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When Angels Sing: Chapter Six
Welcome Back Once Again
I do so appreciate you taking the time to read these chapters. In case you are new to the story, this is the prologue to my first novel, “The 12/59 Shuttle From Yesterday to Today,” published five years ago. When this will become a full-length book is anyone’s guess, but in the meantime I’m giving you a sneak preview.
The year is 1969 and the main character, Sheila, is now ten years old.
If you’ve never met Sheila then hold onto your seat because you are in for a treat. Hey, that rhymed! How cool!
The book that inspired this story
Sitting Around the Kitchen Table
Heather and Sam were enjoying a breakfast of bran and fresh fruit one sunny summer morning. The birds perched on the limb outside the window gladly sang to them as the couple read the newspaper.
“Archie really does love Veronica, you know,” said Heather between bites.
“Woodstock is in two weeks, my love,” said Sam, wiping his mouth with his sleeve. “We really should attend. It promises to be quite the event.”
“But I think he also loves Betty,” replied Heather. “What a tangled web he weaves.”
“It would take us about four days to reach New York, provided our old Chevy doesn’t break down,” chimed in Sam as he carried his dishes to the sink, a piece of banana stuck to his cheek.
“Thank the gods for Jughead,” piped in Heather as she smiled at her husband.
And so it went that morning until Sheila, lovely Sheila, Sheila of infinite gifts and really the anchor of this family and yes, hope for the future, walked into the kitchen. Before a word was spoken she kissed her mother, kissed her father and blew a kiss to those birds on the limb outside the window, for Sheila believed in the sanctity of all life.
“Good morning, Sheila,” said Heather and Sam almost simultaneously.
“I’m going to get married,” replied Sheila, and suddenly her mother and father found their collective focus.
Sam turned to Heather.
“I guess we won’t be going to Woodstock, not with a wedding to plan.”
“And my goodness gracious, Archie will just have to work it out without my help,” said Heather, pacing the kitchen rapidly. “There are plans to be made, people to be invited, flowers to pick and songs to write. Our daughter is getting married! Oh, what a wondrous event!”
Heather and Sam were, of course, being a bit facetious because, well, they were a playful couple who so enjoyed a good laugh, but they also knew somewhere buried in their daughter’s proclamation was a kernel of truth.
“Mother, Father, please stop being silly willies,” Sheila implored. “I’m not getting married soon, of course, and I suspect you are teasing me so ha-ha and all that, but I am getting married in thirty-two years, three months, two weeks and four days, to a man named Bill Hollis, and I thought you should know so you can make plans. I know how you both love making plans, so I’m giving you fair advanced warning.”
“And who is this Bill Hollis, darling?” inquired Heather.
“Right now, Mother, he is a young man living a perfectly normal life, but when I marry him he will be an alcoholic and a night-shift cook at McDonald’s. I’m afraid, Mother, Father, he’ll be quite a mess by the time we cross paths, but you know how we all love a challenge and, well, Bill will certainly be a handful.”
“That’s lovely, Sheila,” said Heather. “Now, what should I wear to this wedding of yours?”
And Life Goes On
The family did not go to Woodstock that August, and the sexual desires of Archie, Veronica and Betty did not climax, so to speak, that summer of love, but life did go on.
The child Sheila continued to do those things that time-traveling mystical healers do when they are children, meaning she danced in the rain, sang duets with the chipmunks and discussed environmental concerns with other resident wildlife.
One such discussion happened the afternoon of August 29th under the spreading canopy of the oldest maple on the farm, nicknamed “The Splendid Splinter” by her father, some baseball reference Sheila did not understand and, at the risk of insulting her father, did not care to understand. Anyway, there she was, under “The Splinter,” drinking a glass of lemonade and talking about the environment with Clarice, a five-year old raccoon and the mother of six rambunctious babies newly-born.
Perhaps “talking” is a bit of a stretch because, of course, not a sound came from Clarice. Perhaps it would make more sense if this narrator said Sheila “communicated” with Clarice, for communication can be done without the use of the English language, or raccoon language, for that matter.
“You must make them understand,” communicated Clarice while licking her youngest and thus cleaning his fur.
“But the world is not ready to listen yet,” communicated in similar fashion the young Sheila. “The nature of man is that he/she must suffer greatly before change can happen. People must, unfortunately die first. The Earth must, unfortunately, suffer greatly before change can happen. Only when a sufficient amount of suffering has occurred will man be willing to listen and actually do something.”
“Why is man like that, Sheila?” communicated Clarice.
“I wish I knew, Clarice,” communicated Sheila as she wiped a tear from her eye.
“Is there hope for us?” asked Clarice.
“Perhaps not for us, Clarice, but I do believe there is hope for our children if I can make people listen to me. Now I really must go. Mother is baking an apple pie this afternoon and my goodness, I simply must have a piece while I’m watching Star Trek. You take care of those children, Clarice, and I’ll see you soon.”
The child Sheila raced back to the old farmhouse and found her mother in the kitchen. Of course she kissed her mother and told her she loved her, for that’s what people do with loved ones.
“Did you have a nice time, Sheila?”
“A simply fabulous time, Mother.”
“And what were you doing under the Splinter?”
“Saving the world, Mother, with the help of Clarice.”
“That’s lovely, darling. Will Clarice be able to attend your wedding?”
And as her mother cut a piece of pie for Sheila to eat, her father was outside chopping wood and singing in his lovely baritone voice…..
“Love is but a song we sing
fears' the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
and you may not know why
*Come on people now
smile on your brother
everybody get together
and try to love one another right now.”
So it was that summer of 1969, in Olympia, Washington, on the farm with Heather, Sam and their daughter Sheila. Big events rose in the distance, storm clouds on the horizon, the frightening harbingers of change, necessary for sure, for man has always needed pain as a motivator, and pain was approaching from the west, the east, the north, south and….from….within.
More fiction by this writer
Thanks for Joining Me
And I’ll return next week with another chapter of this future-book. I appreciate you taking the time to read my musings.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)