Once when she was about eight her grandfather came to stay and help out. She never questioned grandpa’s coming instead of grandma, but she would understand better as an adult. However, that is a story for another day.
Mother was having an operation on her legs and with four kids underfoot she needed the extra pair of eyes, and feet to keep the children under control. There were two girls, the eldest and the baby, two boys in the middle, and all of them capable of causing mayhem!
Grandfather was much-loved by the eldest daughter and although he ruled with an iron hand, he was fair in his judgements which made her love him all the more. For you see, in this family, fair was not often to be the case.
One day, she asked her grandfather if she could borrow one of his khaki workshirts and an old tie. Giving her a quizzical frown, it was his way, he handed them to her and chased her out the door to play.
Now the house where they lived was very small, but outside the yard was huge! Here, as Anne of Green Gables would say, there was “…scope for the imagination.” The yard was a quarter acre with the little house set back onto the property. This left well over half of the plot to play in. There was deep, tall grass in spring that could be tunneled into and no one could see you, no one! There were two big trees as well, that provided all the shade you could want on a hot summer’s day. In those days you could climb the trees without giving your mother a heart attack! Things found there by the eldest girl: a box turtle, a green snake, horned toads, and lizards both “blue-belly” and “yellow-bellies” as she liked to call them.
In the back they kept chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese. There was also “Butchie” her dog, a few stray cats that had been taken in, and next door in the neighbors barnyard were the goats. The barn had been unused for quite some time and the owner’s were happy to let the family use the space. Living there she felt rich and had no concept of how really poor they were.
On this day she donned the khaki shirt, girded her waist with the tie and was transformed into a princess! Now her pesky brothers saw her waltzing alone in the field and singing to herself.
In point of fact, she was at that moment Brier Rose in Disney’s version of Sleeping Beauty, who as you may recall, was being hidden deep in the forest from the wicked witch by the three Good Fairies.
(Photo credit and art available HERE)
Seeing the boys advancing she knew she had no chance of making them leave, but also knew that if she appointed them her knights in shinning armor she stood a chance of continuing her fun and keeping them under control. It worked like a charm…
They were close at hand but busy in their own version of the plot. They were variously riding their steeds into battle, fighting deadly dragons with sticks, er, shining swords, and having a ball… and all under the watchful eye of the grandfather.
Later in the day the grandfather came out with his Brownie box camera in hand. There before him stood his granddaughter in dirty bare feet, her hair in strings, and her face and neck streaked with dirt and sweat from her day of play. Noticing her brothers in much the same condition, and the littlest one with his belly poking out from beneath his shirt, he looked at her again, asking, “Who’r you s’posed ta be?” (Did he grin?)
To which she replied, “I’m the princess, and they are my knights in shining armor!”
Then, unbidden, they instantly grouped together and smiled for the camera.
NOTE: In memory the little brothers belly was always peeking out from under his shirt. He must have pulled up his trousers for the picture! ‘-)