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"The Freeport Angel"

Sunday, December 18, 2005

From "Sleds, Sleighs & Snow; A Canadian Christmas Carol" Edited by Anne Tempelman-Kluit, "The Freeport Angel" by Rita Moir
(Freeport is a small fishing village on the southern shore of Nova Scotia)
"We have a dark spruce, cut from the hilltop over the bay, but we have no Freeport angel.
We have a painted goose egg and bits of seashell, Christmas tree lights and gold rivets on string, but our tree needs an angel.
Andy heads for his workshop, Chris for her sewing basket, and I tinker for trinkets.
We meet back at the kitchen table and on the blue checkered tablecloth make our own angel.
The Freeport angel is carved from white styrofoam, the kind discarded in the bay. Her eyes are green glass broken and rolled smooth on the tides below the fish plant, the skin drooping over her wizened right eye, her hair red yarn, shoulder-length, parted strictly down the middle, spraying out over earrings of yellow-breasted toucans perched on tropical leaves. The southern birds gaze along her rouged cheekbones up to her emerald eyes. Her face is flat, her eyebrows pencilled, lips a thin smile that has tasted the oceans from Buenos Aires to the Bay of Fundy, the old sea-trading routes, rum and fish and bolts of cloth-her dress a faded patchwork that still lifts some spark from her hair.
The Freeport angel is Pippi Longstocking gone to sea, her father long dead, she is middle-aged now, her chinline broad and flattened, we can still see her hair in pigtails, Pippi on the beach, Pippi lost, Pippi fighting pirates, Pippi finding home again.
The Freeport angel is not made of straw, she is not angelic, she does not glow or shine through fine-spun angel's hair, she is not pastel. She sits on a bow of dark island spruce, tough as the island wind, she is a lookout spar. She is red and green and black, framed by red lights like beacons saying you're almost home."

  1. Blogger SkyeBlue2U said:

    Oh yes, and Pippi was always my favorite. big grin

  1. Blogger Connie and Rob said:

    I love angels. What would we do without these beautiful images in our mind.


  1. Blogger Michelle said:

    That was so beautiful :)
    Did you know in Oz, we call a certain type of shell with critters inside "Pippis"!

  1. Blogger Chloe said:

    thanks for typing it out Cathy. It is very beautiful. If i was still a teacher i'd read it to kids (older ones) for christmas.

  1. Blogger missbhavens said:

    : )

  1. Blogger Cathy said:

    I hadn't thought of Pippi for a long time until I read this story.

    I love them too.

    I didn;t know this; perhaps there is some reference to this here.

    You were a teacher?! Do tell...

    Back at ya!:)

  1. Blogger Dirk the Feeble said:

    Yes, angels are a big part of the holiday season, but they are secular angels, not Christmas angels.

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