There was once a boy, a silly boy, who lived in a farm with his Uncle Mateo and his jolly Aunt Lucia. His name was Taff. He spent many days wandering the trails between the farm fields, discovering the houses of field mice, the burrows of foxes, the warrens of rabbits. Playing with spiderwebs, first thing in the morning, was one of his favourite games, always accompanied by a squished sandwich in his left hand pocket. He was a happy boy.
But Taff had a dream. To soar high in the sky. He always run excitedly after the planes that came to wash the fields, even though Aunt Lucia scolded him so many times about it. He had the walls of his room covered in sketches about this plane or that plane, trying to learn their names, admiring so deeply the engineers that made them but most importantly, awestruck by their pilots. He wanted to soar. Anybody that knew Taff, knew his favourite subject: planes.
One gay morning, as he is trying hurriedly to put on his socks to head outside, the smell of butter-griddled johnnycakes wafted upstairs. His face lit up like fireworks in the sky. Then he remembered, -Oh, it must be my birthday. Aunt Lucia is making me johnnycakes. Sounds from the kitchen confirmed this, or more specifically, the hush hush voices of his aunt and uncle, who were trying to sneak away some sort of package before he got to the table.
He was hugged and kissed, his hair was tossed, and put back in semi-order again by his aunt, his clothes were inspected with a furrowed brow, He is getting too big for those pants - thought Aunt Lucia. Uncle Mateo was like an anxious puppy that just couldn't stop smiling and wagging his tail, all clues that he was up to something. At the double-furrowed brow of Aunt Lucia, Uncle Mateo settled down again on his wooden chair, grabbed his cup of coffee and said: "So…Taff, one year older, right? I suspect you remembered just as you woke up, didn't you?". To the positive reply of Taff, Uncle Mateo couldn't help but smile. "When I was your age, I went to bed counting the minutes it would take to wake up and for it to be my birthday. How can you even forget? I'm telling you Lucy, there is something wrong with this boy. Perhaps he needs to eat more food".
But both Aunt Lucia and Uncle Mateo could see the shiny excitement in his eyes. Not a family for lavish celebrations they always opened their birthday presents in the comfort and privacy of the kitchen table. Their love was always enough to guarantee glad embraces and some sort of commemorative victuals. In Taff's case, the presence of johnnycakes and the brown-wrapped package was more than enough.
When Taff finally opened the package, the very large package, expecting a handknit, ultra large sweater like he was wearing, his jaw fell to the floor, his eyes grew as big as the bean pot, his whole face turned a shiny pink flushed with emotions, and the biggest, most shiny teeth peeked from his beautiful smile: "My own? is it my own? for reals? is it all mine?". Many, many questions kept popping out, and assured again and again, that yes, it was his own, and that yes, he could take it outside to play. After hugging them both and saying thank you, thank you, thank you, out he went.
Taff couldn't wait a minute longer to try it out, to get inside that cockpit and fly into the skies, to greet the morning and the birds, with his very loud airplane sounds, and to spend the rest of his birthday being a pilot, just like he always wanted. Oh, life can be so good, Taff thought. Life is Grand, especially on your birthday.
As Taff went into the fields, wearing his airplane, Uncle Mateo and Aunt Lucia watched him disappear in one big jump. They were smiling, and looking into each other their eyes flashed with the memories of building that little plane for Taff, all the secret meeting they had to do and the covert trips to hangars and libraries, all for this moment. They sure knew how to make their boy happy.
*This amazing airplane was made by my talented husband. It is made of Ambrosia Maple, Walnut and Padauk. There was much conferencing about the live edge on the wing, and much giggling about the whole thing. We are happy that Taff loves it so much. We can't stop twirling those propellers.