Shamrocks, leprechauns, pots o’ gold make me think instantly of St. Patrick’s Day, a joyous spring celebration. As a child, I was sure the old stories must be true and anyone lucky enough to stumble upon the rainbow’s end would find a leprechauns’ pot of gold. I was also certain that mortals rarely, if ever, find that arc’s end.
As a storytelling mother should, I perpetuated this childhood fantasy for my own daughters. After all, this is how society continues its customs. Of course, I embellished and brought little green people to life so that my children could almost see the wee people going about their daily tasks.
After creating a magical world and sending my own blonde lassies in search of four leaf clovers, I found myself confronted with a serious problem when it rained one spring afternoon, launching a stunning and nearby archway of color. My eldest daughter was no fool and neither was the youngest. With such tales as I had woven, they were certain we had only to follow the rainbow to its end to find great riches.
Nothing would do until I loaded both tots into our green boat, a huge Mercury Marquis, buckled them into their car seats, and went in search of this colorful ending. We could see the multi-hued arc somewhere between Ellis and Hays, near Old 40 Highway. From there we winged it.
With a one-and-a-half-year-old echoing everything she heard and a sharp-eyed five-year-old navigating, we took off to find fortune joined by a visiting friend and her daughter. Everything is more fun if it is shared--especially when you are about to make a fool of yourself.
Laughter filled our vehicle as we jaunted east in search of treasure. Crossing our fingers that the rainbow would not fade before we found it, we imagined how we would spend our loot. The children wanted candy and toys. The driver thought more along the line of a car that had a roof-liner that stayed in place instead of drooping down to rest upon her and passengers’ heads.
Getting closer to Yocemento, we could see the r-o-y-g-b-i-v shades intensifying. Rounding a bend, we saw that our search ended somewhere just north and west of the Yocemento elevator where Old 40 angled. I turned to a chorus of, “We are getting closer. Look, Mom, it’s just over there.”
Just over there meant I had to follow a lane paralleling Big Creek. By then, I was as excited as the kids, not because I thought I would find gold, but because I never imagined seeing where a rainbow met earth.
The navigators were right. Our quest ended in someone’s driveway.
While the kids looked for a pot spilling gold coins, my friend and I enjoyed the moment. It was one of those water-color days where the hues of sky, trees, grass, and dirt were intense, defined, perfect. We felt as if we were painted into an old masterpiece.
The story ended with no gold, no leprechauns. But... a wonderful goose--a story book goose, white and prissy--stood right where the rainbow touched the grass. It nibbled at the greens, looking nonchalant as we gazed awe struck. It obviously had no idea it played a role in the formation a lifetime memory for two mothers and three children on rainy day lark.
To this day, when I see a rainbow, I wonder if a goose nibbles grass at its end.