Once upon a time a lady named Hazel flew on her broom to my house. I had three little kids at the time and I didn’t want them to be afraid or ask too many questions, so I asked Hazel to leave her broom on the back porch along with the pointy hat she insisted on wearing every day of her life. I had known Hazel since we were ten years old, kicking around in the same neighborhood woods where one day she came upon the broom. I’ll never forget it because it was so high up in this big old maple tree we were climbing and I couldn’t imagine how it could have gotten up there.
“It flew, of course,” Hazel declared.
Well I snickered to hear her say such a silly thing and wondered out loud where she got that idea. “Hazel, it didn’t fly. Brooms can’t fly.”
But she showed me. Hazel grabbed hold of the handle, threw herself off the top of the tree straddling the broom, and held on for dear life. I screamed, sure she was heading for a crash landing on the rocky forest floor. Instead, she took off with a mighty swoop through the trees and headed for the clouds. Her gleeful yelps could be heard all through the forest and over the land as far as the eye could see.
I went to Hazels house later that day and told her mom what had happened. She said she’d heard and it was about time, which surprised me. I thought she’d insist I was making it up or at least be worried and do something like call the police. Instead she simply closed the door in my face and went back to whatever she’d been doing.
About twenty five years later, Hazel shows up at my house and starts a conversation like we’d simply taken a break cuz our mom’s had called us in to lunch and then we’d come back out to play. She didn’t seam to know things had changed so I had to explain it all to her. Hazel had a hard time understanding we weren’t heading out to climb a tree and see what could be discovered next. After all, the broom gig had turned out pretty well for her.
I don’t think Hazel had looked in a mirror in all the time she’d been gone. Her hair was a ratty nest for a stupid pet bat and her clothes were wrapped and tied around her skinny body like long strips of rags flapping in the breeze. And her teeth! Well, let’s just say she was a dental nightmare.
Yet, Hazel was still the fun loving spirit I’d always known her to be and I found myself missing my childhood a bit. It was good to reminisce, but after a while I had to boot her out. My kids were getting whinny and I needed to give them some attention. Hazel thought I should just send them out to the woods to climb trees. All I had to do was take a good look at her and realize that was the last thing I should do.
So Hazel’s tucked away once again in the old cedar trunk, along with her match stick broom. I’ll take her out again in another twenty five years and see what she has to remind me of. It doesn’t really matter that her seams are beginning to split and bits of stuffing are coming out here and there. Hazel still sparks my imagination and makes me glad I wasn’t the one to hop on the broom!