"Genuine Four Leaf Clover Plants are Now Available" read the headline on the press release. The "now" part is hooey. Genuine four leaf clovers have been around all through my time.
The trick always was finding one.
Mother could spy one while riding to the field on the hay rack. Brother was accused of driving too slow as he raked the straw in the new seeding. Turned out he was spotting four leaf clovers from the tractor seat. He was right-proud of the handful he'd plucked, until dad got after him for impeding harvest progress. "If you find one, sometimes you find a whole plant full," brother claimed.
A California lad is cashing in on that notion. In 2006, Kevin Donahue, age 11, joined forces with his dad Michael Donahue to launch Four Leaf Clover Plants. The company is a father and son partnership in the town of Cambria on California's central coast.
The Donahues are peddling and shipping genuine clover plants with four leaves to U.S. addresses. The plant is trifolium repens clover, with leaves and flowers resembling common clover. It's not oxalis or some other look-alike plant. Every pot of the exotic plant comes with several four leaf clover leaves. A well-tended pot can produce hundreds of four leaf clovers, suitable for drying, in just a few months' time.
Common clover has about one four leaf for every 10,000 three leaves. These clover plants have about one four leaf for every 7 to 21 three leaves, according to Donahue.
Young Donahue saw an opportunity. With as bit of preparation, he's cashing in.
Expanding possibilities. With St. Patrick's Day and March Madness both upon us, maybe one could use a handful of four leaf clovers to give one's favorite basketball team a lift.
Someone will surely think taking a handful along when buying a lottery ticket will improve the odds. Mother thought of that. She tried it. It didn't work.
All her life she kept looking for that elusive leprechaun that her granddaddy left behind in the old country. She wanted to catch him and have him take her to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
She never caught the little rascal. But she always had her dreams. Come Friday, we can all dream of raking in the Irish green - at least for a day.
Don't make light of the luck of the Irish. While I'm here frittering away my lunch hour attempting - not particularly successfully - to write something funny about the Irish dependence on four leaf clovers for luck, a pipe in the kitchen springs a leak.
The message - he who tries to make light of the luck of the Irish eventually pays.