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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » The old man and the feather (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of rondasue
the old man was not much to look at. seeing him, one thought of a car that had seen better, much better, days. gnarled, arthritic hands. wispy hair so old even the white was losing its color. a stooped gait, a dancer's shuffle without the lift. he smelled of the earth, of dirt and green and growth and decay. most people passing by, if they noticed him at all, saw only the brokeness and missed the eyes. but those that looked, those that saw, were grabbed by eyes that promised the universe, eyes of compassion forged in understanding.

the old man spend most of his evenings outside of an small house constructed out of railroad ties-a one room affair that had buried his wife, parents, and grandparents, and several kids, aunts and uncles. after supper, he would walk across the dirt floor, fling back a blanket that served as the door, light a fire in an outdoor pit he prepared each morning, and sit in an old broken down vinyl covered chair that served as his platform to watch the world go by.

most evenings after supper the kids came by, tired of play, not wanting to go home, to hear a story. and on this particular evening, a boy named joey grabbed the attention of the old man.

"what interests you" the old man asked? "you seem like you are thinking about something mighty hard." and so joey told the old man that he and his family were travelling the following morning back east to attend his grandfather's funeral. it was, it seems, the first death for the young man, one of many for the old one. "what happens," joey asked, "when we die."

the old man knew a grown up answer would never do, and sensed young joey would struggle with this one for most of his life. and after thinking for a bit, he asked joey to bring him his dead wife's shawl, the pink one with the long fringe still hanging on the wire hanger where she left it. and while your at it, the old man said, " bring me that white feather on the table, and a piece of red fabric, two pieces of string and two pieces of dried, long-stemmed sage."

when joey returned, the old man took the pink shawl and spread it across his lap. he lit one stick of sage and stuck it into the ground at his feet. he asked the boy to use the other piece of sage to cut two pieces each as long as the bottom of the quill of the feather. that done, he and the boy used one piece of string to secure the sage to the quill.

then the old man had the boy tear off a strip of the red fabric the width of the quill and long enough to wrap tightly around the quill several times. then the boy held the red fabric strip and the quill while the old man tied the fabric with four evenly spaced loops. he then returned the feather to the shawl in his lap.

while the old man was working, he told joey that there was a little spirit in both of them, and in the sage, and the feather, and even in joey's grandpa. the feather, the old man said, was especially good at telling when the spirit of our friends came to visit. and when the spirit of our friends came to visit, the old man said, we can talk to them, and not feel so alone.

so, the old man told joey to concentrate real hard on the feather, and on his grandpa, and "when the time is right, and you will know that time, tell your grandpa everything you need to say." and so the old man begin to hum an old tune, a song without words, in a voice older than time, and as the sun set, and the boy really concentrated, the feather moved a good two inches. the boy gasped. "talk to him son" the old man said.

the old man continued humming and the boy told his grandpa all about what he had done that day, and how much he missed him, and how sad they all were, and about his plans for tomorrow, and on and on until, the boy, finished, said, "i love you grandpa."

the feather seemed to almost wave at the boy. now said the old man, take the feather, wrap it in the remaining red fabric, walk to the fire, say your last good byes and throw the feather into the fire. look at the smoke and know that you can always talk to the spirit of your grandpa whenever you see the smoke.

the boy did as he was told, and as the smoke wisped away, the boy said "goodbye grandpa" i will talk to you again.

the boy went home not quite as sad. and the old man sat alone by the fire until it too went away.
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Profile of lyndonwebb
Well iam impressed.
In fact its got me thinking about an old effect that i used to do when i was younger.
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Profile of kaytracy
Very good! Now see, how hard was that? You wrote a fine one there!
Just a note for you when doing this one for someone, I found a great fragrance oil, Forest leaf, smells very much like trees and forest humus I like to use mow and again!
A few drops of the fragrance of choice on cotton pulled form a small plastic film can at the right moment can really set your audience into the scene. (Grandpa's aftershave, Gramdma's favorite perfume, etc.) Smile
Kay and Tory
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Profile of ptbeast
Very nice! Another example of how a simple effect can be turned into something much, much more.
Thank you for sharing it with us.

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Profile of rondasue
thanks for the comments. the plastic film cannister idea is nice. thanks.
Caleb Strange
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Profile of Caleb Strange
Rondasue, a beautiful story very nicely told. Thank you so much for sharing. So many things I like about this. The feather, the sage, the descriptive details. It was so easy to picture the story and experience it in my mind and heart. I saw smokes, and suppers, and autumns. Perfect for your subject matter.

I particularly liked the two characters, and that we confronted the mystery and the stark beauty of death through the experience of a young boy. This, I think, is emotionally very true and powerful.

We are all of us young in the face of death.

Warm regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
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Profile of montz
It is only today I find this superb story.

Congratulations, it's a fine piece indeed.

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I predict that I now have
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Profile of Nicholas
I, too, just ran across this one. That's a superb story in and of itself. And, as a bonus, it is full of so many performance possibilities. Thanks for sharing!!
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