I haven't really given you a story or a tale in quite awhile and since this is a day of sharing friendship, I'll go for it and give you one from my childhood.
As the youngest by 11 and 12 years of three kids, I was raised basically as an only. My sister was married and out of the house by her senior year of high school and right after my brother graduated he went into the Air Force. So at 6, I was it.
I was a latch key kid starting right after I started first grade. Scares me thinking about it now but times were after all different back in the dark ages. I did in fact walk home a little over 3 miles from school, most of that distance by myself. I had all kinds of adventures and back roads to get home and kept myself entertained in ways that I would die if my grands told me they had done. I walked on railroad tracks, across route 66 and down too many alleys and pass thrus. They were all "short cuts" in a matter of speaking.
There was an Italian restaurant whose cook, a really chubby happy man, gave me rolls, a Chinese place where I ate chow mein when they had cooked too much, a grocery store where I got the empty fruit crates and took them home to built things from them and my favorite place of all.....a house with three huge stone lions out front. It was a massive enclave with rolling lawns and pecan and walnut trees one which had this fabulous rope swing that you could fly to the moon on. And the most divine tiny flower garden under the window of an old lady who after awhile invited me in to talk. For a long time she would visit with me through her open window. No matter what the season. I remember going to see her in the summer and in the rain and when it snowed. She was the purveyor of magick for me.
She is the one who told me about the faeries that lived in the black walnut tree right outside her window. There was a huge hollow (probably from blight or something) at just about 6 year old eye level and she would hand me tiny cookies on a silver coaster and milk or tea in a tee weeny cup to place in the hollow. She taught me to respect and love the fae and know that they would do the same in kind.
Once I was invited inside, her house it was like a museum. When you walked the sound of your footsteps would echo behind you. She had a maid or caretaker who reminded me of Olive Oyl from Popeye, never smiled. The walls had paintings of the olden days and there were pedestals with statues of naked people and animals.
Her room was the palest yellow I had seen and the curtains were a rich cocoa color. She was so crippled that she never moved out of her wheelchair but her eyes were very animated and very childlike. Sweet, kind, dark blue eyes with green at the edges. Her skin was so deeply wrinkled she reminded me of my Mom's laundry in the basket before she hung it up to dry. And her room always smelled of roses and lavender.
Her name was Mrs. O'dell. I never knew she had another name. She told me she had traveled all over the world but that New Mexico had the best air for what was wrong with her and she loved the color of the light in autumn in NM best. She used to be a painter and many of the paintings in the foray were either ones she painted or by some of her friends. She asked me if I knew who Georgia O'Keffe was? Of course at 6, the answer was no. She showed me a painting of a big old flower and said it was a gift. (You can see that big old flower at the Georgia O'Keefe museum in Santa Fe). They had been friends when she lived in northern NM before she met and married Mr. O'dell who she said had been gone several years. One day I asked her when he was coming back. She laughed so hard she cried. I liked seeing her laugh, her wrinkles disappeared and her voice was like a bird and she liked me because I made her happy. She was the first person to make me feel good about the real me.
I never rang the front bell but would, when I wasn't eating my way home, tap on her window. If she as too sick to see me, she would leave a note in her window which said to look in the hollow and there always was some something there....a polished stone, a pretty flower, a button, a thimble, a sprig of lavender.
And then one day it just stopped. You see I think Mrs. O'dell left with the faery folk because first the notes and things for the hollow stopped, the flower bed went to seed, then the curtains came down and then someone closed and locked the gates.
Every Litha, midsummer, I think of my mentor of the magickal ways of the fae and I leave a special treat for Mrs. O'dell. I know she is whole and happy and laughing and probably is instructing faery children about the magick inside of them just as she helped me see it in me.......this is one of my greatest magick stories and a treasure to have.