When my parents, Cecil and Ruth Manahan, lived on the small farm outside of Madelia, MN, my father put toy furniture in the hay loft of the barn--a tiny table, tiny chairs, little beds, and even a mineature plastic toilet. This is where the Wee People lived, he told the wide-eyed grandchildren.
On their visits to Grandma and Grandpa's farm, the children would sneak up the wooden ladder to the hay mow and creep around the pale-golden bales of hay searching for the Wee People's living quarters. The furniture moved from spot to spot, and the kids never knew where they might find it tucked into a corner.
Although they never managed to spot the very shy Wee People, it sometimes seemed as though they had just left their little chairs. It was thrilling to imagine these wee families living in our very own barn, a parallel universe that almost no one knew about.
My father, a staunch Catholic, always maintained his deep Irish appreciation the world of fairies, leprachauns, and wee people, and he passed on that delight in the mysterious to his many grandchildren. I salute Dad's memory and will raise a glass in his honor today, wishing I could join him and my half-Irish mother on the farm for their famous Irish stew party, waiting for the moment when the grandchildren would steal off to the barn in search of the magical Wee People.