.

When I looked up, there was

Francis Archibald O’Leary with

that waggish face beaming down at me.

He was trapped,

clinging to a spindly

branch that barely supported

his portly Leprechaun frame.

“Top of the mornin’, chappy!” he

called, tipping his topper.

Up to that point in my life,

I had been a logical kind of guy who

believed that elves, mermaids, gremlins,

pixies, brownies, even gnomes were figments

of our imagination. But I must admit that

I’ve known my share of Leprechaunic folk

the size of Billy Barty.

So there high above me was Francis,

oozing balarney winking down with

impish green eyes magnified by bifocals.

As sure as St. Patrick drove all the

snakes from Ireland, I had

never met a more whimsical character

than the one whose coattail was

was caught in the branches.

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

you be up to doin’ a kind deed?”

I shot him an skeptical glance.

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

to leave a body trapped in a tree on

such a fine kite-flying day?” he rattled on.

“How’d you get up there?” I asked.

“Would you believe I was tryin’ to get

closer to heaven?” he snorted.

“If I help you down, will you

give me an interview?” I asked.

“Yer pullin’ me leg,” he howled.

As I began to walk away,” he hollered after me:

“Unless yer interested in talkin’ to the

descendent of Ireland’s King Timothy O’Leary?

That’s me, you see!”

No sooner did I help him down that he pushed

out his double chin and tossed me a

cockeyed smile.

“Timothy O’Leary was not really a King,”

he explained showing no guilt. “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.”

“Just where on the Emerald Isle do you

hail from?”

“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 one of the Little People?” 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 enchanting wife named Allie who teaches

college calculous. Just think of me as an overgrown

elf with supernatural powers. That’s me!”

That spiel was the beginning of a friendship

that lasted far more than a blink of an eye.

Before we parted, I asked, using tax lingo,

“Francis, would you be up to granting your

rescuer three promissory wishes?”

“Brace yourself,” he said puffing up his

chest and pouching out his belly:

“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!”

Right there in front of me, Francis vanished

in a puff of smoke leaving the scent of

Irish Spring in his wake.

Francis Archibald O’Leary was truly a happy soul.

Right now, I’ll wager he’s at a place, far above

the maple tree, shuffling his twinkle toes,

dancing a jig. The sight of him will surely cause

old St. Peter to open wide his gates.

And, may I add, leave the many friends he

left behind with heartfelt memories.

Toodleoo, old pal.

In Irish, that means good-bye.

 

— Boots LeBaron —

 

(Frank, a physicist and former U.S. Marine,

died on Valentine’s Day last year when

I wrote this story. He was born in Cambridge,

Mass. in 1927)

 

 

  

 

 

 

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