When Angels Sing: Chapter Ten
To you all, welcome!
Welcome to a touch of fantasy!
Welcome to a rambling metaphor with what I believe to be several important messages.
Welcome to the world of Sheila!
Our story enters the springtime of 1972. The setting is a small farm in Olympia, Washington, a lovely farm bordered by a creek, a purposeful farm worked by Sam, Heather, and daughter Sheila.
It may appear to be a simple, pastoral setting, but it is so much more!
Sheila is out in the barn doing her Sheila thing. Hush now as we approach. We don’t want to startle her “pets.”
In the Barn
She is now a teenager, this child named Sheila. Busting out all over, she is, ninety-six pounds of beautiful flower, spreading her pedals, one more sign of springtime on the farm, one more sign of springtime in her life. The sun shines through spaces in the grand old barns roof, and shafts of light pierce the dusty floor as Sheila feeds her growing flock.
Her midnight hair hangs loose over her shoulders as she fills containers with various grains, and reflected in her green eyes is the barely-contained excitement of her “flock” as they each await their meal.
“Minerva,” she said to a chipmunk. “You simply must wait your turn. There is enough for all of you so please, no pushing and shoving.” She shook her beautiful head in mock disgust, but it was all an act she played, for there was no disgust in that barn, at that time, in that safe place. There was only love.
She hugged the lamb named Pipsy, and stroked the feathers of a sparrow named Darter. She whispered silliness to a barn mouse and laughed at the antics of a hedgehog. All totaled there were forty-seven creatures surrounding her, their numbers increasing by the week, for this was Sheila and protecting small animals was what she felt compelled to do.
Having completed the feeding ritual, Sheila dusted off her hands and addressed her friends.
“For as long as you live, my playful, loving friends, you will have a safe harbor in me, for I am Sheila, Goddess of the insignificant and guardian of all that is miniature. Now please enjoy your meal while I go to the house for my studies.”
To the House We Go
When the child named Sheila arrived in the kitchen she found her mother, Heather, her father, Sam, and their close friend, Rousas John Rushdoony, all sitting at the table. On the table were three cups of lavender tea and a book titled “Intellectual Schizophrenia.”
“There she is now,” exclaimed Heather as she gathered her daughter in a loving hug.
“And how is my prized pupil?” asked Rousas John Rushdoony.
Mister Rushdoony (don’t call me John) was a pioneer of sorts, a leading voice in the new movement known as homeschooling. His first book, “Intellectual Schizophrenia,” attacked the public school system in the United States, and called on forward-thinking parents to cast off the shackles of traditional education which, in his not-so-humble opinion, hindered a child under the yoke of conformity.
“I’m fine, Mister Rushdoony,” Sheila answered. “I’m terribly sorry I’m late. I have a sick beetle who requires extra care and, well, time got away from me, I’m afraid.”
The adults and child all laughed at this remark for in truth, time never “got away” from Sheila. She was quite at home traveling in the present, the past, and the future, tapping into her remarkable gifts whenever she saw fit and visiting other times, other places, spreading her proverbial wings and flying wherever she was needed.
“It’s quite all right, Sheila,” said Mister Rushdoony. “We all have our priorities. Mine is to awaken the American public to new educational possibilities. Your parents will lead a great movement of love. And you, Sheila? What is your priority?”
“I am the Goddess of the insignificant and guardian of all that is miniature, but you know that, of course, and I suspect, Mister Rushdoony, you are simply pulling my leg.”
“I am indeed,” said the educational guru. “I am indeed. As you all know, if I had not chosen education to be my main focus, I would have turned to environmental studies, for I fear a great cataclysm is approaching. So, Sheila, I sleep better each night knowing you are on the job, so to speak. Now, if there are no further questions about your homeschooling path, Sam, Heather, Sheila, I must take my leave and prepare for my trip to Washington D.C. The Senate Committee on Educational Reform has agreed to listen to my thoughts and I cannot pass up that opportunity.”
Her Studies Completed
Hugs were exchanged, Mister Rushddoony took his leave, and Sheila spent the next three hours learning about alternative energies, renewable resources, and the biology of all living things. For one-hundred and eighty minutes her forehead wrinkled and lips scrunched in concentration as her mother discussed the circle of life with her, the intricate spider web of relationships which provide support for us all on this planet, and the fine balance of it all.
As the lesson came to an end, a single tear slid down Sheila’s left cheek and came to rest on the tabletop.
“There is so much to do, Mother,” said the beatific teen.
“There is indeed, my child. Does that worry you? It is all right to admit concerns.”
“It does not worry me, Mother. It saddens me. How have we reached this point? How have we allowed greed to overrun our finer nature? How have we, as a society, reached the point where cents have more value than common sense? We are all connected, Mother. What I do to harm one will have ramifications for thousands months later, and on and on it goes, an avalanche of consequences we are not prepared for.”
Her mother reached out and stroked the onyx hair.
“Is it too much for you to do, Sheila? I worry about you, you know.”
“If not me then who, Mother? Who will pick up the lance and fight the good fight? Besides, I will not be alone. My friends from the orphanage will be helping me, as will my future husband Bill Hollis, and close friends Tweetie and Pauline. And don’t forget the work my daughter, Astarte, will be doing, as well as my granddaughter, Hope. No, Mother, I will not be alone, and I am not worried.”
“And don’t forget your loving parents, Sheila,” said Heather with a smile. “We will always be by your side, darling, even after we have left this corporeal life. You can call on us at any time for strength and comfort.”
“I love you, Mother! Now, if we’re done for the day, I need to go check on my sick beetle. Then Delilah and I are going for a walk by the creek. Oh, Mother, Delilah has taken to riding on my buttocks during our walks. It really is quite adorable, my loyal ladybug friend clinging to my cheeks.”
And with a toss of her hair and a kiss on her mother’s cheek, the child named Sheila raced out the backdoor and seemingly glided to the barn.
The End for Now
Perhaps that is a good place to end the prequel for now. I greatly appreciate the suggestions you have given during this process. They will be considered when I finally begin making this a book.
But before that the next in my “Shadow” series must be written, and then there will be my novel set during the 1960s, a loss of innocence sort of thing, so I’ll have a good year to consider Sheila and her youth before the writing actually begins.
As Sheila would tell you all, be good to one another, and be good to our planet. We only get one chance at this thing called life, so let’s make it count.
And yes, there really was a person named Rousas John Rushdoony! Look it up if you don’t believe me.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc) #greatestunknownauthor