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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Having a Phantasmagorical Day

I read about one Tommy Beard, aka Tommy the Leprechaun through Neil Gaiman’s blog. It’s kind of fitting that I should learn about him from Neil Gaiman, as Tommy sounds like a character from one of Neil Gaiman’s works of fiction.
An excerpt from the Tommy the Leprechaun article in

Sunday, June 14, 2003
Missoula fixture Tommy the Leprechaun dies
By ROB CHANEY of the Missoulian

The man known as Tommy the Leprechaun died Friday at his home in Hillside Manor in Missoula.

Tommy, whose real name was Terry Beard, was 53.

For more than a decade, he was a regular fixture of Missoula's downtown streets. In a big green hat and black boots, he'd greet people with riddles, balloon animals and occasional magic tricks. When the sidewalks were sparse, he'd sit with a battered guitar and belt out "If I Had a Hammer" or other folk songs, strumming with a thumbless right hand. He'd hand out business cards good for one free wish, and command his surprised audiences to have a "phantasmagorical" day.

"I don't know if I can tell my bartender about it - she'll bust out crying," said Jane Bergman at the Oxford Bar in downtown Missoula "Tommy was pretty much a fixture here."

The Leprechaun said someone at the Oxford made him his green suit, which he last wore as grand marshal of the St. Patrick's Day Parade this March. Kirsten Holm at Hillside Manor said she was hoping the Oxford might like to have it and a memory box of Tommyabilia the staff had gathered.

The Leprechaun picked up odd jobs like window washing, street sweeping and other tasks to make money, and he typically refused donations in return for the balloon creations he made for people.

For the past year, he had been suffering from emphysema brought on by a three-pack-a-day cigarette habit. His mother, Bonnie Winkle, said he planned to donate his body to science.

"He got such a big charge out of making balloons and telling kids they got a wish from a leprechaun," Winkle recalled in a phone interview from Sun City, Ariz. "He did entertainment. He was in the plays and everything. He was never stationary very long."

You can read the rest of the article here.
 What a character.

So he greets people with "Have a phantasmagorical day"?
I wonder what that's like, to have a day like that.
One of these days, I'm gonna try to have one.

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