Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stoning the Happy Meal

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors made a bold move today and placed a ban on toys for children’s fast food meals that do not meet specific nutritional guidelines. Debate over this issue has been a hot topic for the last few days. Some folks are firm believers in this movement and hope it sets precedence for a nationwide ban. Other folks believe the government is too much of a presence in our private lives. Some people want to point the judgmental finger at bad parenting. Parents shouldn’t visit fast food joints, and they are irresponsible when they buy their children video games. Why aren’t those children playing outside?

Opinions and bans do not really address the problem, though. One woman on a local news station suggested that parents will simply purchase adult size portions as the American Family begins the mourning process for the death of the Happy Meal. I am not certain that will be the exact response, but I am fairly certain that the response will not be the one that San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors aimed for. We need to look beyond the Happy Meal to the real source of the problem.

How did we become a Happy Meal society? There was a time when many (if not most) families had a “stay at home mom.” Mom had time to cook nutritious meals for the family. I am sure that we had the occasional fast food fare when I was a youngster, but I do not remember them. I do remember fresh vegetables right out of the garden. I remember piping hot cornbread and the smell of something simmering or stewing on the back burner. I remember fried chicken and smothered pork chops. Oh! I stand corrected. I do have fond memories of the occasional trip to White County with Daddy, where we picked up Kentucky Fried and had a picnic on the farm.

The point is . . . Mothers had time to cook. The 21st century Mama works – sometimes more than one job. She is frequently a single parent and has after school and extracurricular activities for her children AFTER working at least 1 and maybe 2 jobs each day. She doesn’t have TIME to cook, so she pulls into the window at McDonald’s on her way home from the music recital or church event that she attended after working 13 hours and grabs a Happy Meal. Heaven forbid!

What about those accusations that parents should get their children off the couch and outside? The days of sending your children out to play with a cheerful, “be home in time for supper,” are long gone. Our children are not safe anymore, even in our own back yards. It takes less than a minute for a child to disappear. Mom doesn’t have time to cook supper, so you can bet she doesn’t have time to supervise backyard play.

On a positive note, Happy Meal toys do encourage imaginative play. Little Susie can sit in front of a screen and punch buttons without much real thought. Mostly that is reflex or reaction. Playing with little dolls and little cars requires a little brain power, doesn’t it? It is called IMAGINATION!

No one will argue that obesity is not a growing problem (pun intended). It is a social problem, not a parenting problem. The ceremonial Death of the Happy Meal is not going to correct the problem. Mom still has to work 13 hours. Little Susie still has Girl Scouts and study groups after school. Removing the toy will never be an effective deterrent for consuming fast food. It only takes a tiny bit of happiness out of what sometimes is a not so happy life.

I APPLAUDE people who want to fight childhood obesity. I pray they find success. A public stoning of the Happy Meal, though, is not the answer. Let’s roll up our sleeves and find a solution that really addresses the problem!

Off to see the Wizard! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Behind a School Bus

I got behind a school bus on the way home today.  My first thought was, GREAT!  It was a mistake to come this way today.  What a silly fool I was to think it was a mistake.  Have you seen a child get off a school bus lately?  They are happy and EXCITED about going home. 

I watched as one little girl about 5 or 6 years old got off the bus to her little sister running across the yard to meet her.  Mom and Dad stood on the front porch watching as the two girls embraced in a hug of love.  The two girls joined hands and ran across the yard to greet Mama and Daddy with big smiles.
 Another little boy seemed to fly off the bus. When his feet hit the ground, he was already in a run for the front door, backpack flapping his back. What waited on the other side of the door? Mama with an afternoon snack of homemade cookies and cold whole milk? An older sibling who would let him play video games for a little while before Daddy gets home? A ball game with the other boys from the neighborhood? Whatever activity was planned for the afternoon, the little boy’s excitement showed in his speedy race for the door.

I was in a hurry this afternoon, too. I was not sitting on the edge of my seat with the excited anticipation of hitting the ground running when the bus stopped, though. When did life become all work and no play? I believe it is time to ride the bus home and hit the ground running again. October is National Walking month, and I have already signed up for the national walking program at www.walktober.com. I am determined to hit the ground running in the afternoons and walking at least 30 minutes every afternoon. This is a good time to listen to the birds! What is it they are saying to me? Did I hear a chirping song of “It’s Time to Catch the Bus?”

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Mother's Scissors


My mother was a very talented lady. I don’t think I understood that when I was a child. She did not work outside the home until after I was grown. Children do not recognize domestic engineering as a job because it is simply the result of love, right? How can expressing love in cleaning, cooking, reading, teaching, sharing, gardening, sewing, and laughing be work? Children just don’t understand. Sometimes adults don’t either.

Mama made a lot of my clothes. She could sew AND knit! I remember a few items more than others. Remember koolocs? I couldn’t wait for Mama to finish an orange pair she made just for her little girl. Oh! I had the most lovely poncho. I loved that poncho as a girl and would love to have one like it now.

In the last few years, I have worked at picking up sewing. WORKED at it! Sewing is not easy! I bet I spend just as many hours ripping out as I do stitching up! Mama made it look so easy. I’ve seen Mama lay out newspaper on the floor and make a pattern. Seriously! I can barely get a printed pattern out of the package without a mishap. Every item I have sewn has little mistakes. I can tuck most of them in and hide them from the world, but some of them show. I guess that is fitting because I do the same with my personal blemishes. My sewing never looks professional like Mama’s did, but I enjoy it just the same. Well . . . . when I am not ripping out, pricking my fingers with a pin or needle, and cursing like a Sailor I enjoy it!

Mother’s Toolbox

 Wooden Spools  

Yellow Measuring Tape

Silver Scissors  

Sewing Box   


Seam Ripper  

Unconditional Love    

Last week I had a conversation with a friend about her mother’s scissors. She was purging and found that she just could not bring herself to let go of her mother’s scissors. Even for someone who doesn’t sew, a Mother’s sewing tools are too intimate to part with.

I don’t know what went with my mother’s scissors. I don’t remember seeing them after she moved back to Colorado. I have a lot of Mama’s things, but not her scissors. I guess it is just as well because I also don’t have her talent. I hope one of my children will treasure my own scissors someday as much as I treasure the memory of my mother’s scissors.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thoughts on Whole Milk

Elsie the Cow
Makes your mouth say WoW! 

Whole milk has become a delicacy,
One that I must indulge in from time to time. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Phoenix Rodeo

I had a date with my son last weekend. My “Baby” and I went to Brooks and Dunn’s concert in Little Rock – The Last Rodeo. Brooks and Dunn hit the top of the charts when Roger really was little more than a baby. He was only 5 years old when “Brand New Man” and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” hit #1. I wanted to go to a Brooks and Dunn concert way back then, but I was busy raising a family. I had two opportunities over the years to see the dynamic duo, but life got in the way. Fast forward to 2010. My “Baby” is 24, and Brooks and Dunn are riding in their last rodeo.


Raising children is a bit like a rodeo. You feed them and pet them when they are little. When they become teenagers, they are like broncs and bulls that are constantly bucking against you, if not bucking you completely off, as they struggle to find their own way in the world. Sometimes adolescents see their parents as a rider with spurs who is trying to tame the spirit right out of them. I suppose, in some ways, we are. I never wanted my children to lose their spirit, but I would have tamed them if I could. They grow up and mellow out. When they do, it is time for them to go to pasture and live a rich and full life. One at a time, the children leave the rodeo. The truth is that Roger reached that pasture stage some time ago, but we never have really recognized it.

On the way to the concert, Roger commented, “I can’t believe you are letting me drive your truck!” He made a valid point there. I know he drives big trucks sometimes – in some scary situations that I do not want to know about. I know he has driven in the city. Still, I am not comfortable in an automobile to begin with. If I HAVE to be in one, I prefer to be the driver, and my optimum speed is 45-50 miles per hour.

Roger was driving on the interstate and in some pretty bad traffic when he made that statement. It is really an innocent enough statement, but it is the one that made me realize that my Baby is now a MAN. Of course, he has been for a while now. After all, he is a mighty fine father in his own right. My mind knew he was all grown up, but in my heart, Roger was still a baby. He has seen his last rodeo as a buck and will be at pasture until he gets to ride the ride with his own children.

The Last Rodeo concert was awesome and well worth the 19 year wait. Miranda Lambert opened with an energizing show. Of course, she made me cry when she sang “The House That Built Me.” That song speaks to

 my soul, but that is another blog for another day. Miranda’s music invokes a full range of emotions from sweet to sad and struggle to strong. Isn’t that exactly what Brooks & Dunn’s music represents? She was the perfect opening act.
I expected Brooks and Dunn to begin with their earliest hits and bring us up to the latest. I told Roger that their last song would be one of my favorites, “You’re Gonna Miss Me.”  I was surprised when that was one of the first songs they sang. I revised my prediction to their last song would be “Brand New Man” because it seemed like they were going in reverse. I wasn’t quite right about that one either. That was the first encore. A lot of songs made me laugh, smile, and cry along the way. “Believe” and “Red Dirt Road” remind me of who I am and what is important, and they make me cry. “Play Something Country” makes me want to howl and stomp around. “Husbands and Wives,” “Brand New Man,” and “My Maria” bring back fond memories for a variety of reasons.

Oh yeah, and in addition to the music, Kix Brooks is the hottest thang since melted butter!

The end of the night was bittersweet, as they ended the night with “Boot Scootin Boogie.” Roger did not get it because it is just a song. He was 5 when that song exploded in country music. He did not know that it was more than a song. It was iconic. It became a dance. People sang it all the time. The personal ads in the newspapers was full of folks wanting to learn how to boot scoot and others giving boot scootin lessons. People started buying boots and wearing them to the clubs. For my generation, “Boot Scootin Boogie” was a rodeo in itself, but it had been to pasture for a long time when Roger began to enjoy music. For Roger, it is just a song.

The Last Rodeo ended with a bittersweet note. I did not mind getting bucked this time.  It was a great ride.

And the rodeo is reborn in this little bronco . . .

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

FOX Love

I arrived at work an hour early today and thought to myself, I need to get inside Trey Stafford’s head. It is really tough to second guess Trey AND Jim, but Jim is busy with the Community Breakfast. Surely I can think like one of them. I made me a list of questions that that Trey might ask about Brooks and Dunn and put together a nice word document with every possibility I could come up with. 1st #1. 2nd #1 . . . all the way to 5. How many number ones? Which song is celebration of the birth of Ronnie’s daughter? Which one is a Roger Miller remake? You get the idea . . . and the very first line of my cheat sheet was full names and birth towns.
Did you guess that I am trying to win concert tickets to The Last Rodeo Tour – Brooks & Dunn, featuring Miranda Lambert?

 Now that I have my list of answers researched and ready, I sit and wait on the chance to dial. They are taking Caller 5, and they have to know the entire names for both Brooks and Dunn. When that chance finally comes, I am the 3rd caller. My heart sank because I knew I could not possible get back through. I kept on dialing long after I knew there had to be a winner because every once in a while, the caller doesn’t know the answer to the question. I dialed and dialed and dialed. I was just thinking it was about time to stop when I heard a ring instead of a busy signal. My heart jumps right up in my throat, and I am not sure I am actually breathing. Ring . . . Ring . . . Ring . . . I am thinking, “3 rings? Something is wrong.” Then I hear, “Heeeeeeeeey FOX!” Oh my gosh! I am not even sure what I said. Hello? Good morning? I KNOW THE ANSWER? Gimme the tickets? What DID I say?

Caller 5 did not know the answer to the question. I am Caller 6, AND I know the magic answer. OH OH OH! Who knows what happened the rest of the day. They tell me I was screaming and acting like a mad woman at work.

Roger, who learned from Blake Shelton it is okay to be called Baby, has never been to a concert. I promised him that I would give him the tickets if I ever won again. My handsome son is taking me out Saturday night to see Brooks and Dunn’s Last Rodeo. Few mothers are so blessed.

We are both so excited that we cannot think about anything else! Woo Hoo! We cannot get any work done for talking about it. And the bonus . . . Miranda Lambert opens! How cool is THAT????? I drove to work today, and I do not even remember the drive home. I guess I stayed on my side of the road, but all I could see were visions of Saturday night. I try to work, but my mind wanders. I won’t be fit for shootin next week!

And guess what? Roger and I are not the only ones blessed with the FOX tickets! It is a little known fact that Kix has been looking for a woman like me all his life. Seriously! He is finally gonna get his chance to meet me! LOL So when he sings “Brand New Man, “ you know it will have a new meaning after Saturday. LOL

All joking aside, we are really blessed today. Yes, it is great to win the tickets, but those tickets would not mean nearly as much to me if I won them from another source. Oh yes, I would be excited, but not as much as I am now. Anyone who listens to Fox Country will tell you that the experience is more than listening to the radio, enjoying music and sharing a laugh. The FOX Folks are extended FAMILY. FOXFANS know the FOX Folks families. We cry when one of them loses a dear parent. We cheer at the birth of a child. We teach their children (Jim’s son told me where the bodies are buried!) We raise money for Make-A-Wish and Children’s Hospital together. Our FOX leaders motivate us to reach out to our neighbors who suffer a natural (or not so) disaster. They teach us to LOVE and to share our love.

When I was 16, Nanny wrote me a letter. At then end of it, she told me to “keep on smiling and spread your love around. That’s what life is all about.” The FOX Family does just exactly that. They bring out the best in all of us. They can make a “brand new man” out of the best of us. Winning concert tickets from The FOX constitutes winning LOVE. They are spreading it around because that’s what life’s all about.

Listen to FOX Country at http://www.thefox1049.com/

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Am I Responsile For the Oil Spill?

It seems like everyone is angry with BP, and some people are angry with the President. I, personally, am furious that the President has not gotten involved. You know who I am most angry with, though? ME

We have been assigned the task of caring for Earth, but sometimes we are more concerned about what we WANT than what is good for Earth. I don't know how we can fix this, and I fear that it may already too late to fix. We can reduce our consumption, though. If you can walk instead of drive, WALK -- or BIKE! CARPOOL to work! Shop with a buddy in ONE car. Make lists, so you can shop less frequently. 

STAYcation!  STAYcation!  STAYcation!

Enjoy the beauty of your own back yard,
 while we still have one to enjoy.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Taste of Home Cooking School

Mama loved the Taste of Home magazine. I think she must have gotten the very first issue because the magazine was only around for about a year before Mama passed in May of 1994. Later that same year, about a month before Christmas, I got a card in the mail from Mama. That was an eerie feeling because she had been gone for so many months. I guess she loved that magazine so much that she wanted me to share with me because she sent me a gift subscription for Christmas.  She had to of ordered no later than early May. Naturally, I always think of Mama when I see anything related to Taste of Home.

Since I have never attended a cooking school before, I did not know what to expect from the Taste of Home cooking show. Boy Howdy, did I have low expectations. All I can say is, you GOTTA GO!  Go to www.tasteofhome.com/ and find out when a cooking school will be nearby. Make sure you get good tickets right down front. Oh, and by the way, tickets were only $12.00. Maybe $12.50. Extremely reasonable, AND you get more than that in “goodies” when you walk in the door. Go with a close friend because you will really have a good time that you can discuss for months to come.  

When we first went in, we got a goodie bag with coupons for food, magazines, calendar, chip clips, Ziploc bags, crafting goods like shaped scissors . . . . lots of fun stuff. The bag itself is nice, too. 2 local caterers were set up with samples of wings, dips, sausages, egg rolls, and cheeses. Whole Hog BBQ was selling sandwiches at a very reasonable cost. LOTs of venders where there. Most of them had a box to sign up for a drawing. Right off the top of my head I can think of a nice garden bench, candles, spa treatment, cookbooks, BIG basket of goodies from flip-flops to towels and books, and of course FOOD! As we made our way around the vendors, we found more foods: cheese, nuts, cookies, and Andy’s frozen custard. Mmmmmmm We spent about 2 hours just making our way around all of the vendors.

The show itself was engaging. Jamie (our culinary expert) and Rick Christian (our host and local radio personality) were an awesome match. You would have thought they had been traveling together for years. There was a lot of funny thrown in with the learning.

We had seats directly center stage on the second row. Jamie stood behind the island, so we could see her and watch her hands, but she also had a camera pointed directly at the dish from above. Two big screens were set up on either side of the stage to show the dish from that angle. I think she made about 12 recipes from one of the magazines in our bag. Every bit of that looked yummy, too. She plated everything on fabulous dishes, and at the end of the show those dishes were given to folks from the audience.

You want to talk about prizes? We all turned in cards with our information at the beginning of the show, and they drew names all throughout the nearly 4 hour event. Cookbooks, cookbooks, and more cookbooks. Oh how I wanted one of those! Ziploc had a big package to give away, as did Velveeta, Jimmy Dean, and Gallo wines. I guess they gave away 25-30 bags of groceries. Lots of gift cards. LOTS of food gifts. Gifts from the vendors. I would guesstimate that about 1 hour of the show was just calling names for prizes. The two largest prizes were a side by side stainless steel refrigerator and a trip for 4 to Memphis. The trip included two rooms at the Madison Hotel on the river ($250 each) and 4 seats for a day at a cooking school in Memphis.

The big prizes were impressive, but I really had my eye on some of the smaller ones. Now mind you, I did not win anything. That doesn’t matter. I laughed and laughed, and when I finished, I laughed some more. I learned some little tricks that I did not know. I picked up a couple of “I gotta try that” recipes. I probably would not have ever cooked one of them, even if I saw the recipe in the magazine. Smelling it and seeing it in person hooked me.

The cookbook that really caught my attention is the Comfort Food Diet. Imagine learning how to eat comfort food in a healthy way! I am going to treat myself to a cookbook. I hope you do, too!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Waiting to Sprout

When Mama died, someone gave me a poem that I carried with me for a long time. I am ashamed to say that I cannot remember her name. I see her face. But I don’t remember names. She might even be on one of my teams.

I lost that poem a few years ago, and I have searched everywhere for a copy of it. That is difficult because I do not know the name. The basic concept will live with me forever. The poem compares the mother to the redwood tree. The seeds of the daughter trees live in the roots of the mother tree, and the mother must die for the daughters to live. The comparison suggests that we can never become women in our own right until we have lost the women who gave birth to us.

I am still waiting to sprout.

My Sprouts

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Shameful Panties

I have a thing for denim jumpers. Really, I guess I like jumpers in general, but the denim ones are my preference. Since I never throw anything away, I have jumpers in a variety of sizes around here. Yesterday it occurred to me that I might have lost enough weight to wear three of my jumpers. The last time I tried they were too snug across the back end. The back end is not much smaller, but they were only a little snug. Maybe it is time to dig them out.

That mind boggling thought was early in the day – forgotten ten minutes after that breeze whisked through the cavernous recesses of my brain. It barely even disturbed the delicate lace spider webs.

This must have been much more important than I thought because it popped up in my dreams last night. I was wearing my favorite denim jumper. Behind me I kept hearing that funny little munchkin laugh. Why? Because there were holes in the back of my dress – right across the sitting area. AND I was wearing hidious PLAID underwear. I don’t even want to think about what that might mean.

Still, I cannot shake the dream. I have this lingering feeling that my underwear is showing, and it is hideous. I think it is because I have had some really petty thoughts lately. I don’t know where that comes from. I have not said or done anything to insult or hurt anyone. But my tongue has been the tiniest bit catty once or twice. I made a couple of “innocent remarks” that were not really all that innocent. Not mean and hurtful, but just catty enough that I knew it would rub someone the wrong way.

I suspect that this dream is a direct message from God that my ugliest underwear is showing when I behave this way. Moreover, I was strutting along not even realizing that it was showing.

I am ashamed.

I will dig out the denim jumpers, but I am also digging out the white lace panties.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



Proverbs 13: 12

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

13 He who scorns instruction will pay for it,
but he who respects a command is rewarded.


Proverbs 16: 3

3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.


After half a century of thought on the subject, I still do not know what my purpose is. I have thought a lot about it because I know we are all supposed to have one. For a long time, I equated my passion as my purpose, but I am not so sure now. My passion is teaching, more specifically, I get passionate about working with students who are transitioning to the new environment and still need a little nurturing and direction. I have come to understand, though, that the education machine is a broken with corruption. Students and parents come in with a sense of entitlement and expect to get a quick and easy "drive-through" product for their money. I am not sure I even want to be here anymore. Sometimes I feel like I have been raped of my integrity.

On the other hand, I know it is not about what I want. I have to trust in the Lord that if HE doesn't want me here, HE will drop another opportunity in my lap. I certainly would not know what to pursue at this point.

Patience is the most difficult lesson for me. If I could work that one problem out, I imagine all of my answers would come to me easily enough.

I hope you have found and live for your purpose everyday!

Monday, April 19, 2010


Joel 2:23

23 Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given you
the autumn rains in righteousness.
He sends you abundant showers,
both autumn and spring rains, as before.

24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm —
my great army that I sent among you.
It is all too easy to get caught up in the frustrations of every day life and neglect to notice the abundance of blessings that God has showered upon me. I have a great family and have always felt loved. While I lost my mother many years ago, I am blessed to have Daddy living nearby. I have never had a child or grandchild suffer from a life-threatening disease. I have a pretty good job. In a society where so many people are laid off and losing their homes, my job is a great one. It is all about perspective.

I struggle with making good choices for healthy living, but lack the perseverance of our ancestors who suffered without even shelter sometimes on the promise and faith in an abundant future. If I could learn to bend to God's will a bit more, my grain stores and wine vats would overflow. Until that day, I am sustained by the faith that my stores and vats will be in abundance in the next life.

As for this life, I am thankful for the many blessings God has bestowed on me and mine.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Sometimes it is difficult to find time to post, but I want to keep this blog live. Hopefully, it will grow some day. I have been writing in a journal called A Spiritual Refreshment for Women: Everyday Blessings Journal (Barbour Publishing, ISBN 978-1-60260-445-2). I got my copy at Walmart.
The journal provides a daily topic with 2 short scriptures and plenty of room across 2 pages to journal. As an attempt to keep this blog going, I will start posting some of the scriptures and brief thoughts on the topics here. A great place to look up the scriptures in context or in a different translation is Bible Gateway at https://biblegateway.com.


Romans 12 : 6-8

6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his[b]faith. 7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

I Timothy 4 : 14-15

14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.

There is an organization in Jonesboro called Abilities Unlimited. This organization provides services to and assists so-called disabled people live independently. The title of the organization challenges our idea of what “disabled” means. Everyone has some sort of ability. Abilities are unlimited. An individual’s potential abilities are unlimited. The Bible tells us that we ALL have gifts (special abilities), so the people who are stereotyped as “disabled” are not really disabled at all.

It is easy to SAY we all have a gift of a special ability. It is even easy to BELIEVE we all have a gift of a special ability. I can easily spot these gifts in others, but I am confounded when it comes to identifying my own. It doesn’t seem like I am very good at anything. The people I work with tell me that I am a nurturer, but I think my children would disagree. I try to nurture, but I am not very good at it.
I used to feel like I was pretty good at helping students survive college, but I have come to understand that the only thing I really need to teach them is where to find the appropriate person/office to send complaints. My job is no longer of any real value.

The only thing that I am really good at is making people laugh. I can encourage, comfort, and teach with laughter. Sometimes that means poking fun of myself, but that is okay.

If YOU are smiling, my ability is unlimited.

Imagine each of the daffodils in the picture represent an ability.  Which one is YOURS?   

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Leprechaun Chronicles, v03: Jumpin Juice

The Jumpin Juice

Leprechaun Chronicles, Volume 3 (2009)

I got me a real late start this year. I let March slip up on me, and I had not even been down to bait a trap. Twixt the ice storms and the snow storms, the weather has just been too nasty to get down there. Then the ice storm debris is still everywhere, and I had to find a different way in to Daffodil Hill.

I almost didn’t go on the Great Leprechaun Hunt this year on accounta I have been sick, and really ain’t hardly had time to get ready. But then I got to thankin, what the heck else ya gonna do on a Tuesday night? Crap. Ain’t nothing on the television to watch. Might as well pack up and go a hunting. Sides, this year I got me a secret weapon!

Even though we had snow on the ground less than a week ago, the weather was right nice today. The air is warm, but it wisps a gentle cool breath from time to time. The earth is just beginning to green up all scraggily. Ole Moma Nature will need a hair cut soon. There is so much to see in the changing landscape that I got a little distracted on my drive to Daffodil Hill.

I stopped at the county line and stocked up on leprechaun bait. You might well remember that I try my best to abstain from the green spirits, but it is necessary to imbibe if I am to catch the Little Green Dude. It wuz right tough on me, but I forced myself to drink a couple of them beers on my way to the Land of the Leprechauns. You know I am outta practice and all. I needed to warm up jest a little afore I got down to business, and I needed a couple of near empty cans to use for bait.

I should have known the minute that I turned off the highway that I was in for a long night. I had already figured out that this part of the country had been hit hard by the ice storm because miles and miles of highline wires are still down. The poles laid out in fields and ditches resembled the playground of giants, strewn with broken and discarded Lincoln Logs.

After I drove about 10 miles down the gravel road, I pulled onto the dirt road to Daffodil Hill. I did not get very far, though, before I pulled up on a big tree down acrosst the road. Well CRAP! Like I have time for that. I got out and scoped out the situation. While I was searching for a solution, I drank another beer on accounta it helps me to think better. Now ifen I had me a 4 wheel drive, I could of probably gone around the tree, but I was scared to try it under the circumstances. Night was upon me, and there are no houses out that way. Plus, I might get on one of those lines that still be down if I had to walk in the dark. No Sirree. I decided to turn around and come in the back side of Daffodil Hill.

If you have ever seen me drive, you know that I don’t do so well in REEverse. Okay. Okay. I don’t do all that great going straight forward, either. Backerds is a real challenge for me. I guess I had to back up about a mile afore I came to an old cemetery where I could turn around. I was pretty uptight by then, so I figured I should have another beer . . . . just to settle my nerves. It is about 12.623 miles around to the gravel road that comes in the back side of Daffodil Hill. I lost my radio signal about 3 miles from the cemetery. Well, now, I must admit that it took another beer just to help me tolerate the sound of my own singing. My voice ain’t no music of the spheres. It’s more like the noise tires make when they lock and tar up the highway. That beer wuz just for medicinal purposes cuz my ear were a hurting purty bad.

I haven’t taken the back way in to Daffodil Hill for years, and I wasn’t real sure I was on the right road. Nothing looks right with all of the trees down, and it was very dark. Who told me we had a full moon? I finally got to the hill, though. To my great surprise, a fire was smoldering on the hill. I smelled it before I saw it. There weren’t nobody around, though. So I threw some of my wood on the smoldering embers and got a good fire going again.

Whew! That is hard work! I decided I would have me a big glass of tea and maybe something to eat before I set the bait. Can you believe that I FORGOT to bring my tea? I must have Parttimers or something! So there was really nothing for me to do but have another beer on accounta I was pretty thirsty after all that work.

After that, I spread out the blanket by the fire and set a few near empty beer cans for bait. I had to suck down a couple of beers hard and fast cuz I wuz 2 cans short.

Then I sharpened me a stick to make a Spam spear. You ever had Spam on a Stick afore? Spam roasted over an open fire? Mmmmmm MMM! Now that is good stuff. It is really better if you taken some pineapple slices and stick them to the Spam with toothpicks before you start roasting. That is really a bit much for a Leprechaun Hunt, though. I speared me a can of Spam and began to roast it over the fire. Drops of fat from the Spam sizzled and popped on the flames. I crunched on a crisp celery sticks while the Spam roasted, and started humming those old song lyrics,

Spam chunks roasting on an open fire,
Jack Fog setting on my nose,
Lepretide carols being sung by squirrels,
and folks dressed up like Spring gnomes.

I never can remember the rest of the lyrics to that song, so the singing did not last long. Sides, all that celery made me thirsty . . .

I started fixing a plate of finger food to go with the speared Spam when I thought I heard a faint voice in the woods . . . .

. . . the old man in grief pined away.

Then something about a child. I could not quite catch the voice.

The delectable smell of Speared Spam distracted me from listening. It was perfectly roasted, so I took the Speared Spam off the spear and put it on a paper plate that I had already arranged with pickled beets, boiled quail eggs, a chunk of hoop cheese, and celery sticks. This was truly a spectacular culinary feast before my eyes. Just as I was about to slice the speared Spam, I heard laughter off behind me. I turned around and to my surprise out walked the Little Green Dude with a Little Green Dudette and 2 wee Little Green Dudies. Well, now I am here to tell ya that I did not know what to think.

The Little Green Dude must have been terrible distracted cuz he stumbled right upon me. In surprise, he put his hands on his knees and laughed as he exclaimed, “Well curl my tail and call me a pig! If it taint the wee Lassie! Er it that time a year again already?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.

Well, now the Little Green Dudette and the Little Green Dudies must not of never heard that expression before because their laughter tinkled like the blue bells done come to life. Those two little girls fell upon the ground and giggled until the Little Green Dude got plumb tickled himself.

After they finally quit laughing, the Little Green Dude took off his new green hat and waved it to whiff up a little breeze and flourish the crimson plume that adorned it. With a bow and a grand gesture, he said, “Mee Lassie, let me introduce ye to Lacy Leprechaun!”

I am sure you can understand that I was completely speechless, which is quite a feat for me . . . . um or is that feet – as in foot in my mouth . Anywho, it was quite a feat for me, but I was speechless because all these years I was led to believe there were not another leprechaun in the country but for the one. I was so shocked I lost my balance and fell backwards. I would of rolled plumb down the hill if the tree hadn’t broken my fall. I am not sure you will believe the rest of this story, but it is true. Every word of it.

The Little Green Dude helped me sit down. Actually, it was more like he propped me up against the tree. Then he summoned up the Little Green Dudette and the two Little Green Dudies.

“Lassie, this here is me daughter, Lacy. And these youngins herin be Lucille and Lucinda. They er leprechaun twins. Mind you that is quite a rarity. Why in all of my 85 years, I don’t know as to I ever did heered of leprechaun twins afore.” Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Magnifee Cent! is what I say!

Naturally, I offered my hand, and Lacy was happy enough to shake it. The girls were shy, though. They hid behind their mother’s skirts.

I asked Lacy, “Was that you I heard singing in the woods?”

Lacy blushed and lowered her luminous emerald eyes. “Why, yes, yes it was. Did I disturb you?”

“Oh NO!” I exclaimed. “No Lacy. Your voice is beautiful. Please come sit by the fire and sing some more.”

Lacy blushed crimson and said, “perhaps just one song. Girls will you help Marmee sing a song for this nice lady?” The little girls giggled and nodded as they held hands and gathered around their mother who sat on the remains of a mighty oak that was felled by ice just a few weeks ago. The Little Green Dude stamped his feet with delight, and he encouraged the trio. “Sing “Lacy’s Song! Go ahead now.” Lacy began to sing and the two little girls chimed in to add a desolate note to the key passages.

Lacy’s Song
(The Little Green Dudies harmonized in the bracketed lines.)

On a cold winter's night
As the winds blew across the wild moor
Poor Mary came wandering home with her child
'Til she came to her own father's door

[ Papa oh Papa she cried
Come down and open the door ]
Or the child in my arms
Will perish and die
From the winds that blow across the wild moor.

But the old man was deaf to her cries
And not a sound of her voice did he hear
While the watchdog did howl
And the village bell tolled
[ The winds blew across the wild moor ]

Oh how the old man must have felt
When he came to the door the next morn'
And he found Mary dead
[ But the child yet alive
Clutched close to her dead mother's breast ]

Now the old man in grief pined away
[ In grief he pined away ]
And no one they say
Has lived there to this day
[ And the cottage is left to ruin ]

Now the villagers point out the place
Where the ivy grows over the door
Saying there Mary died
Once a fair village bride

[ From the winds that blew across the wild moor
From the winds that blew across the wild moor ]

When they finished the cheerless song, Lacy Leprechaun and Lester Leprechaun I spied sparkling dampness on the cheeks of the Little Green Dude and the Little Green Dudette.

Now by this time I was just about to burst with curiosity. Blimey if I hadn’t done plumb forgot why I came to Daffodil Hill to begin with. Seriously.

I was just about to ask where the Leprechauns of the female persuasion had come from when I noticed the little girl leprechauns eyeing my Spam on a Stick. “Are you hungry,” I asked. Twin heads nodded enthusiastically.

“Have you ever had Spam on a Stick?”

The girls turned to their mother, who answered for them. “We’re visiting from the Motherland, and I’m afraid we don’t know what type of animal Spam is.”

Well, I have to tell you that got the Little Green Dude all stirred up. He waved his hat in the air and stomped his foot. “WHUT? Ye nuvuh heerd of Spam? Well, curl my tail . . . . “ With that, he grabbed up the speared Spam and whipped out his little knife. Before I knew what happened, he had fed my supper to those children. Humph!

Luckily for me, I always keep a can of Spam behind the seat of my truck, just in case of emergency. While I was fetching the second can of Spam, I noticed my secret weapon behind the seat and suddenly remembered what I was a doing there to begin with! I slyly slipped the secret sauce in my pocket.

When I made it back to the fire, the Little Green Dude had gotten into the cooler and helped himself to a beer. Quick before I forgot again, I threw the blanket over him. Oh the cursing was loud and long. The eyes of the Little Green Dudies got big as mushrooms on a hot summer night.

“Father!” shouted the Little Green Dudette. “I must insist you leave off that language around the children!”

“Father?” I asked. “Father?”

From under the quilt I heard, “Alright. Alright. Ye caught me, Lassie. Let me out and I’ll be a splainin to ye.” I let the soft material fall away. “Lassie, this here be me own child, Miss Lacy, and she come from acrosst the Big Ditch to visit us.”

“She’s from Tennessee?” I asked in awe.

“No. She ain’t from Tennessee fer Tarnation. Land’s Sakes, Lassie! Ye think that old Mississip er be the biggest ditch there er? There be another un TWICE the size of the Muddy Missy, and they be a calling her the A Lantik O’Shun, after ourin cuzzins, the O’Shuns. Yessireee. It er TWICE the size a Ole Missy. Maybe even clost to thrice.”

“Well . . . where are you from?” I looked at the Little Green Dudette.

Before she could say anything, Lester spoke up. “Miss Lacy be borned right down thar on the Cache River, but her mother took her away from here. All the ways to ourin Motherland. They be a callin it Ireland. Miss Mary Leprechaun be er mother. Ah . . . Mary nuvuh loved me. She onlyst married me to git outta marrying Hurley Burnideste Leprechaun. A deesgusting little creature he was. Mary’s farther wanted her to be a marrying Hurley right away because he went and caught his little wildflower walking with a gnome. Well, that made Mary’s fadder pop a 3 vessels, as I’m sure you can imajun.”

I was thinking of the sad sad song that Lacy Leprechaun had been singing a bit earlier. I turned to her and asked, “the song ?”

“Yes marm,” she nodded. “That old song be about me own marther. She be a gittin sick on the big boat that crosst Big Ditch. Her ad a fever when we got to me grandpapa’s. And her died in short order. Ye know, I were but six year. Marther’s death kilt my grandpapa, and I was sent to live with my heathen relatives. Lived in the cow pastures. Didn’t even have enough sense to git clost to the water, much less git a beaver fir purrtekchun. Et nothing but taters and dranked MILK fer cryin out LOUD. Not a one of em would help me find my way back to my own farther cuz they did not like the American relatives. It tooked me many a yar to find me way home to mee on fardther. It done be around 43 yar.” With that she walked over and hugged the Little Green Dude.

“Nuff of all this cent tee MENTAL hogwast!” interrupted the Little Green Dude. “This be St. Patrick’s Day. Let us have anorthar beer and sing some songs.”

“How about us have another beer and go after my gold, “ I countered. With that, my leprechaun friend grabbed three beers and gave the rest of the celery and beets to the children. When he wasn’t looking, I slipped a little of my secret weapon into the leprechaun’s beer.

You see, I have been on the puny side this March. March of the Punies. Well, what do you think I found in the back of the cabinet? Weren’t nothing but an old bottle of “the good stuff.” You know that cough syrup with cocaine in it that is so hard to get a script for? Well, I got a big bottle of that special sauce, and I gave the leprechaun a hefty dose of it. You know it makes you very sleepy and very happy. THIS YEAR I am gonna make it home with the gold.
“Drink up, old man,” I said, as I reached for the last egg. “We got work to do.”

The trip into the leprechaun forest should have been easy for me. After all, it is not the first time I went into the woods. I know what to expect now. And I finally understand that I will be safe in the woods as long as I stick close to the leprechaun. I started out feeling all safe. Then I got to noticing how many of us were there together. The key to safety was to stay CLO
SE to the Little Green Dude. There wuz two kids and a lady leprechaun betwixt me and him. That wuz not making me feel all warm and fuzzy.

The forest did not look familiar and the path was completely gone. The damage from the ice storm drastically altered the landscape here. We often had to climb across large trees or go around piles of limbs too high for us to go over. I fell many times, but the gang of nimbly leprechauns never seemed to lose their footing.

It was such a nice warm day, and I expected the evening to be warm as well. It WAS warm by the fire! The deeper we went into the woods, the colder I got. The world did not seem just exactly right, either. Sometimes it felt like I was walking in slow motion while the others scampered off away from me.

I called out to my leprechaun friends to slow down, but they were laughing and deep in conversation. All of the sudden there was a succession of thunder slaps coming from the way of the river. Something scared the beavers. Suddenly the noise of the frogs, crickets, and birds came to a dead silence. The leprechauns crouched near an old tree and blended into the scenery, but I could not make myself move. My legs felt like lead, and my heart was racing. The sharp shrill of the painter scream broke the silence, and I turned my back to the river . . . . searching the woods for the painter. Then my world went dark and musty. I could not see. But I could sure smell, and whatever the hell was on my head smelled like it had been drug around by a family of skunks.

“SKUNK!” I screamed. The only reply I got was another round of thunder slaps as the beavers sent up another warning from the river. Then I felt the severe pain of something piercing the skin on my arm and making a long, but not deep, cut. Was that laughter behind me? It must be the leprechaun. He was trying to get out of paying up the gold. The third round of thunderslaps from the beavers unnerved me, though. I was skeered, but I just could not focus on all of the noises around me. It sounded like some sort of a fight, and the painter was still screaming in the woods.

From the darkness, something grabbed me and started dragging me through the woods. The way was rough, and I was dragged over many piles of limbs that scraped the hide off my backside. The hide off my backside . . . is that a country song? I felt myself shoved into a tree hollow, and the skunk-smelling sack was yanked off of my head. As I scarfed up a deep breath of fresh (well at least fresher) air, I looked around to see where I was. The Little Green Dude stood near. He leaned close and whispered, “lizzen to me good now, Lassie. You gots to stay here and you got to be quite. It’s dagblasteed Hobnobbins what got aholdt of yee. I nevuh evuh thought we’d see them thar varmints in this part of the country again, but here they be. You sit still and be shush! Maybe we will all live through this.

He LOOKED sincere, but . . . .


Do you REALLY expect me to believe in HOBNOBBINS? Seriously! Do I look like I wuz borned yesterday? I don’t believe in such nonsense as hobnobbins.

I started to leave the hollow of the tree when the Little Green Dude quickly shoved the children inside the hollow with me. The look on his face told me that I needed to stay put, whether I believed in Hobnobbins or not. He might be trying to scare me away from the gold, but he was in FRONT of me when that sack was slung over my head. At least I think he was.

I hunkered down in the tree hollow with the children. They thought it was a grand adventure. I was terrified.

The forest was suddenly a cacophony of sounds. There was a clanking that sounded like metal against metal. Birds stopped singing and started squawking. The ole painter still screamed, but it was not as close as it was before. Grandfather Hoot Owl flew by the hollow every few minutes. I thought about running, but where would I run to? And I felt like the world was moving so slowly around me.

You might have a hard time believing what happened next. I mean, it doesn’t seem believable at all, but it really did happen. Grandfather Hoot Owl landed on the ground right in front of the hollowed out tree. Very very slowly he turned his head around backwards and looked at me. Then he whispered to us, “Who, Who, Who will follow me?”

Now I never had THAT happen in the woods before!

The little girl leprechauns got right up and motioned me to come with them and Grandfather Hoot Owl. What are my choices here? Sit in the tree hollow by myself with all that racket around and a painter looking for me or follow the children and their “Grandfather” Hoot Owl? Decisions. Decisions.

I followed the owl. We ran through the woods to the river. We were running away from the racket in the woods. When we reached the slough that led to Leprechaun Lair, I immediately recognized it. I have spent hours walking the river in this stretch of the woods looking for that slough. Now it appears almost as if by magic. How in the . . . .

I paused a little too long, and Owl circled close to my head, urging me on. When we got to the place where the path becomes narrow, 2 large beavers came out of the woods. One stepped up onto the path, and Owl nudged the children to fall in line behind them. I stepped up to the children and cautioned them to be quiet on the path. “We know,” they chim
ed in unison. “We have been this way lots of times. It is dangerous, so we must be perfectly quiet.” I nodded at them, amazed at the wisdom in those young eyes. The second beaver stepped up on the path behind me.
Out of the darkness came the blood curdling howl of a coyote. The beaver behind me stood up on his hind legs and gave me a push with his front paws. We all followed the lead beaver down the path as quickly and quietly as possible. There were many briars along the path that reached for my arms and legs, tearing my clothes and cutting my skin. Bats swarmed the area like blackbirds on a wheat field. I could hear whispers in the woods, but I could not quite make out the words. I thought I heard “hairy hobnobbins” in the whispers, but that could not be.

First of all, I don’t believe in hobnobbins (of course), and also, have you EVER heard of a hairy hobnobbin? Everybody knows the mythical creatures are supposed to have but 3 hairs on their head: 1 black, 1 silver, 1 red. I don’t know what those whispers were, but it couldn’t have been THAT.

After a few minutes, we made it safely to the end of the path and stepped into the gentle glen of Leprechaun Lair. The girls ran to the fire, and each snuggled up to one of the beavers. I found some wood to add to the fire. Then I crouched next to a tree and tried to figure out how the heck I got here and what the heck my plan was.

Well, you know it was cold and all, so I figured I better look around and see if the Little Green Dude had any antifreeze. Sure enough, I found a big tub of beer on ice. Might as well have one while I study on what to do . . . or two.

The girls and the beavers were hungry. I admit that my stomach was making noises, too. I said, “well, let’s go below the tree and find something to eat.” It was clear from the look on the girls’ faces that they knew not to take me near the gold. Instead, one of them ran behind the tree and came back with two little pans. She gave one to me and one to her sister. Then she got a nice little pile of sapling wood for the beavers to munch on. I tasted the funny looking dish. It was a bit greasy, but tasty. I was about to ask when the second little girl chimed, “ I just love bear with possum gravy. Don’t you?” My mouth was full. It took a lot to swallow.

At some point, I dozed off. The children and I slept while the beavers stood watch.
I woke to the mostest awful attempt at singing that I EVER heard!

We're Knights of the Round Table.
We dance whene'er we're able.
We do routines and chorus scenes
With footwork impeccable.
We dine well here in Camelot.
We eat ham and jam and spam a lot.

We're Knights of the Round Table.
Our shows are formidable,
But many times we're given rhymes
That are quite unsingable.
We're opera mad in Camelot.
We sing from the diaphragm a lot.

In war we're tough and able,
Quite indefatigable.
Between our quests
we sequin vests
and impersonate Clark Gable.
It's a busy life in Camelot.
I have to push the pram a lot.

I sat up and saw the Little Green Dude swagger into the gentle glen with his daughter and 7 more leprechauns! They were all singing . . . . well they were making noise in unison. They seemed mighty happy, too. They didn’t even notice me, as they went straight to the beer on ice. I watched them drink and sing for a while.

The Little Green Dudette had noticed me, as she went directly to her sleeping children. The others partied loudly until I stood up. The seven Little Green Strangers all screamed and ran to hid behind fallen trees. The Little Green Dude hiccupped and began to swear, “well I be snuffagalblastuptanuffatreealous! I firgit all bout ye, Wee Lassie! I er . . . . I . . . well, I guesst I figured you woulda headed back to the Hill. Why did ye foller Owl and the beavers? I never took ye ta be a wantin that gold bad enuff to come this fir by yeeself.”

I let loose a low growl of my own before I hissed between my teeth, “do you REALLY think I would leave those children in the woods alone? This had nothing to do with the money! I cannot BELIEVE you think I am that shallow!” You know how I get. Once I start losing my temper, it is a terrible dangerous slide that can quickly turn into an avalanche.

I guess the Little Green Dude musta realized that he was treading some pretty thin water because he jumped up and ran to the tub of beer. He grabbed a nice cold one and offered it to me with a sly smile, “Come on now, Mee Lassie. Ye jest needs to rest a minute. Here now. Take ye a drank of this nice cold beer.” Well, I did not want to be unsociable.

“LeRoy! Larry! Liam! Lafe! Lamont! Darryl! Daryl! Come here! I gots somebody I want you to meet. It’s okay. She be alright! And she usually brangs beer!” The seven Stranger Leprechauns came running out of the woods to the beer tub. I really did not like the way they were gawking at me, like I was the one who wuz unusual or something.

After a few minutes, one of the little men grabbed up a frash beer and offered it to me. As I took it from his small hand, he said, “Hi. My name’s Larry. This is my brother Darryl and my other brother Darryl. Darryl don’t talk much.” Then he began to point to the others, one by one, “This be my nephew LeRoy. LeRoy’s mother, my dear departed sister, be departed.”

“She died,” I asked.

“Naw. Her didn’t DIE. She just departed,” answered Larry. Then he continued, “Lafe is Darryl’s oldest son.”

“Which one,” I asked.

“Lafe,” answered Larry.

“I mean which one is Lafe’s daddy,” asked I?

“Darryl,” answered Larry. Both Darryls were grinning at me in a goofy kinda way, so I decided to let that one go. They coulda been loony leprechauns for all I know, and you don’t want to mess around with that.

“Lamont shake hands with Lassie,” Larry said as he motioned to the shortest of the Stranger Leprechauns. “Lamont be a LooeeeezzeeAnna Leprechaun. Ye probably ain’t seen many of them. Thay usually hang close to Cajun country. Thay sho nuff can cook, though! Hey now! How about some bear with possum and toadstool gravy? Lamont fixed a big batch earlier today.”

“It’s gone. We ate it all when we got here. It was . . . different,” I smiled and nodded at Lamont.

I was a little overwhelmed, but I shook hands with all of them.
Then I turned to the Little Green Dude. “I believe you and I have a little unfinished business.”

“Why now, Lassie, I dount believe we can do any bizzynuss until tomorry, on St. Patrick’s Day,” whispered the sly little leprechaun.

Larry was quick to speak up. “Brother! This er St. Patrick’s Day! Ye know it must be. Otherwise, Lamont woodnunt a made sech a delicacy as possum and toadstool gravy.“

The Little Green Dude stamped his little foot, and said, “I be dagsnuffleoustafolious! Ye be right thar, brother. Sit down, now, Lassie. Let us be having a drink afor we starts ourin bizzynuss. Sides, I wants ye to tell Lamont how to fix that thar Spam on a Stick.”

“What’s a Spam?” asked Lamont.

“What’s a Spam? What’s a SPAM? Lamont ye mean to tell me with all yer culinary skills ye ain’t
nevuh evuh kilt a SPAM afore?” exclaimed the Little Green Dude. Then he sighed and looked at me. He lowered his voice and asked, “Lassie, what is a Spam?”

“Don’t start that crap with me!” I stomped my foot so hard that I nearly felled over. “I’m not ignernt you know. You might be a wily leprechaun, but you’ll not be a distracting me again. I caint hardly wait to get my gold and get back home to count it. Now let’s talk business Mr. Little Green Dude.”

Well you know it just ain’t fittin to try to sashay over business without a social drink, so I decided to have one more. Also, I still had the secret sauce in me pocket. I had almost forgotten about it. So we had another beer. Besides, I wuz purty curious about where all these leprechauns came from. I might as well get a little information while I waited for my chance to doctor the Little Green Dude’s beer.

“I’ll share a beer or two with you my friend, as long as you do not forget that you owe me one large pot of gold!” I warned.

“Aye. Me not be a fergittin, Lassie.”

Just then the Little Green Dude turned his back on me to whisper something to the wee girls. I took the opportunity to add a double dose of the good stuff to his beer.

Now the curiosity was getting the best of me. “So, did ALL of you guys come from across the Big Ditch,” I innocently inquired. Okay. I ain’t all that innocent, but the alliteration is great.

Larry Leprechaun shook his head no, and with a solemn look, said, “no, Lassie. We been prisoner to the Horrible Hobnobbins . . . . somes calls them Hostiles . . . . for many many a year. Many a year ago, we be a making war with the Horrible Hobbnobbins and thar cuzzins the Horny Hobbits. Now don’t look at me like that, Lassie! Me believe yer mind be deep in the ole slough tonight. As Hobbits age, they grow horns. Only the horniest are worthy to be warriors. That’s why they calls em Horny Hobbits.”

I’m sure you can imagine how badly I was blushing. I was quite embarrassed. I was getting very hot, too. My vision blurred a bit, so I moved away from the fire and closer to Larry Leprechaun. He encouraged me to finish up my beer as he continued his story.

“We thought the thar Horrible Hobnobbins be a gone from this country. Then one day they showed up right in front of Farmer with DyNOmight. They drugged ourin beavers that day.”

“They did no sucha thang,” argued the Little Green Dude! He leaned over to engage with Larry, and I took the opportunity to add a little more cough medicine to his newly opened beer.

After they argued a bit, Larry continued. “We had gotten lazy on guard duty cuzzin theyd be no Horrible Hobnobbins or Flippin Farmers around fir a long time. We not be a payin attention. Flippin Farmer blew up the beaver dams, and that killt a bunch of us, but not all of us. The Horrible Hobnobbins ran in and grabbed us up while we wuzza unCONSeeus. Them thar weezlussafusses wouldn’t a been able to take us on iffen we beeed awake. Anywayz. Usins woke up in shakles. The Horrible Hobnobbins et most of us up over the years, and they be a workin hard at fattening up the rest o us.”

I took a deep breath of horror. How could this be? “Right here in these woods,” I asked.

“Naw naw Missy. We been in LooeeeezzeeAnna all this time. That er whar the Horrible Hobnobbin Headquarters ere. We been a plannin to Eescape fir a long time. The Spirit of Saint Pat lured away the Horrible Hobnobbins and freed us from our horrible shakels. They be a chasin us all the way here, but they won’t naught a be chasin nobody, no mores.”

“Why not?” I asked, but I did not hear the answer. I found myself suddenly sick. I leaned against the tree and closed my eyes just for a second. When I woke up, I was stretched out by the fading embers of my campfire. The cooler was turned over and empty. Not a beer around. The blanket hung from a tree. My hair was all tangled up, and my mouth felt like somebody stuffed it with cotton. When I tried to stand, I had a piercing pain in my head. Dizzy. Dizzy. I took a deep breath and stumbled to my truck where I found a ragged and damp piece of paper under a rock on the hood of my truck.

Dear Lassie,

I nevuh did take ye to be a cheat. Ye look so innercent and all. I shore nevuh thought you’d try to spike my drink jest ter get after me gold. Oh yes, Dearie. I knowd all along whut ye wuz a doing. That’s why I switched our dranks. I hope ye head don’t hurt too bad now, Lassie, but ye did put a lotta Jumpin Juice in them thar beers. It is a shame really cuz I wuz all set to give me riches to ye this year. Ye jest had to go an ruin it with yer dishoNESTy. Tetch. Tetch. Tetch.

I be a going away fer a while, mee dear Lassie. Me and LeRoy and Larry and Liam and Lafe and Lamont and Darryl and Daryl be a goin on a trip acrosst the Big Ditch to meet up with me Darlin Lacy’s husband. Who knows. I might even stay a while. Or could be I find me a wee Lassie Leprechaun to brung back as me bride to these here woods.

Now Lassie, I won’t be a needin all of me gold to git acrosst the Big Ditch. So I be a drawin ye a little map. Ifen ye can get past the painters and goblins, the beavers will help ye acrosst the slough. Ifen ye can git thar on yer own, Lassie, ye mayest be a keeping the gold. Least ways keep it until I come a callin for it. HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

I will be a missin ye, Lassie. Ye have entertained an old lonesome leprechaun a bit over the yars and me be a ppresshatin that, even ifen ye did try to dope me with yer Jumpin Juice. Study the map, Lassie. Save some gold to seed me nest when I be a returning.

With Affect Shun
Little Green Dude, Esq.

I turned the page over, and sure enough I found a very detailed map on the back. I dropped down the tailgate thinking that I would sit and study the map. Try to make my way back this morning. You will never believe what happened next! Outta nowhere came a fierce gust of wind, and it blew that paper right out of my hand. I ran after it, but it did me no good. That paper landed right on the last red ember of the fire and POOF it was gone.

From the woods, I heard the gleeful laugh of the leprechaun.