Oh my! It’s been almost a week since Jack’s party, and I’m still feeling a bit of a hazy buzz. The bumblebees have mostly left my head, though, and Jack was right; my memory is clearing. It still feels more like a dream than a memory, but Jack tells me that fairy magic is like that, and he assures me that it was all quite real.
Let me begin at the beginning.
I awoke early on party day, full of excitement and anticipation. Jack lay gently snoring at my feet, so I slipped out of bed as softly as I could, trying not to wake him. I schlumped into the kitchen and made coffee, drinking it while I prepared our picnic. First into my basket went the things
Apple had asked me to bring; plump black cherries and sweet, red strawberries. Then I added a heap of ripe purple blueberries, the little peanut butter cookies that I’d made the night before, a few milk bones, napkins, water and my camera. (I am the family pack-mule) By the time I was organized, Jack was awake and had padded out to the kitchen. He sat staring at his empty bowl, so I took the hint and fed him, and then went to do my morning ablutions and get dressed.
When Jack had finished eating, he joined me, asking, “Are we having a picnic today, Mummy?”
“You bet, Bubba. It’s a beautiful day, and I thought we could go to the fairy woods.”
Jack’s face lit up, and he said, “That’s a fabulous idea, Mummy.”
“I know,” I said as I headed to the door, “Lets, go, Bubbs.”
The day was fresh and bright, just as Apple had predicted. The high heat and humidity had blown away overnight, leaving behind perfect summer weather. The day was bright and sunny, and the air was warm with a gentle fresh breeze. Small white clouds shape-shifted lazily across a cornflower blue sky as we drove through the countryside.
There were no other cars in the parking lot, and it didn’t take us long to get on the trail. Jack was in high spirits, but after a few minutes, he said to me, “None of the fairies have come to see us, Mummy. I hope everything is alright.”
“I’m sure everything is fine, Bubba. Maybe they’re busy with chores. ”
As we neared the first bench, I saw it first… a sign pinned to a tree that said Welcome, King Jackson Brown & Voyager. I pointed it out to Jack, who looked at it for a few moments and finally said, “That’s odd. Why would the fairies make a sign for us?”
Before I had a chance to reply, the air lit up with fairies flying in from all directions, each calling out “Surprise, Jack!”
Jack looked confused for a moment, but he finally smiled and began to hop, trying to touch the fairies with his nose as they fluttered around him.
A few of the younger ones settled on his back and ran their wee fingers through his thick chestnut brown coat, making Jack laugh. There were dozens of them, all wearing shimmery dresses made from a rainbow of bright, colourful flowers. The dust of their trails mixed and mingled until the air resembled a luminous living landscape by Monet. Where the sunlight pierced the trees in dappled patches, the colours shone like stained glass. I sneezed a few times, and the fairies found this hilarious. Their laughter surrounded us as we rounded the corner to the first bench,
where Jack and I both gasped at the wondrous sight. The forest had been transformed. A small clearing had been made, and the area was dressed for a party.
The trees were festooned with curls of bright ribbon, and the ground was strewn with flower petals and glittering sprinkles that winked and sparkled and in the shifting light. A bright copper wire with teeny tiny lights wound through the leaves of a shrub, and words of thanks and friendship had been clipped to it. There were itty-bitty picnic tables covered with brightly dotted,
light cotton cloths and round tables that resembled plant stands fitted with glistening watercoloured tops. Around these tables were bright blue stools with colourful covers that matched the shiny tabletops. More of these stools had been set off to one side, nestled into a patch of ferns. There was an intoxicating scent of mingling flowers in the air, and the happy chattering of the fairies filled the clearing and became like music to my ears. My senses were overcome. It was a pandemonium of fairies, and Jack was utterly delighted to be at the centre of it. His eyes shone like polished amber, and he radiated happiness.
I could feel another sneeze coming on, so I moved away from the brouhaha to the human-sized bench and sat my basket down. I reached in and took out the fruit and cookies that I’d brought, and the moment I set them down, a pair of elves appeared as if by magic and carried them away!
After a few minutes, an elegant fairy named Whistler flew out of the commotion and up a tree. He clapped his hand twice and harrumphed until the forest was quiet. Then with a theatrical flair, he banged a small gong three times and said, “Hello, hello. Welcome, Jack and Voyager. Today’s party is held in your honour, as a small thanks for your service to the fairy realm. When our beloved Oma Troutchen went missing we placed our trust in you, and to our great delight, you brought Oma home quickly and safely. We are thankful and hope you both enjoy yourselves.”
Then he banged the gong again and said, “Let the party begin.”