“Maggie, I thought we’d go for a drive today,” her dad said. “Maybe we could go to the pond and look for frogs.”
After breakfast, Maggie’s dad rummaged in the back shed and returned with a small tin pail. They went out front to the big blue Chevrolet parked by the curb. Maggie liked going for rides with her dad in the big roomy car. She liked the smell of the vinyl seats, the way the car rolled smoothly down the tree-lined streets, and the way its chrome gleamed in the sunlight. She climbed into the front seat beside her father, setting her Brownie Starflash camera down between them. Her dad looked happy and not tired like he usually was. He was wearing a crisp short-sleeved shirt and pressed grey slacks. Maggie liked the smell of his Old Spice after-shave, which he kept on a shelf in the bathroom. Sometimes, when he was watching TV in the big armchair in the evening, Maggie would stand behind him in the darkened living room and fill her head with the spicy scent.
Maggie’s dad didn’t say much on the drive up to the pond and neither did she; they both liked it that way. Maggie enjoyed just looking through the big windshield as they passed farms with cows and chickens. Sometimes she would daydream about the shapes the clouds made and wonder how they got up there in the first place. Her dad also liked to think about things. Occasionally, he would write his ideas down in a little notebook that he kept. His ideas were mostly about poetry, truth, or our purpose on this Earth. He would show her stories in National Geographic about far-off lands. Sometimes, he would bring home little flea-market treasures that he thought she might like and hide them in her desk drawer as a surprise. In the evening, they would sit out on the verandah beside the fragrant honeysuckle bush and look at the constellations. If they were very lucky, they would even see fireflies.
“The old pond. A frog jumps in. Plop!” Maggie’s dad stood up. “That’s a poem, but it doesn’t rhyme. It’s still a pretty good one though.” He was quiet for a moment.
“Well, let’s go and get a vanilla cone before we head home. We don’t want to be late for supper.”
Just this once wouldn’t hurt, Maggie thought.
Two excerpts from A Talisman for Maggie
A Talisman for Maggie is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License
Frog image: Michael Yamashita