When your daddy small, little stars-in-my-sky, we used to watch movies together, your grandfather and I, your daddy, Uncle Michael and Uncle David. We didn’t have videos (imagine that!), so we would get films from the library and play them on a projector. More than once your daddy fell asleep on my lap in the dark as the film projector made its shushing noise.
We watched old funny movies I’d watched as a child. We watched movies my mother watched as a child, silent movies that are still so very funny. Sometimes, we’d even watch them backwards and make up silly things for the people to say. Popcorn and root beer and ice cream, giggles and warmth.
And we watched a movie about magical creatures who lived in the sand far away, who built a sand castle to play in and danced on its towers. Funny creatures full of mischief, who slept under the sand when the wind blew. “Again!” daddy would say. “Again!” That night he would roll into his bed like a little sand creature, rumpling his blankets into walls, and fall asleep dreaming of the sound of wind and flutes. He and his brothers played sand creature, rolling and slithering, pushing and patting blankets and pillows into walls of imaginary sand. Then the make-believe wind would come, and the air would be full of colorful fluttering blankets drifting down over everyone. Daddy’s invisible friend Charley Barley would play too, making mischief, tweaking blankets, pinching toes. Charley Barley loved the Sand Castle.
Three little boys (and Charley Barley) grew up, and The Sand Castle receded into yesterday, just a wisp of sand-colored music or a bit of dream. But I remembered. I held my images of golden sand and dancing creatures, and little boys with golden hair rolling silly on the floor, building dreams with blankets and pillows and stuffed toys, singing the song of flutes. And I knew that someday, I would share The Sand Castle with their children, who would say, “Again!” and together we’d build our own magic.
And perhaps, just perhaps, Charley Barley would come out to play.