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Anyone with sense knows that leprechauns exist. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a boring person with absolutely no imagination. They were folks with much sense about leprechauns. Thias was about my age, though he was Ian’s friend; and Riah was Ian’s age even though she was my friend.

One year our mothers bought Riah and me matching sweaters; pink-colored, with blue and peach and light green stripes. When we played games of make-believe, Riah was always the damsel in distress

And I was always the warrior.

She would wear my tiara, and I would pretend to carry a bow and arrows, or a sword.

Thias and I were always in tiffs.

We were both strong-willed and thought we each had the best ideas for the games of make-believe. But we all still had a fun time.

One year we had a Spy Club and got to dress in black. I had a little golden pocket-mirror that folded out like a pocket watch; and I watch over my shoulder for followers while I pretended to put on my mom’s lipstick. We would learn codes and make up our own. And people would stare at us kids and our moms when we walked into a fast food place dressed all in black after one of our missions.

On Saint Patrick’s Day we would have a grand time over at their house, or our South Bay house.

I would pretend to be an Irish dancer in my green T-shirt and black-and-white plaid skirt.

I was pretty good at it.

Thias would have the bongo drums, and Ian would pretend to play his miniature guitar. Sometimes I would pretend I could play an Irish tune on my violin, though I only knew classical music at the time. Riah would usually get the blue plastic recorder that served as a flute. We would play the Chieftains and pretend we were the ones playing.

We’d hunt for leprechauns and find a series of clues to find the hidden treasure.

After watching part of A Knight’s Tale (not including the scenes that kids weren’t supposed to see) we’d all decide to be knights. I would draw up shields like Chaucer did for Will; making up the names of the lands and using my drawing skills to fashion the papers of knighthood.

Or I would make up stories, writing them in my Winnie the Pooh journal. Riah was always Queen Ruby. I can’t remember who I was. Usually I was the Scarecrow lending a friend my red socks so she could be Dorothy and skate across the wood floor.

In summer we’d go out in the dry rustling Tall Grass in the back property of their yard, and we’d see how many grasshoppers we could catch. Or we would play with their cats or their dog. Sometimes Thias would play video games and we’d get annoyed with him because he didn’t want to play our make-believe games.

Even after the Saint Patrick’s Day events stopped, I still looked for leprechauns and did Irish dancing.

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