Of Purple Magicians, Giant Ice Cream Scoops And Porcelain Ladybugs

By | October 7, 2011

It’s Friday. District closure day. No school that is. Unhurried mornings, cuddles peppered with occasional screams for good measure, eating and actually chewing the food, gotta love them. We’re off to Granville Island where Sasha will attend a birthday party. We get there half an hour late and that’s perfect given that Sasha is quite terrified of the mesh-enclosed place with the twisted slide and ball swamp at the bottom. I can’t blame him; I am not a big fan of enclosed spaces like that. Funny how he never described the vast muddy river banks he explores with his brother (until they’re well out of sight) as scary. A matter of taste perhaps.
Tony and I head to the market place after we drop off the little person. “This is like the Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, isn’t it, Mom?” It sure is. Walking through the eclectic mix of food and art vendors is a brand-new experience every time. I’m getting coffee – Hemingway Peaberry is my choice of the day, and no, I am not a coffee connoisseur but fair-trade and organic are a must and after that I’ll take whatever sounds interesting. I am quite sure Hemingway never had this particular kind but I choose to believe otherwise. The purple wizard seems to have appeared from nowhere. How appropriate. Tony stops and his eyes grow big. We’ll be here a while then. “My name is Dave, what’s yours?” Oh, no, he can’t be Dave, he’s the Purple Wizard and that’s that. The tricks win Tony over. He throws me a quick glance and I’ve never seen a bigger question mark in those black eyes ever before. I am a bit too close to the Purple Wizard and I cannot help being an adult. I am looking for the answer to the “How does he do it?” and I soon find it. The red ball is squished in his palm and then with a swift move he puts it away. No one is wiser and voila! there’s only one red fluffy ball left although he clearly stuffed two in his closed hand just a few seconds ago. He’s good. We put money in the grey felt hat and keep on moving.
“But how did the balls disappear, Mom?” Part of me wants to give him the straightforward answer that explains that the balls can be compressed and hidden away in a blink but I choose not to. It’s good to believe in magic. I shrug. “I don’t know, magic!” We buy mango gelato for Tony, this must be the biggest scoop I’ve seen around here. A short and friendly chat later we find out that we can have three flavours in that giant scoop – you can’t find that anywhere – so I mark my Monday calendar to bring the boys back for a three-flavour scoop ice cream treat.
I chat with the Chinese guy who makes and sells cute leather wallets and I tell him about my very special leather bag I bought in Paris 14 years ago. Nope, it’s not a purse. Around the corner I stop and stare. The most beautiful porcelain bowls are perched on small carved wooden shelves and shyly presenting themselves to the passersby. No two ones are the same and the only common denominator is a teeny ladybug on each. The Taiwanese guy behind the counter is as talkative as his present visitors. His name is Joseph. He tells us about how he came upon the ladybug detail, he puts a few small bowls and vases under the light and I see countless more details. I don’t want to know the science behind it, I don’t want the straightforward answer to how does he do it question for now. This is my magic and I want it to last for a while. There is a white vase with black and grey shadows on it and when I hold it under the light I see elephants shuffling their thick legs and long trunks towards some imaginary water hole. Joseph chuckles when I ask him if those are elephants. “It’s what you see, you can see what you want” is his answer, and it is a perfect answer. After 27 years of playing magic with the porcelain he knows. We thank him and get ready to leave. He offers me one of his porcelain ladybug pins. “For good luck.” It’s good to believe in magic.
We stop by the sterling silver jewelry stand. Tony marvels at the gems and the lady and I talk about geodes and she tells me of some gargantuan ones she’s seen, we talk about the best lapis lazuli that is found in Afghanistan, she tells Tony about the big gem trade show in Tucson, and then we talk about skunks and hedgehogs. Her finger tips are black and cracked and I am thorougly fascinated by the jewelry she makes. She invites me to visit her studio in the West End so I can see her work. I will.
We collect Sasha from the party and then fool around in a toy shop. The shelves are overflowing with stuffed animals and I wonder who will buy them all. There’s a Yoda stuffie that must be the ugliest stuffie around. Poor guy.
Time to head home. The morning is scurrying away and we’re letting go of it happy that we enjoyed it to the last ounce of unhurried goodness. Nothing wrong with knowing where you go most days but every now and then it’s good to let things unfold and just enjoy the ride. Tony and I had planned for a chat over coffee and ice cream but somehow we’re both satisfied with having chatted with other folks. There’s always a next time for a chat.
On our way to the car we buy some green olive bread. Sliced.

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