Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The unlucky leprechaun April 17, 2019

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo March 2015.


NEARLY 40 YEARS after I left my first newspaper reporting job, I still receive The Gaylord Hub each week. The third-generation family-owned Hub holds a special spot in my heart. Here I initially put my journalism education to work, covering the southern Minnesota town of Gaylord and surrounding areas in Sibley County.

Part of my job included checking reports at the Sibley County Sheriff’s office where I sometimes had to push to access public records. Being young, a woman and the first full-time staff writer (outside of family) put me in the occasional challenging position of not being taken seriously. Locals quickly learned, though, that I would stand my ground and intimidation didn’t work with me. Jim Deis, the editor and publisher, always backed me up and for that I was grateful.

All that serious talk aside, I met plenty of wonderful folks who embraced my writing and photography. The diversity of my job ranged from writing a feature about current WCCO TV sports director Mike Max and his brother Marc’s sizable baseball card collection to covering massive church, school and chicken barn fires to filing through initial complaint reports.

But I don’t ever recall anything quite as unique or humorous as the story I read in the April 4 issue of The Hub under a column labeled Sibley County District Court. As I read the story aloud to my husband, I couldn’t stop laughing. Here’s the line that prompted my laughter:

According to court documents, the Sibley County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to Westgate Apartments in Gaylord at 3:55 a.m. on March 25 for a complaint of a man dressed as a leprechaun running up and down the halls and creating a disturbance.

My first questions: Why would a man dress as a leprechaun? It wasn’t St. Patrick’s Day. And what exactly does a leprechaun wear? Green clothes, hat, pointy shoes?

I read on that the responding deputy spotted a man “with something red on his head” driving a vehicle out of the parking lot. The driver took off but was eventually stopped, admitted to drinking and also driving with a canceled license. He’s now been charged with multiple crimes.

Randy listened without interruption. Then he offered this assessment: “Sounds like his luck ran out.” And that would be right.

© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


18 Responses to “The unlucky leprechaun”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Randy’s response was spot on. Well played, Randy. Well played.

  2. Littlesundog Says:

    That reminds me of why I do not subscribe to our local paper. Any time I pick it up, I find numerous grammatical and spelling errors. It’s a family-owned paper, and the second generation running it seem to lack professionalism and editing apparently isn’t important to them. The worst error I ever came across was where a piece on “circus life” was printed right next to the obituary section. The obituary of an local women began in one column and the part about interment was continued in the next column, just under a paragraph about the specialized diet of the tigers. It was humorous and surprising to read, but I’m sure the family of the deceased did not appreciate it at all.

    • I’m sorry to hear about the poor quality of your local newspaper, because community newspapers are so vital to a community. What you describe does sound insensitive. I’m surprised articles on circus life and on the diets of tigers would even be published in a small town newspaper.

  3. washekoda Says:

    I don’t know what a leprechaun wares but have been searching for that pot of gold at the end of the ‘Rainbow’ all my life,,,come to find out it is sitting on my lap 😉

  4. valeriebollinger Says:

    I liked Randy’s clever quip.

  5. Some place other than Florida that has weird news for a change of pace – ha! Florida man makes beer run with gator in hand, intoxicated man calls 911 claiming his wife is a black widow spider, various break ins where the intruder makes themselves at home in regards to food and drink and maybe even takes a nap, lots of cars driving into houses and businesses, etc. I like Randy’s take on the story. Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

  6. There are so many unanswered questions. LOL! Maybe the inebriated gentleman was a die-hard Notre Dame fan. My father-in-law loves Notre Dame and he has a lot of memorabilia, but I’ve never seen him dress like a leprechaun. I hope the perpetrator had good intentions of spreading lots of Irish luck around, although the ‘red on his head’ as he was fleeing the scene has me stumped.

    In doing some genealogy research, we often use the site Newspapers.com. There are often entertaining stories when reading articles from the early 1900s newspapers. They leave many questions unanswered and my imagination runs a little wild.

    Randy’s take was hilarious!

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