As told by Maureen
Frannie Jane loves to dress up. Her favorite costume, the burgundy and green butterfly dress that Petunia Belle made for her, hangs on the clothes tree that sits just inside her front door. On most days, the costume just hangs there, adding color to the walls of her tiny thatched roof cottage which is nestled under the cedar bush, just at the edge of the Hollyhock patch.
But in late summer, when the Hollyhocks are in full bloom and the butterflies float lazily from flower to flower, Frannie hears a silent call to join in the beauty around her. On those days, she slips the little dress over her head, laces up the vest onto which Petunia Belle has sewn the wings, and rushes out into the garden where she whirls and swirls and - almost - seems to fly.
Sometimes, when this love of costume and dance and beauty comes over her, Frannie is deep in the middle of sorting seeds to add to the Pippsywoggins' winter food supply. On other days, she is busily canning the apple butter and rose hip jellies that are her specialty. But when the sun shines into her window with a certain shade of yellow that Frannie calls Summershine Bliss, she drops it all and dances out the front door to the sound of special music that beats deep within her soul.
There was a time when Frannie Jane would have ignored the summer bliss sun and the lilting butterflies and the magnificent hues of the Hollyhock blossoms. There was a time when she would have stayed at her tasks until they were finished, and only then would she dance. But the sun never waited. And the butterflies found other gardens. The silent call grew fainter and fainter. And Frannie's jellies took on a bitter taste.
On one particularly busy day, as Frannie reached to pull down the shade to block the beckoning sun, she caught a glimpse of herself in the hallway mirror. She looked faded and tired and not at all like the Pippsywoggin that she knew herself to be. When and how had she gotten so lost?
For a moment she stood very still. She looked into her own eyes and from somewhere deep within her soul she pulled an idea for a special dress that would remind her of who she really was.
Now, Frannie Jayne keeps her dress in the front hall, and when the call comes, Frannie dances.
1997, 2006 by Maureen Carlson