They are orphans…





A week ago
while wandering through Kroger late at night with a teacher friend to buy
pickles for an elementary school project, I chanced upon a cart that had
reduced “summer” items for sale in it. Most items were of the garden theme, a
few solar deck lamps and plastic cups and bowls dressed in a variety of primary
colors that were meant to symbolize the festivity of the season… but as I
rummaged, I saw at the bottom sat a box that piqued my curiosity.


and taped, it sported the images of a fairy and a frog with a crown on its
head; aka the frog prince.  The fairy was
adorable with thin wings that sprouted from her slender shoulders and bent in
compassion, she gingerly held the webbed hand of her friend just above a globe which
was supposed to glow as she granted him his wish to become human again.  All this I absorbed in the matter of a second
or two and without hesitation I reached into the cart and pulled the fairy and
her beleaguered friend as my own.


When I got
to the register with my purchase, I remarked that the price had been reduced
and even though I did not have the liquidity to do so- committed o to the
purchase. When the cashier began to ring it up, she noticed the legs of the
fairy were broken and that she had on remained in place with the aid of a clear
twist tie.


She advised
me of such and was ready to cancel out the sale, but I reached out- touched the
wings and then smiled.


“That will
be fine.” I said.  “I think I can fix her”
and I rolled the box in my hands to look at the break and assess the
feasibility.  Suddenly I thought of my
mother and Oswald and knew I could do it.
The frog prince seemed grateful and the cashier thought I was insane.


“Why would
you want to buy a broken statue?” she asked as she took the key from the
register, still waiting to ring it up.


“Because no
one else will.” I replied and the fairy and frog prince smiled brighter in
their cardboard kingdom. “It will be fine,” I assured her. “Just go ahead and
ring them up, please. My daughter will be getting off work in a few minutes and
I need to pick her up.”


My friend
loaded her pickles onto the belt and laughed. “You’re crazy. It’s broken! Just
get a new one, silly.”

“No…. I’m
good.” I whispered, knowing that every orphan deserves a home.


“Ok then…
I’ll take 75% off this sale price.” The cashier muttered. “We’re not supposed
to sell damaged merchandise- just sale and discontinued items. Somebody didn’t
see the legs. Or, it got broken being in the bottom.” And with that she
replaced her key, punched a few buttons and for $3.69 the box and my heart went
inside a bag.


When I got
home, I took the box apart one flap at a time- careful not to disturb any other
broken pieces. I propped her up on my desk and commenced with the delicate surgery
to the twist ties and broken appendages. Once that was completed, I noticed the
globe had been separated from its pedestal too. Twenty minutes and a few
squirts of Gorilla Glue later, I placed the duet and their accoutrements on a
table opposite my dear Charley. The silhouette broke the moonbeams coming in from
the window of my office that faced the lake.


Pleased with
myself I turned and walked the four feet back to my desk. “I bought you a
present tonight, Charley” I said and then crossed the room again and pushed the
button at the back of the piece, hoping the solar panel still worked. “They can
keep you company at night.”


I crossed my
fingers and slowly the bulb began to glow. Soft and pinkish the blush bloomed
on the face of fairy and frog prince alike. “See? It’s you and me” I mused. “You’re
the one in the green, by the way!” I joked!


The 8 x10
held court for a moment deliberating his new companions and then with traditional
Mona Lisa smile, granted his approval.


“They were
orphans, Charley… just like you and me. I had to give them a home.”

The globe glowed and the effect in the
moonlight was ethereal.  “It’s a night
light… to keep you safe in the dark.”


And with
that, I smiled… thought of my mother and wished them all a good night.

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