Catching a Leprechaun!
The leprechaun is a tiny elf-like creature living in the forests of Ireland. Some were brought to Canada in suitcases by Irish people. The leprechaun has a pot of Gold wrapped in birth registration paper for the lucky person who catches the leprechaun. Should you encounter this tiny elf, you must run quickly to try and catch him. If you catch him the pot of gold and birth registration paper will be yours. You must be careful because he is a tricky little fellow and will try to slip through your fingers if he can. His shenanigans and playfulness are known to be the curse of those hunting for gold and their birthright. Many Irish people go home without their gold or their birth registration.
It was Dad who first told me the leprechaun story. I was six years old and we were visiting Grandpa and Grandma Graydon´s home in Lacombe. I was mesmerized by the little ceramic leprechauns that Grandma and Grandpa had sitting in their living room. Dad told me that the leprechauns waited until everyone had gone to bed and then came alive to dance and play. That was a story that I will never forgot. I knew that it was a true story.
I started hunting for the GOLD and my Irish birth registration three years ago. I had encountered an Irish elf in France who told me about the process but I was already living in Europe and had little access to the documents needed to start the application. Leprechaun police tried to confuse me with the number of documents that would be required, some from Canada, some from Ireland, some that could be obtained on line and others that required personal attendance at Registries. Almost all required original certified copies. Leprechaun police were alert to any attempts that I might make to take shortcuts.
Proof of lineage to Grandpa Graydon who was born in Northern Ireland was required. It sounded simple; he was my father´s father, he was my grandfather. He was Grandpa Graydon. That was not, however, enough to satisfy the Alberta registry and the Irish embassy in Ottawa, staffed with people who guard the secret hiding places of the leprechauns.
Aunt Joyce and other Graydon family members in Canada and in Norhern Ireland were helpful in providing information of names and birthdays and dates of marriage etc. I was reminded by cousin David that it was Grandpa Graydon´s birth and death certificate that was required, not Great Grandpa Graydon and that I should stop my wild goose chase across the hills and dales of Ireland where I was taking grave rubbings from the tomb stones of my ancestors. I had been confused by leprechauns who wanted to play.
Aunt Joyce helped with my application to the Alberta Registry to obtain Grandpa Graydon´s death registration. She, his daughter, was one of the few people with the right to make the application. She and her son knew that the leprechauns were crafty and were trying to distract me. They were valiant in facing the leprechaun guards to help me. They both knew that brother Bill and uncle Bill would be happy for his daughter to find the pot of gold and obtain her Irish birth registration.
The package of documents gradually took shape and was sent to the Irish Registry in Ottawa. One of the shenanigans that the Leprechauns played was to confuse me with their waiting game. I was told that it may take up to 18 months to process the application so I waited patiently. No word, no gold, no registration. Finally, realising that leprechauns only work at night and might also be trying to come up with plans to avoid capture, I contacted the Irish embassy. I was told by a leprechaun guard at the embassy that the embassy had sent a letter to the Canadian address that I had provided eight months earlier. By that time I was no longer in Canada but in Europe waiting to hear if my application had been granted. The leprechaun guard advised me that my attempt to catch a leprechaun and obtain the GOLD and birth registration paper had not been successful. She told me that playful leprechauns had put the wrong date of birth on Grandpa Graydon´s death registration and that the Irish embassy required that the date of birth be the same on the birth registration and the death registration. The Leprechaun guard told me that I would have to go back to Alberta to prove that an error had been made on the original document and to have Aunt Joyce provide authority for me to make a formal declaration that an error had been made and request that the registry amend the date of birth on the Grandpa´s death registration.
I booked a ten day trip to Alberta. Would I be able to have the changes made in ten days?
Everything seemed fine until leprechaun guards in one Alberta city confused their leprechaun cousins in a second Alberta city. There was always leprechaun games played between the two cities. Leprechaun guards in the first city mislaid my application by placing it in a green cloverleaf file. I was lucky to find a leprechaun guard in the second city who took it upon himself to ensure that the date would be changed a second time and the new document sent by the leprechaun guards and courieres directly to the Irish embassy in Ottawa.
Once in Ottawa, the embassy sent the application for permission to catch a leprechaun back to Ireland for approval. I sensed that the leprechaun guards in Ireland were dancing around trying to decide if they wanted this new Irish citizen. Fortunately, an intelligent leprechaun guard saw that I was born on July 12th, Orangeman´s Day, and decided that I was entitled to obtain my Irish birth registration. Unfortunately a jealous leprechaun guard became involved, resulting in a skirmish. Fortunately, the intelligent leprechaun guard in the north focused on my birthday, Orangeman´s Day, and granted the birth registration. When another jealous leprechaun guard in Canada received the birth registration, he could not understand why a Canadian Irish woman wanted her birth registration to be sent to Spain so did not send the registration to the address that I had provided the leprechaun couriers. This time, however, I knew that the leprechaun guards were playing and that I had to intervene personally. I contacted the leprechaun couriers and asked them to retrace their steps to pick up the package at the Irish embassy in Ottawa. When the leprechauns delivered the package to my door in Spain, I found that it contained a gold embossed Irish passport. Dad´s story was true.
I used my Leprechaun Passport to travel to Belfast where I was picked up and taken to a secret Irish garden. At first I didn´t see the leprechaun because he pretended to be plastic and was hiding among the trees and flowers. He did not
think that I saw him but I saw his jolly leprechaun smile and knew that he would come alive at night. I was quick and held him still so that a photo could be taken. If you look closely you will see the twinkle in his eyes and if you stay up all night you will undoubtedly see us playing together in the garden. Here are my pictures to show that Leprechauns do exist!
More Evidence from Alabama! They made news. ( Thanks Maggie)
A l’origine, cette toile est une commande. Donc, commande veut dire : travaux à finir pour telle date,
avec quelques soucis de détails, de coloration par exemple, d’ambiance générale, de format, etc…
Cette toile a été exposée, parmi une série de 10, à l’Espace Culturel du CHRU de Montpellier, Espace
Culturel avec lequel je collabore depuis plusieurs années.
Je remercie donc l’Action Culturelle du CHRU de Montpellier et ses acteurs principaux : Louise
AUBERT, Katia, ainsi que Charalee GRAYDON, journaliste internationale.
Voici, pour comprendre cette toile, qui mesure 1m70 x 99 cm, quelques extraits du texte qui
« (…) Pour moi, cette toile est importante puisqu’elle annonce la couleur d’une manière radicalement
opposée à l’atmosphère, et le génie, de l’écrivain si charnel COLETTE.
Cette toile s’intitule « FEU ! » et parle de la guerre, de la pulsion de mort, des collines informes, de la
terre noire et émiettée, de la brume sale, des brouillards intenses qui se figent, de l’avenir qui se
La Syrie, l’Afghanistan…
Bien d’autres pays …
La nausée, la haine, la peur.
Je souhaitais parler un peu de ces 4 éléments que l’humanité entière ne cesse de plier, de froisser, de
Je ne pouvais que partir de ce point.
Je ne pouvais qu’essayer de déployer une combinaison de formes qui irait, peut-être, à contre-pied
ou à contre-courant de ce thème toujours aussi inaccessible (Exposition : « Les 4 Eléments », CHRU
de Montpellier, Espace Culturel, mai 2012.) »
(…) « Une image s’est alors peu à peu imposée, comme pour conclure un temps très lent à peindre
des corps qui flottent, corps morts, jusqu’à devenir moi-même la terre qui colle, les ombres
efflanquées, le pitoyable attelage, la rivière boueuse aux reflets de sang. » Cette image ? Deux corps très vivants qui sont venus en surimpression, deux corps libres, aux bras
vifs, aux visages dégagés, guettant le mouvement de l’air, cherchant le son, les hanches rivées à la
terre dans un axe très droit, prêts à danser, à goûter … entre l’eau et l’air, la terre et le feu ( « Soyons
les plus … Soyons les plus beaux » – 92 cm/ 72 cm. )
Ces deux personnages ont pris leur place et j’ai alors accepté l’invitation d’une combinaison où
plusieurs toiles ont vu le jour. Toutes ces toiles restent en lien étroit avec la première (« Feu ! ») ainsi
qu’avec d’autres formats, qui ne peuvent s’en détacher, comme par un lien affectif tout autre, où la
nature est peinte, dessinée, observée : « Terre floue et nette en nuances nacrées » – 26cm x21 cm x
4, 2006 ; « 4 éléments pour Fukushima » – 130 cm /97 cm, partie 1 et 2 – 2012 ; « Eaux » , 92 cm /72
cm – 2010 ; « 4 éléments, combinaison », série, 55 cm x 46 cm x 4 – 2012.
La plage est lisse comme en hiver … Terre irradiée, feu irradiant, eau contaminée, air ultra toxique.
La « toxicité du périmètre », nouveau barème de calcul des territoires interdits, nous renvoie chaque
jour à cette terre japonaise mise en quarantaine, terre figée sous des millions de regards…
Mes deux personnages s’habillent alors de combinaisons plastiques, protectrices. La terre et l’air ne
sont plus ni boue ni peau étrange, brouillée comme un lait qui tourne, le brouillard s’est enfin levé.
Pourtant, rien ne dit que la toxicité n’est pas partout, car l’invisibilité en est sa signature. »
Extrait du texte qui accompagnait la série de 12 toiles pour l’exposition « Les 4 Éléments », mai 2012,
Espace Culturel du CHRU de Montpellier.
Pour Charalee GRAYDON et mes chaleureux remerciements à son invitation à être présente sur son
World Press, octobre 2012.