My dad was a highly intelligent man. I’m not just saying that because I’m biased, although I am. I’m saying he was intelligent as a matter of fact. He was an aerospace engineer at Grumman. He was a level headed man, a devout Catholic and a very proud Irish American. His mother had been born in County Mayo, Ireland and his paternal grandparents came from County Cork. He was also a huge family man….evinced by the fact that we had ten children in our family. My father shared this story with my oldest sister, Elizabeth.
My dad and his older brother and sister were close when they were kids growing up in Queens, New York. As adults however, they didn’t keep in touch as much as they would have liked, though they all lived relatively close to one another. Growing families, jobs and other obligations kept them apart; though during holidays and summertimes they would plan get-togethers to catch up on what they had missed in each others’ lives.
When I was ten years old, my dad’s brother Vince passed away suddenly in an accident at work. I’m sure my dad had plenty of regret that they hadn’t had more time spent together. Perhaps my uncle felt the same way, even after he had passed.
My dad woke up suddenly the night after the wake. Through the darkness, he saw what looked like a leprechaun sitting on the television by his side of the bed. The leprechaun had his little legs dangling off the front of the t.v. My father stared incredulously at the little man for a few seconds, then looked at digital clock on the nightstand. It was a few minutes after four. He looked again at the television, sure enough the jaunty little guy was still there and this time he waved at my dad! In awe, my dad grabbed the flashlight that he kept by the side of his bed and shone it on the television. There was nothing there.
As I said, my father’s family were very proud of their Irish roots. My dad was convinced to his dying day that the little leprechaun figure was the form in which his brother Vince chose to come back to say good-bye to his little brother.