Clair McFarland: Peaceful Family Moments Are The Real Magic

in Clair McFarland/Column

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By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily

We needed a miracle.  

“For my first trick,” began the 8-year-old magician, “I will turn this LEGO into a coin.”  

I had some doubts.  

But the boy had built his magic stage out of boxes and cushions, whittled a wand, donned a cape and demanded attention. An enchanting silver glow diffused through the window.  

There was just one thing missing.  

“Where’s my lovely assistant?” called the magician.  

Silence.  

The magician cleared his throat.  

“Oh lovely assistant…!”  

The magician’s twin brother trudged onstage, his stout frame wrapped in red Spider-man jammies.  

“I don’t see why I have to be the lovely muh-sistant,” pouted the duplicate.  

“Because it’s my turn with the wand! Now, get your booty over here.” 

The lovely assistant complied.  

“And now – “ said the magician “ – behold this penny. It’s got Abraham Lincoln on it, which is the real miracle here, because he was definitely worth more than a penny…” 

The assistant nudged the magician.  

“Oh, right. I shall, before your very eyes, slide this penny into this sock.” Though he’s long past toddlerhood, this louder twin still pronounces the word “sock” with the weighted “o” of the Bronx New Yorker.  

“Be-fore your ver-y eyes,” echoed the assistant, reluctantly.  

“And turn it into a LEGO brick!” added the magician. He slid the penny into the sock, turned to his assistant and whispered “psst. I need some magic.”  

The assistant lowered his head.  

Whack! The magician swatted his assistant’s head with the homemade wand.  

“There! Now I’ve got some magic. Ahem.” And, gripping the sock’s frayed toe in his finger and thumb, he turned it upside-down, making it drop a LEGO onto his other, open hand.  

“Hoorayyy!” I cheered.  

From the shadows emerged a 9-year-old boy.  

“I know how he did that,” said the boy.  

I frowned. “Don’t – “ 

“But I do!” 

“House. Rule,” I growled. The house rule is, there shall be no theorizing, guessing or spoiling miracles. Just let them be what they are.  

The loud twin reckoned it was the quiet twin’s turn to be the magician.  

“Now you do a trick, and I’ll assist you,” he chirped.  

The quiet twin nodded. His eyes were two pools of grave innocence as he took a deep breath, and said “Please watch this cup.”  

“Pre-PARE to be a-MAZED!” bellowed the loud twin, who was now the lovely assistant.  

“I’m going to put this gum ball in it,” continued the quiet twin. Little did he know, it was not a gum ball, but a white marble. But I knew it – and so did my teeth.  

He plopped the marble into the cup.  

“But it’s an anti-gravity gumball,” he said.  

Yeah, I thought, or an anti-cavity marble.  

The quiet twin turned the cup upside-down… and nothing fell out.  

“Dun-da-da-DUNNN!” called the loud twin.  

I clapped and cheered. The two performers switched roles again: the loud twin would play magician, the quiet twin was stuck being lovely assistant. Again.  

“I’m gonna shoot a coin from this rope,” the loud twin shouted. “Yeeeeeeee-HAWWWWWW!”  

He circled the rope’s end above his head, flung it over the audience; it whipped the couch and spat Abraham Lincoln onto the window sill.  

“Ta-DAA!” 

I applauded. My 11-year-old son whooped. My 9-year-old nodded darkly, as if accepting a dubious new gang member.  

The magician and his lovely assistant both bowed: the show was a hit.  

In this frantic world full of math problems, itchy jeans, and health food, four young boys shared a moment of warm regard.  

And that, is a miracle.

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