Kyle's Imbolc Lesson
by Lori Dake, 2002

Kyle's Yule Lesson, by Lori Dake, 2001
Kyle is a little boy who lives in a big city. He lives in big apartment building with 12 other families, and every family is very different, but they all get along. Kyle has a mom and a dad and a big orange cat named Sneaky. Like every other family in the big apartment building, Kyle's family is different, too.

Imbolc was a week away, and Kyle's mom had to buy a few extra supplies for candlemaking. In Kyle's home, they made all the candles they would need for the year at this time. Some years they would throw a big party to make them, including all of Kyle's friends, but this year was just going to be for the family.

Kyle's mom put on her big black coat, her big fuzzy black hat, and her little black gloves that were furry on the cuffs. Then she wrapped her neck in a long gray and pink scarf. Kyle wanted to come as well, so he put on his puffy gray coat, along with his blue and gray knit hat with matching gloves. Kyle snapped the hood tightly around his neck so that all anyone could see were his eyes peeking through the hood.

"Are you coming too, hon?" she said to Kyle's dad.

"No", his dad replied. "I'm just going to stick around here and help you clean up a bit."

Kyle's mom smiled and thanked him. She grabbed her big black purse and walked down the winding stairs with Kyle to get to where she had parked the car earlier. Kyle's family didn't have a new or fancy car like some of his friends did. It was a little gren car that had some rust by the tires. It wasn't teh fastest car, either, but Kyle's dad always said they weren't really in a big hurry to get anywhere, so that was ok.

When they got in the car, Kyle's mom put on her seatbelt and put the key in the ignition. Kyle always laughed when she would talk to the car as if it were a real person, beg it to start and then thank it when it would.

"Come on Susie, one more time," she said, as she pumped the gas pedal and stroked the dashboard with one hand, while gripping the wheel tightly with the other. The car made a funny R-r-r-r-r-r sound as it struggled to start, and his mom kept on pumping. It finally turned over and she smiled. "thanks, sweety!" she said, and turned on the radio and the heater. They had to wait for the car to warm up before they could go.

While they were waiting, Kyle was puffing hard to see his breath in the cold. "Just a few minutes, honey" his mom said. Even though she was shaking and breathing on her hands to try to get warm, she smiled and started to sing with the radio. "We are the priests, of the temples, of Syrinx..." she sang loudly, tossing back her long dark hair that was hiding under her hat, almost instantly becoming a teenager again as she smiled brightly.

Mommmmmmm!" Kyle whined. "That's embarrassing!" He crossed his arms and pouted, rolling his eyes. "Somebody's going to see you!"

"But this is a classic!" she exclaimed. "...all the gifts of life, are held within our walls..." she continued to sing. She looked over at Kyle who started to giggle, losing his grumpiness. He pointed to the big set of keys hanging from the ignition, and his mom pointed to his unbuckled seatbelt. Kyle pulled the strap over his chest and clicked in the buckle. His mom looked behind her and off they went, thumping her thumbs against the steering wheel in time with the radio.

When they got to the hobby shop, Kyle headed straight for the toy trains, while his mom went towards the back where the candle supplies were kept. She awed at all of the different handmade candles the store carried, and started to add wax coloings into her cart. She then went up to the counter to get a few blocks of wax; they needed alot for a whole year! She also asked for some sterine. She needed that to add to the wax so that they wouldn't have a messy altar from all of the wax that would otherwise drip.

Just as Kyle finished playing with the toy trains, his mom started calling for him from the counter. "Time to go, Kyle" she called. Kyle popped up right behind her, and gave her a little startle! "I'm right here!" he exclaimed. Kyle stretched out his arm to offer to carry a bag to the car. The shopkeeper handed him a small, light bag, and then handed his mom two of the big ones. The shopkeeper kept the last for herself and escorted them to the door.

Just as Kyle's mom was loading the last bag into the trunk, a big white pigeon with black and brown feathers landed on the top of the car. Kyle's eyes glared and started waving his arms wildly. "Shoo you dirty bird!" he exclaimed, waving his arms until the bird finally flew away.

"Why did you do that?" his mom asked, giving his a disappointed look that Kyle didn't pick up on. "Because they're dirty birds mom," Kyle explained. "Alejandro said so." His mom looked at him and nodded gently, but didn't say anything. "Come on buddy, let's get going." They jumped back in the car and headed off.

Kyle remembered which way they had come, so he was puzzled when he noticed they were going a different direction. As they drove, the neighborhood started to change, and Kyle didn't like it at all. He pushed down the lock on his door and looked at his mom with worried eyes. "This is a bad neighborhood, mom" he said. As he continued to look out the window, Kyle saw people who didn't look like he did, and many of them looked like they didn't have as nice clothes as he did, either.

When they came to a red light, Kyle's mom turned down the radio and started to speak softly. "Do you think these people are the same as we are?" Kyle had a very surprised look on his face. "No way!" he exclaimed. "They're bums! We don't look like that!" Kyle's mom looked over at him. "Well, what about that lady over there?" Is she a bum, too?" Kyle's mom motioned her head to an older woman sitting on a bench waiting for a bus. "Naaaaah, " Kyle replied. "She's ok, but I think she's pretty poor though." As she kept her eye on the traffic light, Kyle's mom asked "Really? What makes you think that?" Kyle shrugged. "I dunno. I guess it's because she doesn't dress as nice as grandma does." His mom nodded, the light turned green, and off they went.

Kyle was still wondering where exactly it was that they were going. The neighborhood was still changing, and as far as Kyle was concerned, it was getting worse. They came to a nearby grocery store, and his mom turned on her blinker. "We're not really going shopping in there, are we?" Kyle asked witha very surprised look on his face. "Sure are!" his mom replied, with her usual cheerful grin. "This place has the best meats in the whole city!" Kyle started to become a little scared. "But our store is fine. Can't we just go there?" The car pulled into a space and his mom took the keys out of the ignition. "Nope. OUr store isn't half as good as this place!" Kyle slowly unbuckled his seatbelt, sulked, and opened the door.

They walked inside, grabbed a cart and started walking up and down the aisles. Kyle was becoming very uncomfortable, because he was in a strange store, with creepy people and some of the food smelled funny. His mom put examined and put a few vegetables in the cart, and, with her constant cheerful smile, continued down the aisles.

"Excuse me," a voice called. Kyle looked around and saw an elderly woman calling to him and his mom. "Excuse me, but would you please get that box of cereal down there. My back isn't what it used to be." The woman pointed to a big green box of corn flakes. Kyle thought she was kind of creepy-looking, but did as he was told. He grabbed the box of cereal, threw it in her cart, and ran back behind his mom. "Oh thank you little boy. What a nice helper you are!" The woman reached into her pocket and pulled out a small wrapped piece of candy. "Ma'am," she said to Kyle's mom, "would you mind if I gave your boy a reward for helping me?" Kyle's mom smiled and shook her head. "Not at all. His dinner's not for a while anyway." She accepted the candy for Kyle, who was still cowering behind her. She handed the treat to him and his eyes grew brightly. "All right!" he exclaimed. "This stuff is awesome!" Kyle ripped apart the wrapper and gobbled down his treat. "Thanks lady" he said to the woman, speaking through a full mouth of candy. "That's quite alright. You remind me of my grandson." The woman slowly pushed her cart down the aisle and Kyle and his mom went back to shopping.

When they had finished, Kyle and his mom put thr groceries into the back seat and drove back home. Kyle was relieved to see the neighborhood changing again, but this time for the better.

Kyle's dad greeted them outside when they pulled up in front of their big apartment building. "hiya hon!" his dad said to his mom. "I saw you guys coming down the street and I figured you'd need a hand." Kyle's mom smiled, and handed him a couple bags from the candle store. "What did you do?" his dad asked, "Buy out the whole store?" His mom laughed and shook her head. "There's also some groceries in the back seat," she said. "We took a detour to the old market on the way back." Kyle's dad licked his lips and had a look of fond memories come across his face. "That place always had the best meats."

As they all carried the bags up the stairs, Kyle became confused about what his mom and dad said."Wait a second," he said. "Old market? How could it be old? I've never seen that place before!" As they walked in the door, Sneaky pounced on Kyle... and did he ever have the big eyes! "No, Sneaky, not now." Kyle said, as he gently pushed his cat away. "So," he continued, "why do you guys call it the old market? is it because old people shop there?"

As his mom set her bags on the floor near the refridgerator, she started to explain. "You see Kyle," she began, "when you were a baby, we used to shop there all the time..." Kyle interrupted his mom. "But that place is for dirty bums and old people. Why would you want to be in a place like that?" Kyle's dad replied sternly before his mom had a chance. "But we used to live a block away from there!" Kyle's face was covered in surprise and shock. "Do you think we're like that?" Kyle didn't know what to say, so he didn't say anything, and just started to unpack the bags.

"kyle," his mom said, in her gentle voice. "When you were a baby, your dad and I didn't have very much money. While the neighborhood isn't as nice looking as where we are now, but the people in that neighborhood are every bit as nice as the people around here. Just because somebody doesn't have nice clothes, or isn't as smart, or doesn't have a nice car, that doesn't make them any worse. Just different is all." Kyle started to understand, and almost instantly remembered the pigeon he had made fly away. "Does that count for birds, too?" he asked. His mom smiled brightly and stroked his hair. "Of course it does. That counts for everyone and everything." Kyle smiled back and continued to unload the groceries. "And that lady at the store," he added, "does she count, too?" His mom smiled again. "Everyone and everything." she repeated. Kyle and his dad were both smiling at that, and continued to empty the bags.

A week went by, and it was time to start making the candles! Kyle's mom got her candlemaking set-up together, and started going through all of the supplies she had in the pantry. "Oh no!" she exclaimed. "I can't believe I did that!" Kyle and his dad were in the livingroom playing a video game together. "What's wrong, hon?" his dad called. He paused the game and walked in the diningroom where she was. "I forgot to get some red!" she continued. "Of all the colors we need today, and I forgot red!" Kyle's dad put his hand on her shoulder. "Is that all?" he asked. "You worry too much, you know that?" as he smiled at her. "Tell you what, me and Kyle will run out to the store and pick it up for you while you melt down the wax. How's that sound?" He walked back into the livingroom where Kyle was still holding his controller. "Hey buddy," he said. "How about you and me go out for a quick ride to the hobby shop. Would you like that?" Kyle's eyes grew brightly. "Oh yeah, sure!" Kyle was more than happy to go, because he really liked playing with the trains there. Kyle and his dad got ready and walked out the back door.

When they got to the store, Kyle headed straight to the trains while his dad asked the shopkeeper where the red wax coloing was. She picked out the item for him and rang him up. Kyle hadn't even played for a minute when his dad came up behidn him, carrying a small brown paper bag. "Time to go, Kyle." he said. Kyle sulked. "But daddddd, we just got here" he whined. Kyle's dad reached for his car keys in his pocket. "But if we don't go now," he said, "we can't make all of those candles!" Kyle immediately put down the controller and lead the way to the door.

Kyle was standing frozen in front of the car. "Shhhhhh!" he whispered to his dad, holding one finger to his lips and pointing to the car. The very same pigeon was on top of their car again! "Do you think he remembers me?" Kyle whispered. "Do you think he remembers I was mean to him?" His dad shook his head, and they both stood there for a moment, looking at the big white bird with the black and brown feathers looking back at them. "I just think he wants to be your friend, Kyle," his dad said. They slowly approached the car, and the bird slowly flew away. Kyle waved good-bye to his new friend. They then got back in the car and drove back home.

Kyle could hardly wait to get back! When his dad found a parking spot in front of their big apartment building, Kyle ripped off his seatbelt and opened the door. He ran up the stairs to tell his mom! His dad walked behind him, carrying the small brown paper bag.

Kyle burst through the door, and Sneaky pounced on him. Sneaky had those "big eyes" again, meaning he wanted to play! "No Sneaky, not now," Kyle said gently, and tried to pick him up, but Sneaky was just too quick for him! Kyle cornered Sneaky, picked him up and put him in the kitchen, and closed the door. Kyle knew his mom was melting wax, and he didn't want Sneaky to get hurt.

His dad came in the door, and then Kyle remembered what was so important that he had to hurry and tell his mom. "Mom!" he exclaimed. "Guess who we saw at the hobbyshop! It was the pigeon again!" Kyle was smiling ear to ear! "He wants to be my friend!" Kyle's mom was both surprised and happy. "Really?" she said. "The same one?" Kyle's dad nodded. "Yeah, mom," Kyle replied. "The big white one with the black and brown feathers! He was on top of the car again, too!" Kyle's mom was indeed surprised, and smiled. "That's really nice, dear," she replied. "Would you like to start making candles now? Everything's ready to go!" Kyle nodded and he took off his coat and hung it up.

Kyle went into his bedroom to go through his old clothes. Kyle knew to wear an old shirt so that if any wax dripped, it wouldn't get on his favorite clothes. Kyle came back out, and his dad had changed shirts, too. Kyle's mom laughed at what his dad was wearing. "Dannie, you haven't worn that in ages!" she giggled. "I bet even the moths won't eat it!" Kyle's mom kept giggling as his dad rolled his eyes and grinned. Kyle asked his mom, "Can I make a few of my own candles?" His mom knew what that meant, because Kyle did that every year. Kyle liked swirling two or three colors together, adding his own oils to make them smell nice, and even adding some herbs into the wax. "That's fine, but just don't go too wild, okay?" Kyle nodded and evreyone got to work.

Once everyone made enough candles for the year, Kyle helped clean up the work area. His mom and dad moved all of the candles into the livingroom, and his dad moved the big furniture. They were going to need lots of room for the Ritual that night! His mom went into the kitchen to start making their special dinner. She first opened the door to let Sneaky come ack out, because there was no more hot wax for him to get hurt from. She went into the pantry and brought down a jar of spaghetti sauce she made last summer from the tomatoes they grew. Even though they lived in an apartment, Kyle's family was still able to grow a couple things in big white buckets on their back porch. She also brought down the pasta maker, and the special flour for making it. Then everyone joined in to make their special dinner.

"Hey mom, what are we going to have for dessert?" Kyle asked. His mom had a big grin on her face. "A cherry triffle!" she replied. Kyle remembered what was in it, and volunteered to make the custard. That way, if he guarded the custard from scorching, he would get to lick the spoon afterwards! "That's a really great idea, hon," Kyle's dad replied. "Lots of eggs and cream, and red cherries mixed in. Brigit would really like that!"

When dinner was ready, they all sat at the table that was their workstation just hours before. Kyle had done a very nice job of setting the table, but Sneaky looked jealous. "I bet he wants a fancy dinner, too," Kyle's dad said. "Okay," Kyle replied. He got up and went into the pantry to find a can of tuna. Kyle didn't think Sneaky would like spaghetti and meatballs, nor salad or garlic bread. When Kyle started opening the can, Sneaky's ears popped up and ran towards Kyle. He started to rub his body against Kyle's legs. "Just a minute!" Kyle demanded, but Sneaky kept rubbing himself against Kyle. He drained the water and emptied the can into Sneaky's dish, and then set the dish next to the table. Then Kyle sat down to dinner, they said a word of thanks, and started to eat.

When they finished dinner and had cleared the table, everyone put on their nice robes and went into the livingroom, where his dad had already set up the altar, and had arranged the candles to bless. The candles were still in their molds, but that was okay. They opened the Ritual, and had also blessed their candles.

After the blessing, Kyle felt he had something important to say. He reached out for his mom and his dad, and they all held hands. Kyle asked for good health and protection for his new friend, the pigeon. "May he always find good things to eat, may he never be thirsty, and may he have a nice big family." Kyle's mom and dad were very proud of him, and his mom gave him a big hug and a kiss.

After the Ritual was over, Kyle suddenly felt very sleepy. He helped his mom and dad clear the livingroom, and went into his room to change. He then went into the bathroom to brush his teeth, and went to look for Sneaky so he could go to bed. Kyle crawled under the covers, and Sneaky laid on top of his chest, as if he was giving Kyle a big, warm hug. Kyle looked out of his window and looked for the moon. He thought of his new friend, the pigeon, and also of the nice lady at the old market. He slowly fell asleep, and began to dream of his new friend, teaching him how to fly.