The adventures of a knitting grandmother

My Photo
Location: United States

She spins, she knits, she blogs about it all.

Monday, June 26, 2006

AL Challenge Three

***The previous chapters may be linked to in the sidebar, under The LittleLace Saga***

Chapter 3

Magda was miserable. She had always been a restless spirit, ever since her birth in the great southwest desert. The endless sky, the endless brown desert, the endless dust and dreariness had grated on her nerves for as long as she could remember. She hated the heat, the dust, the scorpions, and most of all the neverending work. Magda wished for blue oceans, seagulls, cities full of people living lives she could barely imagine. Magda dreamed of railroad tracks, taking her far, far away from the desert. She wanted to travel in a sleek, shiny railroad car, with cut glass and wine in the dining car and freshly pressed sheets in the sleeper. That was the way to travel. Not in a dirty, creaking covered wagon that was unbearably hot during the day and full of bugs at night.

For a while, once they had arrived at the Canyon, Magda had found her restlessness diminishing. There were many things to see there. She was fascinated by all the travellers gawking at the canyon's rim. They came and went on a daily basis, just making another stop in their busy, mysterious lives. Magda couldn't stop herself from staring. Their clothes, their fine leather shoes and luggage, their jewelry, their money, all drew her like a magnet. Magda knew that she should be helping Momma and Poppa; she knew that she was being tremendously unfair to Moira, but she could not help herself. It was all just too fascinating for her. She had finally been content, in a way, happy to be a part of the ebb and flow of a bustling, busy little village, as it were. Content to spend her days where she was, her dreams of railroad tracks fading into memory...until yesterday.

Yesterday morning, Momma had taken her and Moira out for a walk on the rim. The air was clear and cool in the early morning, and Magda had been thoroughly enjoying herself, when Momma spoke the fateful words. "You are going to start working tomorrow."

What??!! Magda had been more shocked than angry. Momma explained that since Moira was doing all the housework and childcare, that it was now appropriate for Magda to go to work. Where?! Magda demanded to know. El Tovar, her mother replied. And doing what? Working in the cellar, Momma said. Washing dishes and laundry and polishing silver.

Magda was beside herself. How could she possibly mingle with all the tourists if she were going to be stuck all day in a cellar? Momma was firm. It's necessary, she said. Your Poppa agrees. It's really for your own good.

And so Magda had gone to work today. All day. The cellars had been hot and damp. And sweat had trickled down her neck all day. She had polished silver sugar bowls and washed out china chamber pots. She had ironed bedsheets until her shoulders ached. It had been the most miserable day of her life.

Late in the afternoon she was sent outside to pump water for the dinner washing. Oh, how refreshing it seemed to be out in the air, the light wind tossing her ruffles, cooling her brow. All around her she could see the tourists walking on the paths. Soon they would all be going into the hotels to enjoy the evening meal, with cut glass and stiff napkins and cool wine. Whereas she, Magda, would go back into the cellar and the heat--

All at once Magda couldn't stand it any longer. She could not, would not, work for one minute longer. She left the bucket of water sitting by the pump and marched around the building, up the front steps of El Tovar. She had every intention of going to find her mother and tell her that there was no way that she, Magda, could bear this even another moment, when she heard loud laughter coming from the area of the saloon. She paused and looked in. Several men were there, drinking and playing cards. She had seen them the day before. Now one of them leaned back in his chair and happened to catch her eye. He smiled at her for a moment, and then, to Magda's surprise, began to sing.

"There once was a night in the month of May,
A night when the sea was still.
I took myself walking down by the bay,
While the city slept on the hill.

I saw a fair maiden there on the sand.
She stood like a nymph of old.
Lace on her shouolders, lace in her hand,
Her hair fell like cables of gold."

Magda was spellbound. The other men at the table joined in on the chorus.

"Oh, my lace is as warm as new honey,
My lace is as sweet as the sea.
She's a wicked and wild
Most alluring child,
And I'll keep all her kisses for me."

Magda stared as the stranger began the second verse. She had never seen anyone like him before. His suit was dark and finely tailored; his vest a riot of color. His face was tanned, his brown hair thick and wavy. He was flashy, flambouyant, and utterly mesmerizing.

"She turned her fair head and saw me,
Her dark lacey eyelets did gleam,
Just like a raven, noble and free,
A creature born out of a dream.

From me she turned, and ran along the shore,
Lace billowing dark in the night,
Whipped about by the ocean's roar
Her beruffled spirit took flight."

Despite herself Magda stepped closer. The mysterious stranger covertly watched her as his companions again joined in the chorus.

"Oh, my lace is as warm as new honey,
My lace is as sweet as the sea,
She's a wicked and wild
Mischevious child,
And I'll keep all her kisses for me."

The stranger smiled to himself as he sang.

"I tried to catch her, that lace so fair.
She turned, and stood so still,
I took her hands and kissed her there.
"Would you my dreams all fulfil?'

I took her, brother, for my bride,
And forever more she'll stand
Within my heart and by my side,
In our house upon the sand."

Now everyone in the saloon was singing the chorus. The room seemed to shake with their voices.

"Oh, my lace is as warm as new honey,
My lace is as sweet as the sea."

Magda was shaking. The mysterious stranger was looking right at her, his eyes boring into her.

"She's a wicked and wild
Most bewitching child,
And I'll keep all her kisses for me."

Magda gasped and ran out onto the porch. Thank goodness it was deserted. She dropped into a chair, trying to calm her racing heartbeat. Breathe, breathe, she told herself. She began to stop shaking. Then she heard it.

"My Magda's as warm as new honey."

She jerked around the chair. He was there, the mysterious stranger. Softly singing to her.

How did he know her name?

The stranger smiled.

Suddenly, Magda smiled, too.

An hour later, in the deepening dusk, two figures climbed aboard the last train of the day, just as it pulled out of the station.

"My Magda's as warm as new honey,
My Magda's as sweet as the sea.
She's a wicked and wild
Disobedient child,
And I'll keep all her kisses for me."


Anonymous Kelly said...

That was great! You did a wonderful job on the poem and Magda looks beautiful.

3:07 AM  
Blogger Roxie said...

Bravo, bravo, bravo!!! Mad, wild applause! Brilliant way to fit the poem into the story. Oh, Pat, you are sooo good! And what splendid poetry. I can almost hear the melody. Someone ought to publish this book! And now I'm all worried about wild Magda, and the heart-break her family will feel. Did she leave a note? Will he really marry her? What happens next?

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Janine said...

Absolutely mesmerising- you have a true gift for story telling - and the lace is pretty good too! :-)

7:32 AM  
Blogger margene said...

You are a total nut...in a good way.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

BRAVO!! BRAVO!! BRAVO!!! Wild crazy loud applause!! Standing ovation!! Whistleing like only boys can do!! I can't wait to see the next act and scene Pat. A breathtaking heart racing poem. I want this entire novel!! Or I want a front row seat in the stage production. This is just wonderful - oh how talented you are. I'm in complete awe.

10:39 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

P.S. I was SINGING this poem!! The chorus can fit with "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean". I was just singing that to my children last night so it's the first thing that came into my mind. You're just incredible. :)

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Andrea said...

I'm absolutely hooked on the LittleLace Saga! I simply love it.
*sigh* if only my entries to the Amazing Lace were a forth as good as yours are. Keep up the good knitting and storytelling. Bravo for the extreme knitting.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

Oh Pat K.

You are so talented! The song is a gem! I still cannot believe you didn't win the lace contest. The black and white images add such character to the post.
I AM SO PROUD to know you!

Hall of Fame Post, I'd say!

10:01 AM  
Blogger The Purloined Letter said...


I'm enjoying this series of posts so much!

1:59 PM  
Blogger Abigail 1870 pearl said...

Ditto! Truly, you are a talented writer. In my book you are first place:D

2:14 PM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

Pat! What can I add to those comments above? I truly believe that your story (and your lace!) deserve top prizes...This is just wonderful, you're so talented.

7:40 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home