Sometimes a story finds me.
A photograph surfaces after a long time lost.
Words I once heard return to mind.
And that afternoon I was making plans for a costume, for a small creature sitting on the table before me… looking out at the sunny street, quiet except for the sound of birdsong, when my heart remembered other such happy times.
“Once upon a time there was a family of little grey donkeys. They lived by the sea in a slender house with many rooms. The father donkey was Mr. Hee-Haw. He was a very busy creature who trotted off to work each day. He always took a bag of rosy apples with him. He ate the apples at his desk to save time over his lunch so he could be home so much the sooner with his family.
The mother donkey was called Blossom. She was a gentle dreamy creature. Mr Hee-Haw had met her when he had been galloping about in a newly-mown field, kicking up his heels and hee-hawing at the sky. Blossom had been standing on the other side of the hedge, sniffing at the Broom flowers. It had been Love and Happy Ever After at first sight.
Now, Blossom and Mr Hee-Haw had two baby daughters, Rosie Red and Flossie May. Flossie was the tiniest donkey of all. Rosie Red was her big sister and, in everyone’s opinion, Rosie Red was the best big sister ever. The story that I am going to tell you now is an example of Rosie red’s best big sisterliness.
One day, after Blossom and the girls had seen Mr Hee-Haw off on the train, they decided that as it was such a perfectly picnicky day they would brisk about the housework and then go straight to the beach with a small basket of choice edibles.
“Poor Daddy Hee-Haw,” said Flossie. She looked up sadly at Blossom and Rosie Red as they placed ‘1,2,3’ apples in the basket.
“Oh dear,” said Blossom and her big dreamy eyes clouded over as though the sun had disappeared. Lost in thought, she stared out at the sky which was a heavenly blue.
“Oh dear,” thought Rosie Red. She missed her jolly Daddy too. He would love to be jaunting about on the sand with them, making castles and decorating them with the beautiful flags that clever Blossom had made. Now her Mummy and Little Sister were all droopy – their ears, their eyelashes and even Flossie May’s candyfloss bloomers!
What to do?
What to do?
Then Rosie Red had a clever thought. “Now dear Flossie May and dear, dear Blossom, don’t you remember what Daddy Hee-Haw always says? Every day when he packs his lunch?”
Everyone thought…hm… and then the sun came back again and the seagulls whirligigged in the sky and everything was right again…
“A picnic for me every day of the week!”
And so they set off at last, all smiles and jollity, Blossom carrying the basket, Rosie Red the pointy-ended sandcastle flags and Flossie May the string of fluttering flags that Blossom had made especially for her.
So it was a wonderful day after all, saved by the kindly quick thinking of Big Sister, Rosie Red.