27 April 2010
Papa's walking stick leaned against the wall next to the front door. I could see it from the stairs looking through the balusters as he waited for Mama to finish dressing. Sitting in the study, he would call, "Clara! It's time to be going." The smoke from his pipe wafting up to meet her perfume as her bedroom door opened, the hem of her skirt sliding onto the wood and her heels clicking their way to me. "Young lady, you should be in bed" as she lifted me up to kiss me on the cheek, her earrings twinkling in the early evening light. My toes were tickled by the lace of her gown as she lowered me to the floor just in time for me to see Papa walking out from his study to look up at us. Smiling, he reached for his walking stick and watched as Mama descended the stairs. He opened the door and took Mama's arm, looking back over her shoulder and winked, "Sweet dreams." The silver tip of his walking stick guiding them into the night.
As the curtains moved with the early summer evening breeze, the scent of lilacs and magnolias drifted in. The floorboards creaked as he paced hearing the laughter of women above his study. He reached for his pipe and then remembered Clara's request. He placed his pipe by his chair and looked at his watch. Seeing the time, he picked up his walking stick and stood at the base of the stairs, the silver tip clicking the moments away until the bedroom door opened and the bridesmaids filed out, still preening and giggling, followed by his daughter, Lucy on her mother's arm, the silk of her gown brushing the balusters as she made her way to the stairs. They stood for a moment and smiled down at him. His hands grasped the walking stick as he gazed up, his heart filled with pride.
It was spring and the children were running in and out of the house playing hide and seek. He sat in his study, reading, a blanket about his legs and his pipe nearby. Clara had passed on just six months ago and his daughter, Lucy and her family had come to live with him for a spell. Looking out the window, he felt alone as he watched the tulips and dogwoods swaying in the breeze, knowing how much Clara loved the seasons and her garden. A loud crash brought him back and he was out his chair in time to see his grandson, Charles drop the walking stick at his sister, Amanda's feet.Shattered glass and petals of tulips and lilac lay at their feet, their eyes wide as he picked up the stick. Lucy stood at the kitchen door, a dishcloth in her hands. He looked at Charles and said, "It's time to walk." With that he placed the stick in Charles hand said, "Take your sister's arm." As he walked out the door, he looked over his shoulder at Lucy and winked.
Tis just another Magpie Tale--for more tales, walk this way! Thank you to Willow for the inspiration!