The grass was over grown, perhaps the lawnmower had broken down, or perhaps her parents were just too busy with preparations for Christmas, but the little red haired girl appeared not to notice a thing amiss as she strode purposefully into the midst of the grass that was almost as tall as she was. She had that very busy look about her, like nothing would deter her from her very important appointment with her back yard.
Today’s look was a sort of fairy-cowboy-Barbie. She had her wings hanging off one arm and dragging in the grass and her fairy skirt. She had on cowboy boots and a straw cowboy hat with a dangling red whistle under her chin. And she had a pink Barbie t-shirt on- inside out for her own stamp of individualism and a political statement about how Barbie lives in all of us and it is our inner barbie we needed to cultivate and express!! I guess you could call it a”fairboybie” look. I loved it and immediately felt bad that I had not thought to bring a cowboy hat with me from Canada. I tugged at my own fairy wings as I watched her through the window …
She twirled, as she was wont to do, somewhat impeded by the long grass, and she stopped mid twirl to frown at the grass. She tried again, stopped, and finally pulled a piece of the tall grass out and looked at it very closely, her eyes almost crossing as she did so. She dropped the grass and ran into the house and was back in an instant with a box that was almost bigger than her.
I could tell this was a very important mission … her tongue was out and she was very busy. She set the box down and dusted off her hands, then stood with them on her hips and looked around her. She reached down and rummaged in the box and pulled out a red Christmas garland. She laid one end on top of some of the grass and skipped around weaving it until there was no more left to weave. She went back for another, this one gold. 3 more garlands appeared, each tattered and missing tinsel, but still garlands none the less. The tall grass did not seem the least bit offended – I think they were all happy to have any attention paid to them in the long hot days of summer. Once that was done, she giggled and put her hands over her mouth and shrieked in joy, and then ran back to the box and dug some more. She created a mini storm of Christmas Cards and bits and pieces of years of Christmases past while she searched for what she was looking for …. ORNAMENTS!!
Her only problem was that the ornaments were far too heavy for the grass and so she stood, stubbing her cowboy booted toe into the earth over and over, thinking. 3 ornaments dangling from her chubby little hand, as she considered what to do, and then she spied it, the darn doll carriage that she was forever kicking or throwing in the bushes as the universal red haired girl symbol of frustration at all adult logic and “overbearingness.” She ran for it, disengaged it from the bushes, and pushed it out into the middle of the garlands. There she hung ornament after broken ornament off of it. The wind rustled through the grass when she was done with whispers of approval. She made another mad dash for the house,only to return moments later with a doll, her Teddy bear, and a book.
She set them all down around the doll carriage and sat down beside them hugging her knees to her chest. There in the quiet of the day she began to sing, “Oh you better not shout, you better not die, you better not cry, cause Santa gets mad, Santa Claus is coming to town. He’s making a list, he finds bad boys, he doesn’t bring them any toooooooyyyyyys ….” and on it went until it morphed somehow into “Siiii-ah-lent night, Ho-eh-ly night, all is bright …..ummm …JingleBells, Jingle Bells …”
Once the carol fest was over she stood up and curtsied. She blew kisses to the grass and said “thank you” and had conversations with her imaginary friends who were clearly complimenting her on her singing. Then she went inside. The bear, the doll, the book and carriage stood mute amongst the tall grass. They clearly were not as familiar with Christmas Carols as the little red haired girl and she had not left them any song sheets.
A few minutes later the mother appeared and seeing the Christmas ornaments all over the yard, and somehow missing the magic of it all, screamed for the little red haired girl to “get out here and clean up this mess .. NOW!!”
The little red haired girl appeared stomping her boots with a very frowny, unhappy face and insisted, “I can’t.” Her mother took her by the hand and marched dragged her to the middle of the garlands, and pushed the box towards her and assured her she could. She told her she wanted every last piece put BACK in the box AND she had better get it done before her father got home. The little red headed girl stood there with her arms folded over her chest crying and trying to look pitiful until her mother was out of sight. She immediately stopped and reverted to the scowl and wrinkled sucked in prune lips. She stamped one of her cowboy booted feet and with one mighty motion, she swung her left leg back …. and kicked her doll carriage….sending it sailing into the garlanded grass!
As she picked up the ornaments and threw them into the box, I could hear her singing, bobbing her head back and forth, sarcasm dripping from her fairy wings. I leaned closer to the window so I could hear. She was singing “Jingle Bells, Mommy smells …..” over and over and over ….
I carefully made note of the Christmas lessons from my little red haired girl, the sage of the world:
You can dress up anything but it does not change its true nature … a stupid doll carriage, even with ornaments and Christmas garlands, is still, in the end, just a stupid doll carriage.
Even unmowed back yards can feel the magic of Christmas, especially if shared with a Teddy Bear and a genuine “fairboybie.”
After the carols are sung, Christmas is definitely over – regardless of whether the”woman” singing it is fat or red haired.
Have you read the other’s in this series?
Lessons From The Little Red Haired Girl Next Door. The Doll Carriage.
Lessons From The Little Red Haired Girl Next Door. The Soccer Ball.
Lessons From The Little Red Haired Girl Next Door. Fairies and Imaginary Friends.