I never knew this was such an important holiday. In years past I spent March 17th in an overcrowded pub, drinking lots of beer and howling the words to "Finnegan's Wake." I thought it was just an excuse to wear silly clothes and get sloppy.
But no. All the kids in my daughter's class for the past month have been preparing for this day by building leprechaun traps, getting green outfits together, writing letters to the leprechaun...
That's right - I said letters. My kid went on a gold hunt all over the house and put it all in a baggie for Louie, along with a letter written in green crayon. Louie is the wee man's name, apparently. I bet that Louie is really bumming about his missing Chuck E Cheese coins; no worries , Louie - you're getting it all back today!
Of course, Louie has to leave something in return. Fine. Louie prepared a card and a tiny gift. Louie was READY.
Last night, at seven PM, my daughter announced that what she really, really wanted from the leprechaun was a real shamrock plant. Trying not to let my consternation show, I mused that Louie probably wouldn't be able to find a shamrock plant at this late hour.
"Oh, no, Mommy," Genna said confidently. "He's the leprechaun, and he lives in Ireland. He's going to get that shamrock plant for me; I just know he will."
I settled her down in front of a movie and rushed off to call Louie. Louie was on his way home from work, so I asked him if he could stop at Walmart and pick up a shamrock plant. Louie sounded disgruntled, but he said he would try.
Genna went to sleep, and Louie arrived with the plant - a small cactus. Shamrocks don't grow at this time of year, it seems. Thanks a lot for that joke, Mother Nature!
I rushed to the note that Louie had written to Genna and added one last line: "No shamrocks, but this is an Irish cactus."
She was none too pleased at first this morning, but after reading the note she accepted it pretty well. Because you did know that Ireland has its own special breed of cactus, right? Of course it does!