Our favorite leprechaun greeted me with a pot of gold yesterday when I dropped by her house for a wee bit o’ blarney.
“Have some chocolate,” she said. “I buy it from the Boy Scouts.”
Then she held up a basket full of giant candy bars, wrapped in gold.
On Feb. 15, the former Connie Murphy starts packing away the Valentine’s Day hearts and flowers, and setting up the shamrocks. Each window glows with an electric green candle, a big shamrock flag flaps in the wind, baskets of green flowers with white and green ribbons line the front yard where even the city fire hydrant wears a fresh coat of green paint.
Inside, the table stays set with Irish china. Bottomless candy dishes hold green-wrapped chocolates, greeting cards line a shelf, Irish dolls and leprechauns hide everywhere. Even the box of Kleenex wears a festive shamrock cover.The woman has her own blarney stone.
Born with sass and a twinkle, Connie has spent 90 years showing the world that, sad as life can be, there’s always something to smile about.
“People ask me if I’m senile,” she loves to say.”I tell ’em, ‘No! I’m just Irish!'”
She sends out cards for all occasions, stuffed with prayers and the kind of tiny, sparkly stickers that stick to the floor and show up months later on the heel of your shoe.
“I sent the last of my little paper hearts in a card to Father Bill and he wrote back thanking me for the card and for the hearts that the whole church could enjoy,” she chuckled. “Because those hearts spill out everywhere when you open the card.”
Irish blessings hang all over the house, and my favorite reminds me of Connie. “May the sound of happy music and the lilt of Irish laughter fill your heart with gladness that stays forever after.”
She gave me a little tour of this year’s decorations and took the top off a little dish so I could see what was written inside.
“Read this,” she said. “I think it’s beautiful.”
“If you’re lucky enough to be Irish,” it said. “you’re lucky enough.”
I feel that way about our sprightly neighbor.
If you’re lucky enough to know Connie, you’re lucky enough.
Happy St. Paddy’s Day from our neighborhood to yours.