Of Angels and Fairies...
Of Angels and Fairies
When I was very young I could speak as clearly as any adult. I’m not sure why but I do remember thinking that to talk was the greatest thing. And so some how I learned to talk before I could walk. It got me a lot of attention at first but some people became afraid of me. I’m sure it must’ve seemed weird that a little girl that could barely walk could carry on a conversation. But there you have it I could talk, but mostly I repeated what was said to me, a bit like a parrot. When someone would say, “How are you today?” I learned to say, “FINE, how are YOU today?” It is a bit different but mostly just parroting what they had previously said. In such a way I learned the art of conversation.
My dear granny, my mommy’s mom, taught me verses from the bible. John 3-16 “ For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. That who so ever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” A devout Southern Baptist she would take me to church and all of the people would marvel at my “GIFT”, as they called it. “What a little angel!” they’d say. Granny was so very happy that she read the bible to me every chance she got so I could memorizes its passages.
For Christmas that year I was instructed by my dear granny in the telling of the story of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Starting First with Matthew 1:1, “ The book of generations of Jesus Christ, conception and birth. Eventually ending with the last verse of granny’s favorite Christmas hymn, “Silent Night”. There was a hush in the chapel as I sang. The lights above the pulpit seemed to twinkle as the star proclaiming his holey birth. As I ended with, “Sleep in heavenly peace,” I placed my hands together as in prayer and bowed gratefully. Granny was very proud of me and everyone said that I sang like an angel!
I admit I was a bit full of myself. At this point I almost believed myself to be the angel that the parishioners proclaimed me to be.
I was four when my father, a devout atheist, decided to put a stop to the whole thing. So one day he taught me some limericks that he had heard at the bar.
“There was a man from Nantucket.
Who went to hell in a bucket.
But when he got there they asked for his fare.
He stuck out his bum and said, SUCK IT!”
I was so pleased to have something new to share with my friends I repeated the limerick as soon as we arrived at the Sunday meeting. Needless to say, granny never took me to church again. I didn’t realize what had happened at the time and thought that granny hated me. I was a very sad little girl after that and would hardly speak to anyone.
I spent most of my time outside in mommy’s garden. Among the lilacs, roses and shrubbery that encircled our yard. It was there I met Violet. She was tiny, purple and smelled like flowers. She had the loveliest soprano voice and she sang with me every day. (Although I cannot remember any of the songs now.) She was fun to play with and I spent all that spring and most of the summer with her.
Every morning I’d wake up at the crack of dawn. I was filled with anticipation for the fun and surprises each new day would bring! I was oh so quiet as I slipped out of my bed and into my clothes. Giggling inside myself, thinking of the wonderful games my tiny purple friend and me would play that day. What joy, what fun and laughter filled my child’s heart!
One day in particular as I tiptoed out of the back door, I found Violet waiting on the stoop of the back porch. “It’s Summer Solstice!” she gleefully announced. “Time for dancing and trouping about the countryside!”
Her sweet little face was all a-flush with excitement and the little curls of her lavender hair seemed to make a lovely tinkling with every gentle breeze.
“Oh my!” I exclaimed. “This will be a fun day!”
We walked into the woods behind our house, and at the foot of a gnarled old oak tree there was what first looked like hundreds of butterflies. Each of them a different color! But as we got closer I could see that they were the same sort of folk as Violet.
It started softly at first, as a faint whisper on the summer breeze. Then the sound grew louder and sweeter. It was a song!
”Rapture of the sun, sing, dance and all have fun!
We rest when the day is done.
Oh rapture of the sun!”
We danced and sang fairy songs for a great portion of the day. Suddenly I heard my mommy’s voice calling me in a most frantic way. She appeared her eyes filled with tears and her voice horse with strain. “Oh, thank God I found you!”
As she approached the fairies quickly swarmed and flew away. On our walk home she questioned me. “What have you been doing all day? You had me worried half to death!”
“I was singing and dancing with my little purple friend and her people. Didn’t you see them?”
“I saw nothing but butterflies, you silly child!” she replied in a stern rough voice. “Stop making up stupid stories!” She yanked my arm as we briskly walked toward home. No more was said about that day.
One day our family was leaving to go to my grandma Barton’s house, my daddy’s mom. After grandpa had passed away she had moved in with her sister my great aunt Violet. While everyone got ready to go I played in the bushes singing and laughing with my purple friend. Mommy was calling me as I told my friend about my great aunt Violet. My fairy friend took a little seed out of her hair and planted it beneath the bush where we were playing. “When this grows give it to your great aunt.” It was then mommy found me and we left to go to grandma’s house
“What were you doing under there?” mommy scolded, “I was looking all over for you calling and calling! Why didn’t you answer me?”
I told her about my friend and the seed that was planted beneath the bush near the driveway. “Stop making up stories!” she chided. So I didn’t say another word about it until four weeks later when we were getting ready to go to see grandma and aunt Violet again.
As everyone else was scurrying toward the car I was busy digging up the lovely little violet flower that had sprouted beneath the bush near the driveway of our home. I found a small clay pot in the shed, and potted it with my own two little five-year-old hands. I was so proud of the pretty flower. “Mommy!” I exclaimed. “The violet bloomed and I’m taking it to my Aunt Violet. Giggle, giggle, giggle.”
To which my mother replied, “That’s not a violet! It couldn’t be! But if you want to take that little purple weed to your aunt you are more than welcome.”
We set off on the long trek to grandma and aunt Violet’s house. The trip seemed to fly by for me; I was so excited to give the flower to my great aunt. We soon arrived and after all of the grown-ups had shuffled into the house I went to the back of the car and got my gift for aunt Violet.
I took the potted flower into the house, being careful not to drop any dirt on the rug,
stood by my aunt ‘till she realized I was there and spoke to me. ( At this point in my young life I knew enough not to speak until spoken to.)
“What have you there?” she said, in her kindly sweet way.
“It’s a weed she found beneath a bush in our yard.” Mommy replied.(as if I couldn’t speak for myself.)
“ Well, let me see it sweetie.” She looked at the plant and a huge grin spread slowly over her face. “This is no weed, in fact it is a violet!”
Mommy couldn’t believe it, nor could anyone else. On the long way home mommy said that Violet just said that to be kind to me and that it was really just a weed like she had said. But I knew different. It was a beautiful violet given to my kind and sweet aunt by my little fairy friend of the same name.
I keep these memorizes close to my heart and think of my dear fairy friend from time to time. It was long ago and so far away, my magical time of fairies and angels. And now in my middle age I think of that time more and more. “Those days of angels and fairies.”
By, Margaret Barton-Wahl
Maighread Birdsong's Blog
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