Archive for December, 2007

The Wings Behind the Grandfather Clock (A Story)


Whenever Sparkle Girl and Doobins want to see their friend Mr. Whitfield all they have to do is walk across the street.

His wife, Pearl, is their friend, too. Mr. Whitfield likes to say that Pearl has put up with a lot over the years.

When it’s warm, Mr. Whitfield likes to sit on his front porch. If they see him out there, they might ask Garnet if they can go over to say hello.

Ever since Sparkle Girl learned how to look both ways every single time, Garnet lets them cross the street without her. Most times, Doobins looks both ways. But sometimes he is thinking about other things and forgets.

Mr. Whitfield drinks black coffee all day long, and, whenever Sparkle Girl and Doobins stop by, he offers them a cup.

“Puts hair on your chest,” he says and laughs.

“I don’t want hair on my chest,” Sparkle Girl says and laughs.

Doobins just makes a face and says, “Coffee is yucky.”

On this particular morning, Sparkle Girl and Doobins were helping Garnet work in the flower garden when Mr. Whitfield came out to sit on his porch. Perhaps they might like to visit, said Garnet.

“Are you sure you don’t need us to stay and help?” said Sparkle Girl.

“I’m sure,” said Garnet.

Both of them looked both ways, and before you could say “Banana Boat Bob eats plum pudding for breakfast” they were on Mr. Whitfield’s porch turning down his offer of a cup of coffee.

“Puts hair on your chest,” he said and laughed.

“I don’t want hair on my chest,” Sparkle Girl said and laughed.

“Coffee is yucky,” said Doobins.

“Your mother sure is pretty,” said Mr. Whitfield. “I do believe that, next to Pearl, she is the prettiest woman I have ever laid eyes on.”

Mr. Whitfield had said the same thing many times before. Sparkle Girl and Doobins didn’t mind. They like hearing how pretty their mother is, and Sparkle Girl likes it that Mr. Whitfield thinks Pearl is the prettiest woman he has ever laid eyes on.

“Your momma ever show you her angel wings?” said Mr. Whitfield.

This was new. Mr. Whitfield says their mother is an angel about as often as he tells them how pretty she is. But this was the first they had heard about her having wings. They weren’t sure what to think because sometimes Mr. Whitfield likes to make up things.

“No,” Sparkle Girl said.

“No,” said Doobins.

“You know that grandfather clock in your living room?” said Mr. Whitfield.

Both children nodded.

“She keeps her wings in the closet behind it,” Mr. Whitfield said.

“I didn’t know there was a closet behind the grandfather clock,” said Sparkle Girl.

“Go look for yourself,” said Mr. Whitfield.

Well, of course, that is exactly what the children wanted to do. But they had just gotten there, and it would be rude to rush right off.

“Don’t mind me,” said Mr. Whitfield. “You go take a look and see if I’m right.”

This time Doobins was so excited he forgot to look both ways so it was a good thing that Sparkle Girl was in charge.

They shot right past their mother. For a second, she felt a little hurt because she was used to getting a big greeting from both of them whenever they hadn’t seen her for more than a minute. She felt better when the thought came to her that one of them might have been in a rush to the bathroom.

When Sparkle Girl and Doobins peered behind the grandfather clock, it was too dark to see anything. So Doobins got the flashlight that his cousin Ned had given him for his birthday. Sure enough, they could see a door knob.

Doobins tried to push the grandfather clock out of the way.

“Don’t do that, Doobins,” said Sparkle Girl, who was afraid the clock might tip over and crash to the floor. If that happened, they would be in big trouble.

“It’s too heavy to push,” said Doobins who had kept pushing as hard as he could while Sparkle Girl was talking.

“Now what?” said Sparkle Girl.

“We go ask Mommy,” said Doobins.

“That’s good thinking, Doobins,” said Sparkle Girl.

This time they remembered to give their mother hugs. When they were done, Sparkle Girl said, “Momma, Mr. Whitfield said that you’re keeping your angel wings in the closet. Is that true?”

“Yep,” Garnet said, “that’s right where they are.”

“Could we see them?” said Doobins.

“Sure,” said Garnet. “After lunch.”

After everyone ate the pimiento-cheese sandwiches that Garnet fixed, she pushed away the grandfather clock as if it weighed no more than a loaf of bread. She opened the door to the closet.

Sure enough, angel wings.

Later, Sparkle Girl found Doobins walkeing around shining his flashlight behind the all the big furniture.

“What are you looking for, Doobins?” said Sparkle Girl.

“If we have a closet with angel wings maybe we have another one filled with brownies,” Doobins said.

“That’s good thinking, Doobins,” said Sparkle Girl.

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