I feel like I've been in "The Christmas Carol" story and have just reaped the benefits of a wonderful mysterious and generous benefactor. A real life Christmas Angel I have seen and felt her presence.
As a minstrel who has chosen to spend my life at the whim of a Muse and enjoy the life of adventure, this also means that we are often at the whims of Mercy as well. Gigs come and gigs go. Bills still pile high and vehicles break down. You pray you don't get sick. You just want to do what the Gods have given you to do...to be yourself, to work hard, to play music, to love others, to share, to live.
Usually sans insurance. But this is the life of a minstrel living by the seat of our pants. Ask any of us.
And people do ask us..."So what do you DO for a living?" "Don't you have a REAL job?"
They are amazed that this is what you do. They don't understand it, but are curious just the same. One rich lady told me that, "Well, if you aren't putting any money into your savings for retirement in stocks and bonds, then you are in the wrong profession, honey."
I still see her sitting at my shows though....
Some days are bliss playing in the sunshine. Days of wine and cheese or cakes and ales. Fairy tale worlds of costuming, unusual places with golden accents and flying banners.
There are other days of awful gigs, rude audiences, fights with your stage mate, car problems and playing in the rain
But no matter...as Floyd of "Dr. Teeth and Electric Mayhem" says, you "just play the gig man".
And life is good. It works if you keep at it. It's fun and happy for the most part.
Oh, to be honest, sometimes you feel like a failure when you see your brothers and sisters with their big houses and fine cars and fancy lives. You wonder what the words, "disposable income" would feel like.
You admire and envy your family and friends their trips to Europe or places warm and tropical that they visit yearly like clockwork.
But you keep on keeping on, and you tell yourself that this too, takes integrity in the face of all odds.
Until something happens that starts affecting your life.
My sight, as some of you know, has become an issue. I've always had bad eyesight. Got my first pair of glasses in 3rd grade. Sister Mary Benevolent saw me having a hard time seeing. She told me to move my desk to where I could see the best...anywhere in the whole room.
So I pulled it up flush to the chalkboard.
"This is perfect" I said.
Well...it wasn't long after that, I was taken to the eye doctor....
Since then, over the years, I've loved my glasses...have worn contacts at faire gigs. No worries. When I found out that I had cataracts in both eyes 2 years ago, I was devastated. I didn't want to be a blind old bat.Didn't have the insurance or the elusive disposable income to get them fixed.
"Why don't you just have the surgery?" someone with insurance asked me.
Ok, well, taking the arm of a handsome man or kindly friend, is always nice....but trying to see simple take out signs or order at a drivethru, not to mention, driving at night has started to suck.
I had a boon 2 years ago with the gift of some of our music fans on the last day of faire at the last show of the day. They gave me a wonderful "starter" gift of money to start the fund for eye surgery.
You see, for those of us without the gift of fairy tale Godmother insurance, each eye will be approx. $3500. That's a lot of dough to save. To have someone cut open your eye. And rightly so. They deserve it. It's just hard to come up with, meet your bills, cover day to day surprises, holidays and still eat.
But save I have.
I am a Scottish lass after all.
I am also a Pirate.
Harry & I have been doing Pirate shows all this last summer and I managed to save $100 off the top of each library Pirate show we did. 14 altogether! So I added to my "Blind Bat Merlyn Fund" a hearty $1400 which came directly from my "Pirate Eye Patch" fund from pirate gigs :)
But I still needed to save more for it.
I did not even get into this fund to rob, when Monty, our dog, was hit by a car. I promised myself that I wouldn't touch it.
Through saving, scraping and by the grace of God good friends and fans...we have all but paid for Monty's impromtu and necessary surgery. I was going to start saving again for my eye surgery after we got the dog's bill paid off. Which may be by the end of the year. I am happy about it and thankful.
And now there's Christmas. I'm not complaining. I love my life. I love my home and my family and friends and I am writing and working diligently to keep the home fires burning.
So, I decided a couple of days ago that I would change the title of my special savings for my eye surgery, from "The Blind Bat Merlyn Fund" to "Hawkeye Merlyn Fund" in the Power of Attraction theory.
I thought, I don't want to be blind....I want to SEE.
My title for my savings should reflect this belief.
Well, yesterday I had the shock of my life.
I opened a Christmas card from a dear friend.
A sweet card with pictures of her kids was included.
There was a note which read:
This is my gift to you to help you in your journey to better vision. I wish I could help you get both eyes done, but I hope this will at least have one. You have always been a true and constant friend and you will always have my love. Wives and Mothers do for everyone else. This is for YOU.
There was a check for $1000. attached.
I burst into tears.
Unbelieving, and yet, so racked with appreciation for this generosity made me cry for nearly an hour. This check, with the rest that I have already saved, will meet the goal for my worst eye to be fixed.
My "Pirate Eye" is my left one and the worst of the two. It is nearly worthless.Totally occluded.
I can't thank her enough for the gift of sight that I will have when all is said and done.
Of course, my prideful nature didn't want accept this kind of outrageous generosity, the Puritan in me said, "No, it's too much. You shouldn't accept it"
But then I realized how much I love her, and that, she too, loves me, I would do it for her, if I had it, and it was given from a loving heart, from a wonderful spirit and a good friend who wants the very best for me.
I truly have been blessed by the Gods with a Angel of Christmas Present.
As art imitates life....
I find that nothing satisfies me more to say, then the words of both Tiny Tim of "The Christmas Carol" and of the Angel Clarence in "It's a Wonderful Life."
Tiny Tim's words of his grateful heart are mine with his innocent and sincere, "God Bless us Everyone."
And even more so,
I heartily feel the words in George Baileys' book, "The Adventure's of Tom Sawyer" written by Clarence the Angel (who just got his wings)
"No man is a failure who has friends".
For with this... and nothing else, I am rich indeed.