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Stray Sod
(time travelogue)

The Irish seem to have lots to say about stray sod, but chiefly: don’t step on it. A whirlwind tour of Ireland in and out of time.



"I particularly loved Stray Sod. The title made me smile. But that’s the style of Mr Alexander. Stray Sod is the enchanting tale of an American lost in the Magical Emerald Isle and witnessing his own particular leprechaun. And of course, with this author he allows the reader to draw their conclusions..." — Billy (UK)

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Stray Sod

We go from here to there with hardly a purpose: to see what there is like, or not. And we who tour, are tourists. The very word is funny: tourist. By its sound, it seems to mean the follower of some outrageous cult. Perhaps we are. And yet it takes a certain courage to be one. Not your normal tourist, not your typical traveler seated behind the tinted windows of a bus hurtling from here-to-there in exact increments. Twenty minutes to visit the well-trodden site, a sweaty tour guide prattling on and on, and the promise of luncheon at the next stop.
I mean more the sort who steps on a bit of stray sod, the kind who explores parts unknown— when from here-to-there is the whole adventure. The traveler who meanders foolishly, searching for the edges of time, driven by word of mouth or a vague description from some esoteric guidebook. Without itinerary, nor reservations, and without much money.
“Like being homeless,” she said, my wife.
“I guess…”
“Well, there’s a courage in that.”
“In being homeless?”
“No, in being a leprechaun.” She smiled and nodded over at the guy sitting across from us on the train.
The R-train, or was it an F-train? It rattled through the decrepit tunnels. I turned and looked across the aisle.
“A bum by any other euphemism,” I said with friendly sarcasm.
“He’s not. Look...” she whispered since he had turned to face us.
I admit there was a dignity about him. His clothes were frayed but clean. A dull green cap perched on his head covered what I could easily imagine were pointed ears. He carried himself well, there was life in his eyes. He was too tall to be a leprechaun though.
“Tackle him and ask him where his gold is,” she told me.
I looked at her with a screwed up face. I thought she was kidding.
“Are you scared?” she goaded me.
“Of what?”
“To tackle him. It wouldn’t be easy... He’s a trickster.”
“It would be easy enough. I’d just be embarrassed.”
She laughed, knowing that avoiding mortification was my greatest strength. “Maybe he’s not a bum. Maybe he’s what we’ll be in less than a week.”

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