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The Blues of the Leprechaun (standard:Inspirational stories, 1571 words)
Author: Spencer O'DunnAdded: Mar 07 2003Views/Reads: 3581/1455Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Irish immigrant barkeep influences the lives of many through his words and love of Ireland.

'Tis a pain in the neck being Irish these days.  I mean I can't turn on
my public broadcasting without getting a headache from the tappin of 
those Riverdance fools or the screechin of those old has beens, the 
Three Irish Tenors.  They should be called the three overweight Irish 
Tenors.  How many times can you weep hearing "Danny Boy" before you 
want to grab the remote control and change the channel?  It's as if you 
just discovered the joys of Ireland yesterday.  And of course 
everything is "cletic" these days.  "Celtic" this and "celtic" that.  
All these Irish wannabe's are claiming their "celtic" roots.  If only 
they knew the half of it.  Sure it's great to walk into a pub and order 
a pint of guiness or to share stories or fables of the old sod back 
home.  But the truth is there is no four leaf clover anywhere and 
kissing the blarney stone don't bring nothing but a headache and 
chapped lips. 

I came to the good old U.S. of A. thirty years ago when I was thirty six
years old.  Quick, do your math.  Let me save you the trouble.  I'm 
sixty six years old and if you think there's a resemblance between me 
and the patron saint of Ireland, Barry Fitzgerald - you're right.  I 
came here to Chicago to open one of the first truly authentic 
pre-celtic Irish bars.  It was on the near north side.  It was a good 
time for awhile.  Working with my mates and serving drinks and telling 
stories of the emerald isle to anyone who would plant their rump down 
on one of our authentic Irish bar stools. 

"Hey, Sean, tell us the one about Michael Collings granddaughter!" 

That's my name, Sean.  Sean Dennis Patrick O'Brien.  Can't question my
heritage can you?  Well, my original intent was to stay here in Chicago 
for about six months and then travel a bit out west.  I wanted to see 
Mt. Rushmore and Ole Faithful and buffaloes.  But I found that my 
traveling days ended here in Chicago.  It really wasn't bad.  I kinda 
liked it here.  Especially when they elected an Irish mayor named 
Daley. It was a good life.  I had my friends and I had my mates and I 
had a job and a warm place to stay and I got to talk about Ireland.  
Ireland...every night stories of my youth...stories of my ma and pa.  
Stories of Dublin and Cork and Belfast.  Stories that had a touch of 
the tear and a lump in the throat.  I've always asked myself why?  
Why'd the people of the windy city need to hear about the days of my 
youth in Dublin?  Wasn't there enough poverty here?  Didn't they know 
what longing and fighting and suffering meant?  Poverty is poverty here 
or there or God knows where.  Love is the same in Africa or China or 
Chicago or Ireland.  But they wanted more and more and more. 

"Tell us another one, Leprechaun!" 

I wasn't no leprechaun!  Now, stop right there.  That's one thing I
won't stand for!  They could call me red, or shamus or clancy but not a 
leprechaun!  You see a leprechaun ain't real.  A leprechaun is a 
figment of someone's imagination.  More mischief and fantasy.  But you 
see, I'm flesh and blood and my stories make me cry and long for a day 
when I didn't know what true pain and suffering were. 

The bar was a success.  Every night I went to work at 4:00 and left at
4:00.  Days turned into weeks, which turned into years which turned 
into decades.  I was sixty before I knew it.  Still telling the same 
stories to the same bar stools.  Still singing the same songs and 
heavin the same drunks into the same yellow cabs driven by men whose 
names I couldn't begin to pronounce.  I was tired..plum tired.  I was 
tired of dragging myself to the bar every day.  Most of my mates had 
left or died or got married to strong willed Chicago lasses who 
demanded their time and their fidelity.  But, more important to me was 
the fact that my life was becoming a sham.  A masquerade. 

I'd been here in Chicago almost as long as I had been in Ireland.  My
dialect became more near north side than northern Irish.  I was 
starting to think I was becoming something of a Ringling Brothers clown 
than a true son of the sod. 

Sean Patrick, I said to myself, you have become no more Irish than
Michael Flately and his Riverdancers.  Now, what are you going to do 
about it?  This is the time for decision, for action. So I decided to 
quit the bar, to pack up my bags and return to Ireland.  So I decided 
to sell the place to the highest bidder, sublet my apartment to some 
young college student and make a dash to Air Lingus and soar back to 

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