Coming of Age Friendship Happy


My dear Auntie Gobnait was very upset that I did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up. She wanted the best for me, an innocent five-year-old boy in Ireland, and so, with the best of intentions, she started inviting her friends over to afternoon tea parties for storytelling. That's when they began to give me advice about what to do when I met a leprechaun. First I was to determine whether he was in a good mood. Second I was to be ready to give him my three wishes so that my family would become better off from my chatting with him. Third I was to make sure that I got a new pair of shoes from him because they had lots of good shoes they were giving away.

My Auntie Gobnait wanted me to become a dreamer like she was and decided to take me to a place named Knock where  God had appeared to children. By the time we got there together, all traces of that Apparition had gone but we were still able to walk on the ground where it happened.. I walked around with her, praying the rosary, and then before I knew it I was looking for God's Angels. It was then she told me that I had my own Guardian Angel and He was looking out for me. So I decided He would be with me not only while I was in that area where God had appeared to the children.BUT ALWAYS.

A few nuns had set up a tent and had baked cookies for us visiting pilgrims. The cookies were really nice and we hung out there for a while chatting with them. When we arrived home I was convinced I was on the right track until one of my Mums friends asked me what I would be when I grew up!   I said I did not know. Inwardly now I felt I did not care either. After my pilgrimage with Auntie growing up had beome such a vague concept the future was unfathomable..

I started to dread that question and for God's sake, it seemed to be what grown-ups were obsessed about. I started saying I was going to be a farmer and then I changed that idea because I found out that farmers had to get up really early in the morning to milk their cows!. Then I decided I wanted to be a teacher because they got long paid summer holidays and they could have a short day- home at 3.30. The less work you had to do the better as far as I was concerned.

Then my parent's friends started noticing I was sulking and trying to dodge the dreaded question. and it was then Aunt Gobnait told me to go and ask a leprechaun what I should be. I did eventually find a tree where leprechauns were rumored to hang out, but I did not speak to one. There were none there. I found an old monastery that a saint had built using God's strength to lift the heavy boulders he needed to build the little church and one day while I was sitting on the rock where the church used to be a leprechaun came to me and he asked me what my wish was. I panicked, got tongue-tied, did not know what to say, and told him I would get back to him.

When I went home and told my parents what had happened, that I had been sitting in the old monastery ruins and a leprechaun had asked me what I wished for they said "oh my god you are a lucky boy you should ask him for""... Then they all got into an argument about what I should ask for and there and that was evidence enough for me that growing up was a whole new ballgame and fraught with problems.

That was so weird because my parent's friends were always telling me that growing up was the thing to do, you know because as a growing boy you get to shave, have long trousers, be tall, and get a car and then have a wife and your own family and become A Boss. That's what they said, but never gave a hint about what do you DO when you grow up!  That was the big issue and although it seemed great to be a grown-up, sorting out what you do was the crux of the matter.  I could never sort it out.

After the leprechaun incident, my parents became very busy and were sleeping a lot and I could never get any space to chat with them. I felt kinda lost or on the edge of the family.  That's when they set me up to learn how to play golf-, and (maybe one day) become a professional golfer! That's when the trouble really started. I started talking to god before my tee shots saying " God won't you please keep this tee shot straight", or" God Please keep my golf ball from landing in water hazards or that sand trap over there".. Then when my prayers stopped being answered and I kept on getting into sand traps, water hazards and railway tracks I wondered why Nobody in heaven heard me. 

I started doing some research into that and one day I was in the library and I found a note on the ground that  said: "go to the beach and see what got washed up there for you." I asked my parents if we could do that, and they said "Yes and you might learn how to fish and open a fish shop when you grow up". "Ugh, here we go, again," I thought to myself.

However, one day while I was fishing, a monk from a nearby monastery came along and started chatting to me about what waves think of themselves. He said each of them knew they were part of the ocean and were happy to play their part.  He said that the best way to grow up was to have nice thoughts about how great the universe was and it did not matter what job or work I did. That was when I saw the light. I danced along the beach singing " I can do whatever I want because the Universe is going to look after me"

I quit golf and fishing and all that stuff and got a job helping old people pass their day by visiting them in their homes or in senior centers. I was surprised when I noticed that they kept asking me " Ronnie, why would I choose to stay an instant more where I do not belong when God Himself has given me His Voice to call me home?". They seemed anxious to talk like this to me about their concerns about staying alive. They were so old they were like helpless children lost in their world and not knowing what to do with their future. I helped them play cards, and even sew tapestries.. They told me I was a nice young man, and even though only eighteen years old, so understanding about their relationship with the world. I did not say it was because I felt the same way about the future as they did! I knew what being on the edge of a wilderness not having a clue about which direction to take felt like.

Then one of them, Anne Regis, a friend of my Aunt Gobnait, died and bequeathed me her three-acre farm. That cured my ambivalence about growing up!  I became a farmer and today I have chickens, honey bees, and a sustainable garden, no cows though. I'm still a bit ambivalent about being a farmer though, I sold off the cows because when the rooster crows in the morning I prefer to snore back in reply.

July 23, 2022 02:42

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Tommy Goround
22:53 Aug 03, 2022

Amen. I could not put this down. Thank you.


Peter Naughton
03:34 Aug 18, 2022

Glad you liked this Tommy, thank you


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
13:33 Aug 02, 2022

Hi Peter, I like the Irish setting with leprechauns. I didn't known their shoes are demanded! Also I feel Paulo Coelho's echoes woven into the story. ( I would also appreciate your comment on my most recent story, Peter. Thanks in advance.)


Peter Naughton
02:17 Aug 03, 2022

Thank you, Santina. I love Paulo Coelho's writing too. In the west of Ireland, leprechaun shoes were in demand.


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.