And he said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
Out beyond the edge of town, the fields are the brilliant green of an early Alabama Spring. The roads loop lazily through the farmlands, past roadside produce stands still closed from the previous season, past the small herds of cattle, grazing happily on grass damp from a morning rain. A quick turn onto a barely visible snake trail bumps along the fence line, through the gate, over the pasture and bush-hogged blackberry brambles to The Wedding Tree.
The old tree had leafed gloriously in the short weeks before this special day and provided a welcome shade for the gathering of friends and family. Boys twitching in their bow ties and girls in their lace waited until vows and kisses were exchanged before shoes were removed; the bride’s sparkling heels lasted hardly longer.
New season, new family, new life.
It seemed appropriate to Hitty Agapanthus that a tree should have an important role in the life of this new family. After all, she, herself, was her very own family tree. She knew the virtue of good wood, strong and supportive, but able to bend when the storms batter and to rejoice in the seasons as they come and go. Agapanthus heartily wished firm roots to the happy couple and to a life reaching towards Heaven under a blue Alabama sky.
Congratulations and Very Best Wishes!
The faceted glass in the door created a flickering mosaic. Twinkling sparks of deep red danced against the golden-green of late Winter. Miss Hickory allowed the door to ease open, moving slowly and carefully, but as her nut-brown head peered around the jamb, the sparks surged upward and away, settling in the gardens of other, less curious, neighbors.
It was the annual Robin migration! The Wiregrass was a pleasant and necessary stopping point on the journey and one of the highlights of the season for Miss Hickory.
Hundreds of red-breasted robins traveled across the lawns of the neighborhood, cheering the gloomy February day. The early morning rain had softened the ground, urging delicious insects to the surface and into hungry beaks. It was a comic dance: black heads bobbing earthward followed by a hippity-hop. As the corps de ballet fluttered across the stage, Miss Hickory felt a chuckle rising from deep in her wooden body. Her hand covered her painted smile, letting no sound escape that might disturb the robins feeding heavily to power their migration.
The robins were alert and cautious, despite their enthusiasm for dining. One fellow stood for a moment as Crossing Guard, taking his place at the corner as if waiting for a torrent of school children to demand passage, his shiny black eyes watching vigilantly for oncoming traffic.
Miss H. invited the Clockwork Robin, whom, most days, perched on a high shelf in the sewing room, out in the garden to spend time in the company of his fellows. He liked Miss Hickory, who was always glad to hear his tinny song, and the two sat in the crape myrtle together, quietly enjoying the antics of the flock, grateful for the annual performance.
The Lunar New Year has been welcomed in this small corner of The Wiregrass. Following the custom of the elderly dolls of the house, who had lived their lives across an ocean, in the Republic of Korea, Hedydd spent the previous evening hiding shoes from visiting ghosts wishing to steal them, thereby bringing bad luck for the entire year to the newly barefoot. Her own black boots remained permanently fixed to her wooden feet, so Hedydd had no fear for her own good fortune. Being a Hitty is just good fortune all ’round.
She hung a bamboo strainer for washing rice high on the wall as another invitation to good luck. Pesky, shoe-thieving spirits could be intrigued by the bokjori and stopping to count each and every hole in the sieve, be caught and vanquished by the morning light, or so it was rumored. Hedydd thought that sounded a little far-fetched, but one can never tell with the spirit world, she reasoned. She decided to count her blessings instead – a pleasant way to start any New Year.
Posted in Dolls, Hitty, Wooden Dolls | Tagged Bamboo Strainer, Blessings, Bokjori, Counting Holes, Fortune, Ghosts, Hitty Hedydd, Luck, Lunar New Year, Republic of Korea, Rice, Shoes, Sieve | 4 Comments »
The first rehearsal in the venue is always exciting. The performance is weeks away, the rehearsal hall still daily employed, but the actors enjoy stepping onto the stage and getting a small glimpse into the vast house. Hedydd managed to tag along, tucked into the corner of a bag overflowing with scripts, drawings, pencils, tissues and plenty of aspirin. Being a well-rounded theatre sort, she offered, with the help of a very competent stage hand, to test the sound equipment.
While in Florence, Hitty Hedydd attended a performance of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” at the Historic Shoals Theatre. It was, actually, the reason for the visit. Now, Hitty knows of mice. Mice were kind enough to wash Ancestor Hitty’s dusty face during her Hay-Days in Rachel Field’s book, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years. And she knows of men…and women. Dreamers with heart, imagination and enough gumption to first carve a little wooden doll, and those that follow, equally gifted, striving to bring to life dozens of sisters and cousins.
Posted in Dolls, Hitty, Wooden Dolls | Tagged Alabama, Dreams, Florence, Hay-Days, Historic Shoals Theatre, Hitty Hedydd, John Steinbeck, Mice, Of Mice and Men, Rachel Field, Theatre, Tissues | 4 Comments »
A journey northward offered Hitty Hedydd an always welcome opportunity to investigate yet another knitting establishment, this time in beautiful, historic Florence, Alabama. They had skeins in just the right sizes for a small wooden doll.
After shopping, Hedydd took a stroll through Wilson Park. The weather was fine, and though the park bore no signs of Spring, the bare trees had their own sort of charm, providing angular counterpoints to the leaping waters in the fountain…and comfortable seating for weary wooden legs.