Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Real Story Behind The Creighton Leprechaun Post #30


        It was late March in 2006, 2 years and 2 months BM – Before Mobile.  We had barely heard of Mobile.  We were still in Syracuse where, not alot goes on during the winters for those who are not avid snow fans. St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are about it.

With green everywhere and talks of leprechauns all over the news, my son Tom, then 14, googled the word.  Suddenly, he came barreling downstairs laughing, begging me to go up to the office and look at what came up.  There were five of us, myself, a girlfriend, and my three kids.  Tom pulled up the video of the Creighton Leprechaun.  We watched it over and over, laughing hysterically at those poor people deep down in Alabama, thinking they had seen a Leprechaun. 

        At this point, I had been introduced to Birmingham and had fallen in love with it, which gave Tom all the more reason to goad me about this being in Alabama.   I assured him that this would never happen in ‘the ‘ham’!  Mobile was far, far from Birmingham!

        Time went on and we forgot about the Creighton Leprechaun…that is, until we decided to move to Mobile.   Tom asked many questions about the area.  ‘Where is it?  What’s it like?’  Then as Tom’s face often does when he thinks of a joke or remembers something humorous, his eyes lit up and with an open mouthed, half-smiling gasp, he ran to the computer and typed in ‘Leprechaun in Alabama’.  Sure enough, the Creighton video came back up and, like that night two years before, he ran back downstairs announcing that we were moving to where the Creighton Leprechaun is.  

        As I mentioned in one of my first three posts, when I first visited Mobile, I only saw Airport Boulevard - the much busier version of Erie Boulevard – only with palm trees.  When people asked where we were moving, still being attached to Birmingham, I would say, “To a place like Erie Boulevard with Palm Trees!”  Tom, however, in his typical teasing way, would pipe in, “To the place with the Creighton Leprechaun!”  And then he would promptly tell them how to find it on the web.  

        Flash forward to Christmas of 2009.  I was at a neighborhood Christmas party in Mobile where a teacher of the host’s daughter was a guest.  Her date was a refined, well dressed, black gentleman named Dan.  The party lasted late and there was about eight of us who really connected and stayed to nearly 2:00 a.m. cleaning and hanging out.  This couple was among them.  We had all had a few drinks when the man spoke up and asked if I had heard of the Creighton Leprechaun.  I said yes and excitedly told him the story of my son discovering it two years before we knew we were moving here.  He looked at me very seriously and said, “I’m the man who started it all!” My ears were perked!   Being one that has never experienced the extra-terrestrial, ghosts, or other-worldly experiences, I love to hear about it from those who have.  But a leprechaun?   Come on!

        At the time, Dan had been struggling with a major life decision.  Not wanting to make a mistake, he took this very seriously.  He decided to make a fleece with God, asking for a sign if he was to take a certain path.  But what sign should he ask for?  It was St. Patricks season (in Mobile everything is a season)  when Dan got an idea.  ‘With all this talk about Leprechauns, why not ask God to let him see the image of a one in a place he wouldn’t expect it.  He put out the fleece and went on his way.

        Near dusk that night, he was driving home when,  turning into his driveway, he saw the image of a Leprechaun up in a tree with it's eyes shining like lights.  He got out of the car and stared at it to make sure he wasn’t imagining.  He knew it really was Mistletoe!  For those in the north who have ever wondered where it comes from,one place is Mobile, Alabama.   Many trees are filled with the ball-like bunches.    The reason the eyes lit up was that the moon was directly behind it and shone through two holes in the bunch.    Not wanting to be presumptuous, he went to his mom’s house and asked her to come and tell him what it looked like – without telling her why.

        She immediately said ‘It looks like a leprechaun.’  He told her his dilemma and the fleece he had put out before God.  She, being quite religious, went and got a friend who also confirmed it.  Then she ran and began telling others.  Before Dan knew it, people were swarming around to see the Leprechaun.  The original story was lost and many new ones circulated.  Someone called the news media and they showed up and created their own story, chosing to interview the people who were the least like Dan; and who had no idea how it all came about.

        Dan talked about the blessing he’d received in spite of the humiliating news coverage.   He had opted to leave the scene once the ‘Leprechaun’ took on a life of its own.  Our conversation shifted to the news media and the irresponsible reporting just to get a story.   Obviously the newscasters didn’t have a clue how it started.  They just took what they thought would make a good story and spun it.

        I was touched by his story because I too, have put out fleeces at many junctures of my life.    It makes me think of how much we hear, both in the media and through the ‘grapevine’, that may have a small grain of truth, but is not even remotely accurate.  Someone sees an opportunity to put a spin on it just to draw attention, make it funny, dramatic, or even to inflict harm on another.  And we can be so quick to jump on the bandwagon at someone else’s expense, while not having a clue of the details, facts or origins, or the pain and suffering that we may be causing another person.  

       I, too, was quick to laugh - Okay!   The videos are hilarious, hence I have put them here for your enjoyment!  But it is only fair to put the true story along with them too.  I was quick to make judgments without any concrete information; without knowing anything about the heart, the pain, and the blessings of the man named Dan, whose prayers were answered by the Creighton Leprechaun.

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