Penelope’s Diary


Dear diary,

Today is my favorite day of the year. It is the one night of the year when all of our family comes to visit; from all corners of the world. My auntie gave me you so I can write about my life, dreams and special experiences. I say that because not everyone can see and do what we can. She is a witch and has placed a spell on this journal so only I can write in it and only those who can understand the old ways can read it. So, I will try to write a page a day, as that is another rule Auntie said before she gave you to me. I need to learn and practice magical words, and writing them down will help me remember them. I have a bunch of magical relatives, my grandma, my grandpa, my mama, my dad, my brother, my auntie, and my cousins. As well as quite a few I can’t remember at the moment. So, for the next year, I will focus on writing about anything and everything that happens that is different from the regular experiences that every average American family does. This night’s party was the same as it was every year, people arrived at different times, using various ways to get here. My favorite was the emerging from the swamp that my uncle and his two sons favored, how they came out with dry suits I can’t guess. In the great hall, everyone gathered as gifts were given. My Auntie who loves to showboat (her word) gave a long loving speech about how it was time I was made aware of how much magic there is in the world. And what better way then to write about it in my own words? A few family members nodded in agreement while some laughed or said “Yes!” Being the entertainer that she is, she glanced around at the gathering and waited for the idea to sink in before continuing. “So I have brought forth a journal that I personally oversaw the creation so that it’s magical integrity would remain. It is protected by a spell so that only she can write in it.” She looked for my brother, and pointed at him; “No matter how much she whines that she can’t write, you can not help her with this.” He smiled and nodded, because he often got that lecture about my homework. “And” she continued, “I also have a reading protection spell that only those who follow the old ways can understand what is written here.” Leaning towards me and said in a stage whisper, “that way if any non-magical people read it, they won’t understand the words written on these pages.” She slowly walked down to where I stood and handed my you in a gentle manner, being sure I had a flat hand to grasp the weight of you. The purple scarf wrapped around you is now draped across the top of my mirror.

After that, we all watched as everyone else got one gift from someone else, it varied every year, I am too young to bring a gift so I am not sure how it works.

As most of the gifts were magical, once it was given to someone, no one else really was allowed to touch it, to avoid rubbing their own energy onto the object. I guess the objects needed to meet and absorb the energy of their new owner. At least that’s what my brother Tomas says.

After the gift giving was the time for food and eats, which is always yummy and fun seeing the competition between everyone as to which food dish was best. I liked the sweet caramel potatoes the best this year. Though the apple fritter was a close second.

Then the best part of the evening, when the grandfathers would share a story from the old ones. I am not sure how old the old ones really are, I just know that I like the drum and firelight that surround the words spoken by first one grandfather than the next without a break in between. I wonder if they practice, they won’t tell me and I can’t ask, it would be rude. Tonight’s tale told of the beginnings of when our people gave up wandering for food and following the animals to staying in one place to grow our food, each animal had to give it’s blessing to our people and each did with a special rule we were to follow which is why we have so many that we follow now.

Of course, it was hard to keep my eyes open, I missed the end of the story. I awoke to dad pulling my blanket over me. He pointed to you and a pen that rested near you. So I am now trying to write what I can remember before I fall asleep again.

Good Night Diary.