I remember when I was very young; our grandfather brought home a croquet set. I cannot remember if he won it or bought it. He was always winning something.
Since we had never played the game, our neighbor Mr. Davis helped us set up the game in the side yard between our house and his house. We had a great deal of fun that Summer playing croquet even though our dog Spot, our first pet, would go chasing the ball. He did not care about the mallets.
Spot was all white except for one large black spot and a few small black ones here and there. He was always there with us children inside or out.
Unfortunately, the first month of Autumn Spot was hit by a car. I remember we held him in our arms and prayed for him not to die, but he did. We children did cry and cry and cry. We buried him in the backyard by the cornfield which was in full growth.
We rarely played croquet after that. Without Spot it was not fun anymore or perhaps there were too many painful memories.
This was our first experience with death. Unfortunately, as we grew, death seemed to happen a lot to our uncles and aunts; our friends and neighbors; our classmates; our grandfather and grandmother.
Death to children is like Alice In Wonderland. Very little makes sense—painting white roses red; using flamingos and hedgehogs as mallets and balls in a games of croquet or the wily Cheshire Cat appearing and disappearing at an instance.
Kings and Queens made of playing cards with the Queen of Hearts calling “Off with his/her head.” A talking white rabbit with a pocket watch and a Mad Hatter at an insane tea party are all elements which are about as real as death is to a child.
Perhaps, like Alice’s adventures, death is just a curious dream. In our summer vacation of simple joys and simple sorrows we grow out of child lore into the Autumn realities of human life.
We say many good-byes. Some are permanent as we toss a rose on a descending casket or give a hug at high school graduation.
Our road of life takes many turns and twists. The eventuality of all of our diverse roads which we traverse will end the same—like we children hugged, cried and prayed for our beloved Spot and said our final good-byes at the edge of the cornfield on that early Fall day so many, many years ago.
Life is too short to waste—not only to live but thrive. May your life have been a curious dream. Who knows, Wonderland may be only a step away in our final dream when we end our terrestrial journey on this earth.
We are star stuff. Star stuff finds its way home eventually.
G. D. Williams © 2014
Alice In Wonderland
All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretence
Our wanderings to guide.
Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour,
Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet what can poor voice avail
Against three tongues together?
Imperious Prima flashes forth
Her edict “to begin it”:
In gentler tones Secunda hopes
“There will be nonsense in it.”
While Tertia interrupts the tale
Not more than once a minute.
Anon to sudden silence won,
In fancy they pursue
The dream-child moving through a land
Of wonders wild and new,
In friendly chat with bird or beast—
And half believe it true.
And ever, as the story drained
The wells of fancy dry,
And faintly strove that weary one
To put the subject by,
“The rest next time—” “It is next time!”
The happy voices cry.
Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out—
And now the tale is done,
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.
Alice! A childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined
In Memory’s mystic band,
Like pilgrim’s withered wreath of flowers
Pluck’d in a far-off land.