A generation ago, The Lovin’ Spoonful asked the musical question “Do you believe in magic?” and as of Saturday my answer is a resounding “yes!”
The cause of the conversion was a pair of lovely run-ins I had with two adorable children as I walked home from the gym.
The first meeting occurred on Fifth Avenue as I approached a local nail salon. A woman, presumably the owner or an employee, was standing outside with this beautiful little boy.
As I got closer to the store the little guy broke away from his mother and came charging up to me with a flyer in his hand.
“Is that for me, buddy?” I asked as took the sheet of paper from his hand. “Why, thank you so much!”
I don’t think I’ll be frequenting the place, but I just loved how determined that boy was to help his mom. But it turned out that this young fellow was just the opening act of my exciting morning.
I was just a half block from my home when I passed a house on 72nd Street where a young couple and their little girl were outside enjoying Saturday’s warm weather. I nodded, smiled, and kept going--but not for long.
The father was calling me and I turned around.
“Would you like to see some magic tricks?”
I can never get enough magic in my life, so I readily agreed. It seems their daughter, who was about 7 years old, had a little table set up with a child’s magic kit.
She was a little shy but I gently encouraged her to do her routine, and pretty soon she was waving her magic wand, intoning “abracadabra”, and making coins, cards, and other objects disappear and reappear.
It'll Free Your Soul
I made sure to be properly astounded, applauding loudly with each trick and even helped out when her wand slipped to the ground.
“Be careful or you’ll get in trouble with Harry Potter,” I said.
The budding Kreskin quickly retrieved her baton and brought the show to a rousing finale.
“What’s your name, dear?” I asked, as I handed her a couple of bucks.
“Ava,” she said.
I thanked Ava’s parents and wished them all a great day.
As I walked the last half-block to my house I noticed my mind was quickly returning to its regularly scheduled bullshit—worry, regrets, daydreams, and other assorted mental flotsam—and I hit the brakes.
Wait a damn minute, I thought. You just had a lovely experience a few minutes ago. Why don’t you savor that nice time for a little longer before jumping overboard?
So I abracadabraed myself right back to that sweet encounter. Yeah, I thought, that was a good thing.
I’ve been retraining my brain to find the good things in life instead of choosing to roil in grief. I was lucky to have been passing that house at that particular time and I am very grateful for that.
I regret now that I had taken her picture, but too often we’re so busy photographing an event that we remove ourselves from the actual proceedings.
I was having too much fun to go fiddling with the my phone and her dad was taking plenty of photos anyway. Believe me, I’m not about to forget the Amazing Ava and her bag of tricks anytime soon.
My sister pointed out that it was good that Ava was outside meeting people and doing something creative—as opposed to burying her nose in a smartphone.
And that’s the best kind of magic there is.