When life use to be


Hank: Mama?  When life use to be they didn’t have electronics?

Me: Correct-a-mundo.

Hank:  So how did you take a picture?

Me: You had to draw or paint it.  You could also cut out a shadow.

Hank: Shadow cutting? You can do that.

Me: Yup.  I will show you.

Hank: (thinking) But mama, what if you couldn’t draw or paint or cut shadows?  How could you have a picture of someone?

Me:  You couldn’t.

Hank: (thinking) Then what if you moved away from someone you loved.  How could you see them when you missed them?

Me:  You had to carry them always in your heart.  You had to invest in communication more then images or pictures.  You had to write letters and spend time together and time remembering.

Hank: (pause) That is the saddest thing and it hurts my heart to think of it.

Me: This is why you live today and not when life used to be.

Hank: If I lived when life use to be I would be a great artist.

Me: Indeed.


Before and After Coffee


Before Coffee

Hank: Mama.  I have been thinking about these shoe mice.

Me: (groggy) What about those sneaky shoe mice that like to scuttle into your shoes and pockets to toast their tummies?

Hank: Well they aren’t really real.

Me: (shock and horror, mouth agape)

Hank: Mama, look. (presents a shoe mouse)  They are made out of shells of noz (walnuts).  And how can they walk?  They do not have feet. I was thinking you made it up.

Me: Hank.  I have been thinking about you too.  I noticed the other day you said you were going to sweep the floor instead of broom the floor.  You are at least an inch taller then you were last month and in a week and a half you will be six and six is when things start to change.  I feel in my bones that pretty soon you will have to make a choice.  All people make this choice in their lives.  You can either choose to believe in the power of magic.  That magic is powerful whether you are the one who receives or makes the magic. Or you can choose let go of magical things and choose to see life without it.  It is your choice and I can see you are at a crossroads.  Now I need coffee.  Let me know what you decide.

After Coffee

Hank: Mama?

Me: Yes, my dove?

Hank:  I have decided that I want to keep magic.

Me: Really?  (from a hug) You can always change your mind.  You know, my choice was to believe in magic and I have never lived a dull boring day, not one, my whole life.

Hank: I want magic and I don’t want to lose it.

Me:  Well then.  You have come to the right lady.  And now that you are old enough I can teach you how to make these silly shoe mice run and hide and then you can pass on the magic to your younger friends and primos (cousins).

Hank: OH! Inês will love shoe mice!

Me: Absolutely.  And do you know the best part?

Hank: (whispers) What is it?

Me: Helping to make magic is ever better then getting it as a gift.

Hank: Mama, I gotta go and find more sneaky shoe mice in my room.

Me: Right on!  I got a ton of shoes and pockets that could use a silly shoe mice or two.

Hank: And Papa, too!

Me: Truth!


Authors Note:  About a year after this conversation my magical Shoe Mice became a book.  In that book there are full instructions on how you can bring magical Shoe Mice into your lives. Click on the links above to learn more.


Purple Carrots


Hank: Mãe (mom)?  What kinds of soup are we having?

Me: Carrot soup.

Hank: Yum! (pause) What are carrots made of?

Me: Carrot.

Hank: (giggles) And why are carrots orange?

Me: Well, they weren’t always orange.  Did you know that at one time the most common color of carrot was purple?

Hank: No way. You mean when life used to be?

Me: Yup.  Long time ago there was a farmer and one day when he was harvesting his carrot crop he noticed some funny orange carrots right in the middle of his patch of purple.  He thought that was strange, but he took a bite and although it wasn’t as sweet as his normal purple carrots, it wasn’t bad.  So he left a couple of the strange orange carrots to go to seed and by next year he had two whole rows of orange carrots.  He took a basket of this wildly different carrot to market and wouldn’t you know…  People went nuts over them.  His basket was sold quicker than any of his other vegetables and so the next year he planted even more and then he started selling orange carrot seeds to other farmers.  Fancy ladies would only serve orange carrot soup at their dinner parties and before you knew it…  hardly anyone wanted purple carrots anymore.  Why, by the time the farmer’s children were grown and had children of their own he didn’t even plant purple carrots anymore.

Hank: Oh.  That is sad.

Me:  But do you know what happened?

Hank:  No, what?

Me: One day the farmer’s grandchildren’s children were playing in the barn behind their orange carrot patch and guess what they found?

Hank: (mouth full of soup)

Me: They found an old dusty jar and it read, “purple carrot seed.”  Well, imagine their surprise!  Who ever heard of a purple carrot?

Hank: ME!

Me: So they took the jar to their grandpa and he told them about they way life used to be and the story of the original purple carrot and that gave those kids an idea.

Hank: Did they make a garden?

Me: The very next day those kids planted a handful of those purple carrot seeds, just to see if it was true and a few months later, underneath the green frown where there should have been a pop of orange was a burst of purple and the next year those kids took a basket of purple carrots to the market and that basket sold out quicker than any other.  The following year fancy ladies would only serve purple carrot soup at their dinner parties and people found they much preferred the purple carrots, as they were much sweater than the ordinary orange.

Hank:  Is that a real story or one you made up, Mama?

Me: Both.

Pai:  I have seen them.  They sell purple carrots in the fancy grocery stores in America.

Me:  We will have to keep our eyes peeled for purple carrots.

Hank: I really want to try some.

Me: Me, too.