Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Thank You, Friends

Quick Performance Update – next week: None
Other Jan. performances:  None
Upcoming Feb. performances:  CA  (North Hollywood); GA  (Savannah); IL (Dunlap, Gurnee); VA (Ashburn, Carrolton, Chesapeake, Hampton, Herndon, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach)

Yesterday, Jan. 22, was my 48th birthday!  I had a great day – relaxed, reflective and blessed.  Blessed mostly by all the wonderful birthday greetings I received via Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as face-to-face, by phone and text.  What a delight that I had so many ways to receive wishes, encouragements and notes.  I determined that I would respond to each greeting personally, which I didn’t have the time to completely do, but was so moved.  I am blessed with friends.  So for my friends, enjoy my original story/folktale, “Why the Leaves Change Their Colors”, a story about friendship below. 

       Thank you to friends, both near and far; those I saw yesterday and those I haven’t seen for well over 10 years; those who I met when times were glorious and those who I met when I was in pain; those who I have been constantly close and those who seem further from my heart, but never lost; those who are my storytelling buddies, my sisters and brothers in Christ, young folks who have allowed me to be a part of their life, my family and my loves.  Thank you, my FRIENDS.

What is Ms. Sheila reading?  Started reading Stephen Vincent Benet’s John Brown’s Body.  Loving it!  STILL reading:  Anecdotes Illustrative  of New Testament Texts

Most interesting thing researched this week?  Philip Reid was an ex-slave who helped put together the woman of freedom on top of the Capital Dome during the Lincoln presidency.  Cool! 

The Weeping Willow, or, Why the leaves change their colors

            Once upon a time before the dinosaurs ruled and people walked the earth, before cars and convenience stores, the trees were always green.  The trees were always green and they were always happy.  They ALL were happy….except the Weeping Willow.
            “Oh me, oh my, how I wish I could turn colors.  I could be red like a cardinal, orange like a….like a….like an orange.  I could be yellow like a daffodil and brown like the ground.  Oh me, oh my,” cried Weeping Willow.
            He took his request to the angel of the trees, who in turn took Weeping Willow’s complaint to God.  He knocked on God’s door and God answered, “I’m open.”
            The angel went in and told God Weeping Willow was complaining.  “Again?” asked God.  “Haven’t I given him enough?  Isn’t this the same Weeping Willow who used to be a little tree, but he wanted to be big, and I gave him that?”  The angel nodded.  “Is this the same Weeping Willow who used to have his branches sticking straight out, but he wanted them bent to the grand, and I gave him that.”  Again, the angel nodded.  “So, what does he want NOW?”
            “Well,” the angel hesitated, “He wants his leaves to turn color.”
            “Turn colors!?” boomed God.  “Tell him no.”
            The angel of the trees came back and told God’s reply to Weeping Willow.  The Weeping Willow complained and grumbled some more.  He whined all the day and most of the night.  He whined until finally Mr. Oak had had enough.
            “I’m tired of you complaining, Willow,” Oak said, in his deep bass voice.  “I and some of my friends are going to the other side of the land so we don’t have to hear you.”  So Mr. Oak and his friends left for the other side of the land.
            “Oh me, oh my,” whined Weeping Willow.  “My friend, Mr. Oak and his friends are gone and I’ll miss them, but I’d be happy if I could only turn colors.  Red and orange and yellow and brown.  Oh me, oh my.”
            Weeping Willow continued to cry all day and even more of the night.  Finally, Ms. Sycamore had had enough.
            “I cannot stand another day of you grumbling and whining,” she told Weeping Willow.  “I must leave now.”  So Ms. Sycamore left with some of her friends to the other side of the land.
            “Oh me, oh my,” cried Weeping Willow.  “Now Ms. Sycamore has gone away, but I’d be happy if I could only turn colors - red like a bow tie, orange like a…like a….an orange, yellow like the sun, and brown like a lion’s fur.  Oh me, oh my.”
            And Weeping Willow whined and cried all the day and all the night.  He complained and grumbled until all the trees left for the other land.  Weeping Willow didn’t stop, and soon all the bushes, the shrubs, the flowers and even all the animals left for the other side of the land.  When the dirt and grass were just about to get up and go, the angel of the trees decided take charge.  Again he went to talk to God. 
             He knocked on God’s door and God answered, “I’m open!” asked God.
            “It’s Weeping Willow again,” said the angel as he entered.
            God put his head in his hands.  “What now?”
            “It’s still the colors.”
            “What colors does he want to be?  Purple?  Silver?  Gold?”
            “No, sir,” asserted the angel.  “He’s very certain of his colors.  He wants to turn red, orange, yellow, and brown.”
            “Red, orange, yellow, and brown, eh?” God mused.  Well, God thought.  And, God thought.  And, God thought.  Finally, God said, “Okay, tell him yes, I’ll give him the colors.”
            Immediately the angel delivered God’s reply to Weeping Willow who rejoiced greatly and, to the joy of grass and dirt, ceased his complaining, grumbling, whining and crying.
            The next morning Weeping Willow woke and saw his leaves had turned red.  “Oh, looky, looky.  My leaves have turned red like the robin redbreast and apples and a big red balloon.”
            Soon though, his leaves turned orange.  “Oh, don’t I look beautiful.  My leaves are orange like a…like a…like an orange tree.  Hmm, I wonder what else is orange.  Oh, yes, like a pumpkin and a carrot.”
            A little while later Weeping Willow’s leaves turned yellow.  “Ahh,” he sighed.  “This is wonderful.  My leaves are yellow.  Yellow like the shining sun and the daffodils and dandelions.  Oh, I love the yellow, they make me shine.  Uh, oh, something’s happening … oh, goody, now I’m turning brown.  Brown like the lion’s skin and the bear’s fur and my friend the dirt.”
            But as Weeping Willow’s leaves turned brown something began to happen to him.  The Weeping Willow began to die.  You see, he didn’t realize that when he asked for his leaves to change colors, he was also asking for his very lift to be taken.
            Mr. Oak and Ms. Sycamore and all the other trees, except Mr. Evergreen, heard that Weeping Willow was beginning to die.  They grieved and approached the angel of the trees.
            “We know,” said Mr. Oak, “that Weeping Willow cried, groaned, complained and whined greatly and is probably getting what he deserves, but we do not wish for him to die.”
            “Yes,” affirmed Ms. Sycamore, “he is our friend.  Please, tell God that we’ll turn colors, too, so Weeping Willow will not die alone.”
            The angel relayed their request to God.  God was so amazed by their love and friendship for Weeping Willow, that He allowed them to turn colors.  However, He promised, because of their friendship and love, that in the spring they would live and become green again.
            So that is why the leaves change their colors.  Oh, and Weeping Willow, he never cried, grumbled, complained or whined again because he had the best wish of all – FRIENDS!

Developed by Sheila Arnold, 1990.  Written by Sheila Arnold, 2001

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