When Angels Sing: Chapter Five
Time Marches On
Thanks so much for joining me again as we take a look at the early years of our love child, Sheila, a young lady with some pretty spectacular gifts.
Today we leap ahead three years. Sheila is eight and she continues to develop her gifts while her parents support her and try to keep her balanced. As you might suspect if you are the parent of a “gifted” child, there are days that can be a bit trying.
Our story today begins as the sun rises over Olympia, Washington in early January, 1967. Sam McCabe and Heather Miller, Sheila’s parents by adoption, are making breakfast on a cast iron stove in the kitchen of their 1890’s farmhouse.
Rise and Shine
“She was up late again last night, Heather,” Sam said to his wife, who at that moment was pulling fresh bread out of the oven. He was salivating over the bread. He was salivating over his wife. It was, to say the very least, quite a dilemma. Which to savor first? Perhaps both at the same time? A little nibble of Heather, a little nibble of bread, food for the body, food for the soul, these were Sam’s thoughts that morning, normal thoughts for Sam for he was a reflective man, a thoughtful man and yes, a lustful man.
Heather knew her man well.
“Get the strawberry preserve from the cupboard, Sam, and place a dollop upon my inner thigh, and then I think we should…..oh, good morning, Sheila my darling, did you sleep well?”
Sheila shuffled into the kitchen clutching her ladybug stuffed toy and wiping sleep from her eyes, green eyes they were, sparkling jade windows to a soul filled with wonder and love. Her black hair, blacker than black, black as the deepest void, black so black as to appear blue, fell across her face and cascaded down her back, contrasting so starkly with the ivory whiteness of her skin. Her nightgown was filthy, stained with mud and dirt, with little twigs stuck to it, clinging to it, afraid, evidently, to let go and fall to earth.
“I love you, Mother. I love you, Father,” was all she said as she found the Cheerios in the cupboard and poured some in a bowl.
Sam felt it his duty to inquire about the disheveled appearance of his beautiful child.
“Sheila, darling, why are you so dirty this morning and good morning, my little cherub, I love you too?”
She brushed the blackness from her face and treated her father to a smile usually reserved for the angels, an “everything is all right” smile, a “wipe away your troubles” smile, and although it seemed impossible, Sam could have sworn he heard violins in the distance.
“I traveled to Iowa last night, Father, and I’m afraid I got a bit dirty while helping Sally.”
As if that explained it all and, in truth, it did, for Sheila had this gift, this “knock your socks off” and “capsize your sanity” gift, the ability to travel through different dimensions, twenty years backwards, ten years forwards, spin the crazy wheel of life, wherever she was “needed,” there she was, and evidently Sally needed her the previous night, whomever Sally was, or is, oh my goodness, it’s all so confusing for this writer and teller of tales.
Sam decided it was best if he returned his attention and concentration to the strawberry preserves, perhaps wishing and hoping for Heather’s suggestion to become a reality, which meant further explanation was now the responsibility of Heather.
“And what was happening in Iowa, Sheila?” Heather dutifully asked.
Sheila’s cheeks, by that point, were bulging with Cheerios, so the answer to the inquiry was delayed while serious chewing occurred. Finally, though, beautiful Sheila was able to respond.
“Sally had a tractor problem, Mother, or to be more precise, the tractor ran over her, she died and Sally was asking for my help and, well, I was there and there you are. My goodness that baked bread smells wonderful. Would it be possible for me to have some, Mother, and why is Father staring so longingly at the strawberry preserve?”
Yes, Sheila had a gift.
“She is quite well now, though,” said the raven-haired cherub. “And she sends her love to you two, and isn’t that what this is all about, Mother, Father, love, sweet love?”
Later That Day
Heather was teaching her daughter how to sew, Sam was trying to get the old well pump to work properly, and Sally was doing whatever Sally normally did in Iowa when she wasn’t flattened underneath a tractor, when a car drove up the driveway and stopped in front of their home. Well, not Sally’s home, but you get the picture.
From the car emerged a rolly-polly man, a man in need of a diet, a man who never saw a chocolate éclair he didn’t like, and that man walked up the steps, walked across the porch and knocked on the front door. Sheila jumped off her mother’s lap and answered the door, smiling that smile while doing so.
“May I help you?” she asked, blinding the stranger with radiant love.
The mound of flesh blinked rapidly upon seeing the child, as if his eyes could not handle the brightness they looked upon.
“Good afternoon, young lady! May I speak to your mother or father?”
The question proved to be a bit of a waste since, at that moment, Heather came to the door, joining her daughter with her own dazzling smile.
“May I help you? I’m Heather Miller and this is my daughter, Sheila.”
The man took off his hat.
“And I’m Ike Turner and I’m a reporter for the Daily Olympian. I’m here, Missus Miller, because of your daughter. We received a call to our office from an anonymous caller telling us about your daughter and some rather remarkable gifts she has. Now I must tell you, what this caller told us sounded so preposterous, well, our editor said it was just hogwash and not worth our time, but then a second call came to the office and well, where there’s smoke there is usually fire, don’t you know?”
Sheila tilted her head and squinted those marble eyes.
“But there’s no fire here, Mister Turner. There isn’t even some smoke, unless you’re talking about this morning when Mother burned a batch of cookies. Is that what you’re here for, Mister Turner? Are you writing a story about burned cookies?”
Sheila, you see, could play obtuse as well as anyone alive, and playing she was at that moment, the innocent child unable to comprehend the complicated ramblings of an adult. Her sweet face of innocence pleaded for understanding while her complicated mind plotted a trajectory guaranteed to deliver her to safety.
Mister Turner was persistent as well as rotund.
“This caller told us about a child who was able to, well, give life to dead animals, a squirrel here, a rabbit there, all manner of resurrections happening on this farm, and that child was named Sheila and, well, here I am to see for myself.”
At which point the child Sheila reached out and held Mister Turner’s hand and he immediately collapsed to the floor, out cold as it were.
“I’ll get the smelling salts,” said Heather.
Ten Minutes Later
Mister Turner opened his eyes and was greeted by a smiling Heather and Sheila.
“I’m afraid, Mister Turner, that you fainted,” said Heather. “Thankfully you did not hurt yourself in the fall. Now then, tell us again why you are visiting us?”
“Oh, excuse me, goodness gracious, well, it was some nonsense about your daughter and resurrections, but I can see that it was, in fact, just silliness and, well, I’m sorry to have wasted your time. You have a wonderful day now, and thank you for your time.”
And with that the humpty-dumpty man walked out the front door, crossed the lawn and opened his car door. Just as he was about to climb into the driver’s seat, Sheila cried out.
“Mister Turner, your father says hello, and he wants to remind you to love yourself. Stop eating donuts, Mister Turner, or you’ll end up like your father.” And then she waved, he waved and off he drove, more confused now than a thousand politicians.
“What a nice man,” Heather said.
“Yes, he was, Mother,” replied Sheila.
“His father’s dead now isn’t he, darling?”
“Mother, how many times must I tell you? Where there is love there is no death.”
Ta Ta for Now
I leave you with those words. “Where there is love there is no death.” They have special meaning to me and I hope the same for you.
Until next week….do all things with love.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)