Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Icicle Compass

It was a cold February afternoon in a year I can't remember. My sons Mark and Micheal were in grade school but I can't remember the number of their ages. After the divorce my heart was shattered into a billion pieces and I tried to forget. I forgot the good along with the bad. I forgot so much and I forgot about the Icicle Compass.

The Icicle Compass was a piece of magic I conjured from my imagination in a moment of anger.
If my oldest son Mark hadn't reminded me of the Icicle Compass it would have been a lost story.

I parked the family station wagon in front of Noah's Pets.

" Come on boys lets go get your mother."

The three of us jumped out of the family transportation. We ran through the cold to the pet store. The three of us looked at her behind the counter.

"I'm sorry boys I have to work late."

"Come on mom. You could have told us before we left town."

"They just asked me. You know we need the money."

"What are we going to do now? Everything is closed because of the ice storm!"

I don't remember which boy asked what. I just remember being angry at her.

"Boys head out to the car. I'll be with you in a second."

As soon as my sons were outside the pet store I turned to Jackie.

"You could have said no."

"You know I couldn't do that."

I left the pet store full of anger. If made more money she could have said no. That's what she was saying.

I followed my sons out to the station wagon and slammed the door as I got in. My hands griped the steering wheel as my knuckles were turning white I felt like tearing the wheel off the column.

"What are we going to do Dad?"

Said one of my sons.

I was looking at my broken hood ornament when my son asked the question. For a couple of years when my sons were in grade school every punk's favorite crime in America was stealing hood ornaments. My hood ornament was protected by a spring loaded cable at the base but a more determined kind of punk twisted the shield design out of the center of ring of my Ford's hood art.

I then saw the giant icicles hanging off the fronts of stores in the Truman Corners strip mall.

"Have you boys ever heard of The Icicle Compass?"

"No dad, what's that?"

"I'll show you."

I got out of the station wagon and walked over to the largest icicle I could find.

I'll need a story to make this work. I can't remember what that story was.

I broke a five foot long icicle off and walked back to the family wagon. I shoved the icicle into the broken hood ornament. It balanced on the first try. Sometimes you get lucky.

I got back in the station wagon and told the kids the story. Now I'm going to tell you a story. It's not the story because that is lost to my memory but this story is true as it still comes from my heart.

"In the age of the Vikings when the Viking Kings were honor bond to do battle with the Ice Giants in the further most lands of the Viking Realm, Icicle Compasses were used to find the Ice Giants. Giant Icicles hung in metal rings from the front of great sleds the size of houses pulled by a hundred reindeer were driven by Viking children. Only the children of the Vikings could lead them to the magical gates hidden in the ice covered wastelands of the north. For only the Viking children had imaginations pure enough to find the Ice Giants."

My sons laughed.

"Now my fine sons it is up to you to drive this wagon of steel into the magical gate into the realm of the ice giants. For in another lifetime I was Viking Prince and now it is time to do battle with the Ice Giants once again for they have given us too harsh a winter!"

"Dad we can't drive, we're just kids."

" Are you not Knights of the Red Boot? You will do as your father bids you to do!"

Both my sons were laughing and looking at each other.

" Mark you are the oldest of my sons. Get thy self behind the wheel of this motorised chariot!"

I moved over in the front seat. Mark got in the driver's side and he got the station wagon going.

"See how the Icicle Compass moves in its magical ring. Just follow it and we will drive through the magical gate."

Mark followed the Icicle Compass in loops around the vast ice wastelands of the parking lot.
Soon the Icicle Compass became stuck and it was my youngest son Micheal's turn to follow the Icicle Compass.

"Dad, what if a policeman see me driving?"

"Don't worry, the Icicle Compass makes us invisible to the outside world. Now drive my son of great heart."

Both sons changed places many times that day following the Icicle Compass and they laughed with great joy but we never did find that magic gate or did we?

Next Post; Girl in a Fountain. A dark vision that changed the politics of a city.


Toxiferous said...

Wonderful story! When winter comes I'm sure I'll be thinking of the Icicle Compass.

Robert A Vollrath said...

To Toxiferous

This is a story I've wanted to write since my son Mark brought it back to my memory. My posts are going into some dark places in the coming months so I'm going to try to tell some happy tales from time to time.

I must try to find that magical gate with a new Icicle Compass with my Grandchildren someday.

Thanks for the comment.