A Star Is Born . . .!

By Charles Alexander
Originally printed 12/19/2013 (Issue 2151 - Between The Lines News)

Parting Glances

There are paths that by chance occasionally mix up in time, space, thought and crazy activation. Some factual. Some fantasy.

And so it happened, once upon a near-but-distant whimsical time - in a universe that was hoodwinked by twinkling many light years away - that two paths - five companions on one; three, on the other - switched direction, and stood up destination.

For our first group of travelers - names familiar to young and old alike - Dorothy and Toto, Tinman, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion - they were sharing the Yellow Brick Road to Oz, when the unexpected crisscrossing occurred.

Quite suddenly they were sideswiped by a brilliant light that seemed to nudge them through winter's gloom. Giddy - very, very young - exuberantly naive at heart - they forgot all about Oz, which is not an easy thing to do. Ask any grown up.

(Our second regal sojourners - Gaspar. Balthasar. Melchoir - bearing gifts for someone of high estate - were baffled to find themselves in a poppy-infested countryside, traveling only to God knows to where. The sign pointed to MGM.)

Along the way Dorothy and her rerouted companions found themselves waved at by shepherds keeping their flocks by night. "It seems we're celebrities," giggled Scarecrow, as Toto and Cowardly Lion busied themselves - bravely to be sure - chasing off wolves howling too close for comfort.

Yea, verily, readers, the night was clear. The light indeed got brighter. "No doubt!" ventured Scarecrow, with newfound mental acumen, "This star is of 31.50 magnitude. A biggie."

Inspired by the dreamlike mood they found themselves in, Dorothy, who had palatial lyric gifts - she hoped someday to perform in movies - began to sing. And, out of the blue, she sang lyrics she had never heard before, but somehow knew by heart, with Tinman, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow crooning in.

How quickly the miles reeled by. And before they could finish the last chorus of "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louie" they found themselves among a small crowd gathered in front of a tiny, makeshift manger.

There were shepherds, seven dwarfs, a newly awakened princess and her adoring prince, and, in the center of it all, a mom, a carpenter dad, a small baby wrapped in hand-me-down clothes. And ...

... most probably because there was an awe-inspired, opening-night crowd applauding, the little guy began to cry. Not too loudly. But authoritatively audible nonetheless. And - in a moment of exquisite improv - Scarecrow pulled straw from his thump-thump-thumping heart and blushingly gave it to cradle the baby's head.

Dorothy, with perfect on-stage presence, sang another lullaby that again popped unasked into her head. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" she sang. The crying baby hushed, smiled, and gave the tinniest of, so I'm told, technicolored laughs. (His own over-the-rainbow-time would come another day.)

Alas! Alas! In the twinkling of an eye, Dorothy, Tinman, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Toto, were suddenly whisked away. 1939! "Well, I wonder what Auntie Em would say?" sighed Dorothy, shaking her head from side to side.

"And why in heaven's name would a shepherd be wearing Ruby Red slippers and clicking his heels? Is he funny that way?" camped the Cowardly Lion, with a wink.


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