Uncle David has a Rose of Sharon tree in his garden with the most beautiful flowers, little stars-in-my-sky, and I can’t help but think of you when I see it in bloom. It’s heavy with frost now, blossoms long gone, but I remember the crinkly petals, blue and pink, sweeping like ruffled skirts, and think of the fun we could have with them. We’d pick a handful and carefully separate the petals. We’d gather them together, and I’d show you how to use a twist of grass to bind and hold them where we wanted. Maddy and I would make fairies, binding the flaring petals around a single bud, the stem forming a little hat, pink and blue petals mixing to form twirly skirts. Maddy loves swirly, girly skirts, and we’d dance our fairies around. Max would just say “humph!!” He doesn’t think much of fairies. His dinosaur toy would stomp and roar and chase them back up the tree.
“I’ll eat you up!” he’d say.
The dinosaur is too fat for a skirt, and far too ill-tempered anyway. But then we’d hold it down and make a ruffle around its head, and suddenly the chubby dinosaur is a sleek dilophosaur, flaring its blue ruff and scaring the fairies. They calm it down with dandelion wishes, and coax it into the tree, where they all climb and dance together (dilophosaurs are amazing climbers) until it’s time for cookies and moo-staches. Carefully, Maddy and I press one of our fairies in a book, so we can preserve it for always, to enjoy when the Rose of Sharon is covered in ice, and little girls and grandmas have grown up too much for fairy skirts.