Pretty much every morning these days the newspaper hits me squarely in the eyes, in black and white, with an up-to-the-minute assessment of the economic status of (pick one):
(a) our town, and not in a Thornton Wilder reviewing life and visiting with the dead sort of sense, although there were a lot of Zombies dancing around here last weekend;
(b) the State of Colorado, including, but not limited to the daily-decreasing coffers of higher education;
(c) our country, which is still relatively gilded, when compared with . . .
(d) the four countries known as the PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain,) whose only claim to fame, at the moment, is their former proximity to the Trojan Horse, and therefore ownership rights of said concept. Comedian Andy Borowitz asserts that the PIGS are pushing the big wooden horse idea around again in European Union countries with more financial stability than they. You can fool some of the people all of the time, I suppose.
Last Friday, even though the local paper noted that the U.S. economy had grown 2.5 percent in the third quarter, it may not be enough to offset rampant unemployment rates; it’s feared that the holiday season won’t be all that cheery. The dollar-generating blip on the calendar that sends the American populace to stores in search of apparel to clothe their alter ego for a night is over. According to data generated by the National Retail Federation and BIGresearch, Halloween spending was up 18% from 2010, reaching $6.86 billion. I think pretending to be something we aren’t loosens wallets, even if it’s for one night. The amount spent is surprising, because even before the end of October, there were many shops already stocked to the gills with Christmas twinkles, passing over Halloween altogether.
In spite of this evidence of increased spending on frivolity, economists are still pondering how many toys will be purchased this holiday season. I think they should get outside a bit more.
A few mornings ago, NPR reported that corporate and government layoffs were much less than predicted back in September. This morning, they reported the creation of 80,000 jobs in October. Either I was still dreaming, or I’m sensing a change in the wind. Not everything looks as bad as we think. I have to believe it’s the work of fairies.
We have quite a lot of fairies who visit our house. For starters, the days when our kids were toddlers saw erratic visits from The Tooth Fairy.
My dad always assured me that you couldn’t simply put a tooth under the pillow, with the forlorn hope that the (very busy) fairy might just happen to pick up the vibes generated by your child’s gaping mouth. I’ve pointed out that if the kid screams enough when the parent attempts to pull the tooth, that might work wonders getting the fairy’s attention. He advised me that a phone call to the nearest Tooth Fairy Station, typically the next town over, would do the trick. It always seemed to work for us.
As the kids grew a bit older, Dr. K and I faced the dilemma many parents raising Jewish children encounter: how to deal with your childrens’ disappointment when you tell them that, no, Santa Claus is not going to be making a visit down our chimney on Christmas Eve. It doesn’t matter how wonderful or well-behaved you’ve been; it just isn’t going to happen. This necessitated the creation of yet another fairy: The Hanukkah Fairy. After all, you can’t have your kids running around telling their friends that there isn’t a Santa Claus because, even if they haven’t argued in weeks, no S.C. will be making an appearance in our household. We figured the best bet was to create an alternative.
“Okay,” they’d both said. We breathed a sigh of relief. It seemed that appeasement of bruised childhood, along with prevention of all those years down the road spent in psychotherapy, was at hand. “IF there is a Hanukkah Fairy, what color tutu does she wear?” they demanded.
“Well. . .” I’d hesitated, racking my brain for a solution. What I came up with is this. Tinker Bell is decidedly a green fairy, as decreed by The Walt Disney Corporation, so she’d cornered the market on that color. I debated between pink and yellow, but decided to reserve yellow for the tooth fairy; less association with blood that way. The Valentine’s Day Fairy, because of course we’d have to get one of those, too, was necessarily pink. So, that left blue, which was perfect. The traditional Hanukkah colors are blue and silver. Now all I had to do was go out and search for proof of said fairy’s existence. After all, there were plenty of pictures and statues of Santa Claus to be had, right?
I found the ideal solution at our local Hallmark gift shop; a delicately ethereal being, who danced entrancingly while suspended from a silver string. Her gossamer wings were tinged with silver, and she wore a blue tutu.
I’ve decided that there are many other fairies to sprinkle sparkles on our earthly lives, some of whom we haven’t even thought of, yet.
Over the last week, Colorado saw two early snowstorms. They weren’t just fall dustings; we were whomped with over 12 inches of white stuff for the first, then seven days later saw another half foot or so. I love snow, for skiing, snowshoeing and the crystalled romance it lends our winter days, its drifts, flakes and yes, even whiteout blizzards. However, snow on trees still bearing their leaves is not cool, no matter how you shovel it.
We morosely took stock of what was left of our beautiful yard, with its parklike setting. It had been featured a couple of years ago on the Garden Tour, not because of meticulous pruning; our yard has more of a wild appeal, one that we cultivate.
“I think I need a fairy,” said Dr. K.
“Tall order,” I replied. The entire town, actually the whole Front Range, was in the same boat. There are times when you realize that you’re not alone, those times when you acknowledge you are one of a million. “IF you could find one, I think the proper outfit would be a black and red flannel shirt.”
“Yeah,” he sighed. “And a chainsaw. No tutu.”
The two of us tackled it this weekend; he rented a chainsaw, and we both dragged branches out to the edge of the driveway, wondering how much we’d have to pay to have it towed away.
One fairy arrived Sunday afternoon in the form of our neighbor, and he wasn’t wearing a tutu. Even better, he arrived with an 8 by 10 foot pneumatic lift trash hauler. A few days later, a county worker dressed in a hoodie sweatshirt knocked on the door, asking if we’d mind if his crew cut down a few precarious branches that threatened passing cars; while they were at it, they’d pick up the downed russian olive branches lining our property. Pretty sparkly, don’t you think?
There are Fairy Godmothers, random and assorted fairies associated with various tales from today, all the way back to the Renaissance. After I make it past the black news, the goings-on of our current economy, I always take a look at what’s happening in our town. There is always a fundraiser, for some organization, someone who’s ill, someone who has lost their home or job and is at the brink of losing their personhood. In our town, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived here, or the color of your skin; there are fairies that materialize to help. And then there are those people you connect with, for no certain reason. They’re fairies, too. The color of their tutu’s are varied.
It’s a nice sort of place to live, and I’m guessing that your town isn’t all that much different. After all, isn’t what we experience everyday, our interactions with those around us, what makes it all that much worth it?
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