Shamrocks, leprechauns, pots o’ gold. What do those terms bring to mind? For me the instant correlation is St. Patrick’s Day, a fun and joyful spring celebration. As a child, I was sure the old stories must be true and anyone lucky enough to stumble upon a rainbow’s end would find the leprechauns’ pot of gold. I was also certain that mortals rarely, if ever, find the end of the rainbow.
As a good storytelling mother should, I perpetuated this childhood myth for my own children. After all, this is how society maintains its customs and stories. Of course, I embellished and brought little green people to life so that my children could almost see the wee ones going about their daily tasks.
After creating a leprechaun world and sending my own wee blonde lassies in search of four leaf clovers, I found myself confronted with a serious problem when it rained one late spring afternoon. My eldest daughter was no fool and neither was the youngest. With stories such as I had told, they were certain we only had 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 something or other, buckled them into their car seats, and went in search of the rainbow’s end. We could see the colorful 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. A visiting friend and her daughter joined the expedition. Everything is more fun if it is shared--especially when one is about to make a fool of oneself.
High spirits and laughter filled the car as we jaunted east on Old 40 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, of course. The adults thought more along the line of a car that had a roof-liner that stayed in place instead of drooping down to rest upon the driver’s and passengers’ heads.
As we got closer to Yocemento, we could see r-o-y-g-b-i-v intensifying. Rounding the bend, we saw the rainbow ended somewhere just north and west of the Yocemento where Old 40 angled. I turned north 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 the north side of Big Creek. By now I was nearly as excited as the kids, not because I thought I would find gold, but because I never imagined seeing the exact spot a rainbow ended.
The navigators were right. Our search soon ended in someone’s driveway.
Of course, the kids were looking for a pot spilling over with 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 in a masterpiece.
The end of the story was perfect. There was no gold. There were no leprechauns. But...there was a wonderful goose--a story book goose, white and prissy--standing right where the rainbow met the grass. It nibbled at the greens and looked nonchalant while we gazed. It obviously had no idea it played a role in the formation a lifetime memory for two mothers and three children out on a lark.
To this day, when the light is perfect and the girls and I see a rainbow over Yocemento way, we wonder if the goose still stands at the end of the rainbow.