Monday, March 24, 2008


No performer should attempt to bite off red-hot iron unless he has a good set of teeth. ~Harry Houdini
The real secret of magic lies in the performance. ~David Copperfield

Today being the birthday of Harry Houdini made me think of Magic and Magicians. I don't really know much about magic myself. The most magical thing I ever did was to cause a boiled egg to fall into a milk Bottle for my sixth grade science project. One of my older Brothers, Jimmy I think, showed me how to do it. I of course thought it was great. Unfortunately the Judges didn't agree. I had planned on hanging the Blue ribbon on my wall but am sad to say I didn't even get an Honorable mention. I do have one sister who can make half of her pinkie finger magically disappear and even though I know how she does it, I must admit that it looks very freaky to me.. I try to turn away every time she does it. I also have a brother who is always pulling quarters from all the little children's ears.. There have been times since I was grown that I wanted to call him and see if he could pull some from my ears as well. I used to think think that he must have huge pockets. Then one day I saw him getting change secretly handed from another brother as the group of kids kept getting larger.

Many years ago I lived near a Magician in a small town. He was very old and wrinkled. His few white hairs covering none of the thick blue veins running across his pale scalp. He had the loudest Birds I had ever heard all penned together in his back yard. I was terribly afraid of him and of his birds. I had to pass his house while walking my son to school and He would always call after us.. "Come here! Come and talk to me! My House is too quiet!"
We would walk along quietly until we were almost to his house.. We would speed up as soon as we were near and be almost running when we got there.. Many times we trotted By his porch trying to outrun his calls. The more he called the louder the birds called. The louder they called the faster Anthony and I ran.

He had never done anything to scare us really. And even though his looks were frightening He was no more scary than the Crypt keeper on TV and we Loved the ugly little Crypt Keeper.. But Granny who lived between us and him had told us many times that he had sold his soul to the devil for the ability to do magic. She said he could never die. She told us that he was hundreds of years old And Granny, who wasn't really my Granny at all, had us convinced that it was so. She loved to tell us all about how he had traveled the world with witches and spells and those awful birds as his only companions. I was an adult and I did know that she was just telling tales. But still I feared that old man and his birds. He had peacocks and roosters. There were pigeons and doves. He had Flamingos And several Black Birds. Big ugly Black birds that some mornings would be sitting on the porch rail as we came up the sidewalk nearly in a run.

Finally there came a morning that I had walked Anthony to school and was headed home. Just as I got right in front of his house he stepped right out in front of me stopping me dead in my tracks. I could feel my heart beating like crazy, the blood pounding in my ears as he shouted at me.. "Can I borrow a cup of sugar?" I was so sure he had planned to kill me and feed me to his birds. I asked him twice "What did you say?" He smiled a crooked smile and said.. "Sugar.. do you have sugar?" He spoke loudly but slowly as if I was dim witted. I managed to pull myself together enough to answer. "yes, Sir I have sugar at home." Praying he wasn't going to follow me there. I hurriedly offered to run and fetch him a cup. I ran home and got two cups of sugar just to be sure he was satisfied.. I didn't want to offend a soulless man. He thanked me very loudly and I began to realize that he thought I was deaf or at least very hard of hearing.. He told me that he was baking cookies and begged that Anthony and I stop back by after school and share some with him.

We talked about it that afternoon as we walked along together towards his house and our home.. We decided that he most likely wasn't going to eat us. And Home baked cookies were a good reason to stop for just a few minutes and see if he was really as scary as we thought. After all we reasoned he was hundreds of years old so we should be able to outrun him. When we got to his house he had a table set up on the front porch. He had cups of coffee for himself and me. He had a glass of Milk for Anthony but offered to change that if Anthony wanted something else. I hoped secretly that Anthony would ask for juice. I so wanted to see if he would cast a spell on the milk But Anthony just nodded that Milk was OK with his mouth stuffed with still warm Cookies. That afternoon he showed us a few of his birds and told us their names. He never told us his name.. He said everyone called him the Bird Man or they called him Wizard. So that day over cookies we began a friendship with Mr. Wizard.

Mr. Wizard died many years ago. He took sick not too many months after we all ate cookies on his porch; surrounded by the birds who were until us his only companions. He left his house to the town to be used in some way to help troubled children. I moved away before they ever did anything with his house. They sold most of his birds. The peacocks went to a zoo. The flamingos that screamed so loudly went to an exotic animal farm. The doves and the big black crows they simply turned loose to go back to the wild. Last week I rode by his house.. I almost didn't recognize it with the bird pens all gone and the wheelchair ramp. I looked twice at the porch thinking to myself how he would be pleased to see them there. All the girls. One with hair the color of peacocks blue feathers and another with Pink flamingo curls. Sitting on the porch rail was another with raven hair standing on end. Stuffing Her mouth with what appeared to be cookies. A tall glass of milk resting near her hand.. I heard them laugh together as we waited for the traffic light to change. Just as we drove pass I turned and watched as a dove came from the roof and sat down on the end of the porch where some one had hung a feeder. And I thought of My magical friend who I was told could never die. And I realized that the magic we create everyday will live on long after we are gone. Because the magic of life lies within the love we share. Share a little kindness and love every chance you get.
Created a little magic in some ones life when you can.
Have a magical wonderful day!


Saphrym said...

I love the fact that you wrote this post. Magic is a guilty pleasure of mine. I have tons of videos to teach me the moves and I've actually learned quite a bit. If we ever meet, I'll have to show you a few tricks. ;)

Pblacksaw said...

cool. I like magic as long as it doesn't include the removing of parts.