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Come in, come in, take a seat, have some tea!  

Welcome to the

Practical Magic Blog Party 2011!

Being in the Southern Hemisphere, it’s coming into the warmth, colour and scents of springtime; the new beginnings for all things growing.  And in a way, I’ve always had the film Practical Magic around during times in my life where new beginnings were going on…

“My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage!”

It’s funny where life directs us, and when I was 28 it politely suggested that I get out of my job and back into higher education.  I was the oldest in my last-class-of-the-evening students trying to wrap our heads around Economics 101, and my eyes were crossed and my mind boggled regularly – and that was just hearing the other student’s adventures!  I’d parked myself in my regular seat when magic decided to happen.  A young woman walked in just as the tutor was taking his first breath to read from the textbook to us and headed for the other spare seat aside from the one next to me.  She’d taken 2 steps beyond the empty desk alongside me when she said clearly “No, I think I’ll sit down here” and turned back with a puzzled expression and sat down.  We shared that “I’m not an axe-murderer” smile that people sitting close by each other do and I settled into writing class notes along the lines of “read page 478 – 559” as the tutor flipped pages and read to us.  By the time the 20 minute half-way break rolled around some 90 minutes later, I was ready for the requisite fizzy drink and chocolate bar that was my standard “mustn’t fall asleep in class” fare.  I turned to offer to get my desk-mate a drink or snack, and noticed that she was still copying from a purple sheet of paper that I’d noticed her pulling from her bag earlier in the evening. 

Glancing at it, I discovered it wasfull of information regarding crystals and gemstones and their metaphysical properties.  “Interesting stuff…”  I broke the ice and from there, the break was spent chatting about crystals.  At the end of class, she muttered about having to hurry to make her bus, and knowing that the class had run over time, I offered her a lift home.  The conversation from the break was resumed and continued, and I found she lived only a few kilometres from my home.  We traded email addresses and phone numbers with the idea of study-buddies when the inevitable exams rolled around.  Our first social visit involved hot tea, cookies and some long discussions, including in the revelation that she loved the film Practical Magic.  I felt like a fool, confessing that I’d not seen it, despite a large number of recommendations.  Suffice to say, her horror that I’d missed out seeing the film culminated in the order to “grab it from the collection there, whap it in the player, I’ll make popcorn.”

A life long friendship and love for the film began…

“Bring him back! I have never asked you for anything. I’ve never asked you for spells but do this. I know you can bring him back.”

It was January 10th 2002, and I had just sent Annette, another dear friend, home to her family.  I was all alone at home, waiting for my brother’s clothing to finish drying so I could take them to the funeral home in the morning.  He’d passed away in his sleep in the early hours of that morning.  Annette brought the most practical form of magic she knew when dealing with grief; a bottle of Jim Beam.  Alex loved Jim Beam. I appreciated it after a day of people bringing food and hovering about making sure I was going to be OK.   But Annette knows me well enough that Mr Beam was the thing that would help me sleep.  I had two shots as she sipped lemonade (sober driving is her motto) and once I’d babbled a little, cried a little and refused her offer to stay overnight, she pointed to the TV and suggested I put it on for background noise or put in a DVD because it was so very quiet in the house.  After she’d left, I watched Practical Magic, the bottle of alcohol forgotten in the kitchen as I lost myself in the security of familiar scenes and characters, breaking down fully when Sally begged the Aunts to bring Mike back.

2 years later, Annette and her husband had a baby boy.  His name is Alex.

“But still sometimes, when the wind is warm or the crickets sing… I dream of a love that even time will lie down and be still for. I just want someone to love me. I want to be seen.”

I was sitting in the living room of the place I was house-sitting, Practical Magic playing in the background as I chatted via Messenger to a friend I’d made during one of my holiday trips to Australia.  Sally had just cast her Amas Veritas spell and Stevie Nicks was singing about trusting your first initial feeling.
”So anyway, if neither of us has met someone in 18 months time, I’ll turn up at your place with flowers and a ring.  White roses are your favourites aren’t they?” he said unexpectedly.

I thought he was joking.  For 3 days I thought so, until I figured out I’d better make sure or risk hurting his feelings.  I got a one word answer – “No.”

I was dumb-struck (something my friends will tell you is a rare thing!) and continued blinking in surprise. So much for trusting your first initial feeling!   I’d pretty much reached that point in life where I figured I could get away with being like one of the Owens’ Aunts; wearing what I felt comfy in and being known as a little eccentric – I chose to deliberately ignore the other correlations with regards to also being considered a witch.

”Ok, you weren’t joking…now what?” was my highly helpful response.

Darrell met me at the airport 18 months later when I lugged 25kgs of excess baggage with me to Australia.  He didn’t even blink when 2 months later half a shipping container of the rest of my stuff was carried up into our home.
Well, a girl’s got to have her books and music when she’s making a new start!

“Summoning up a true love spell called Amas Veritas. He can flip pancakes in the air. He’ll be marvellously kind. And his favourite shape will be a star.”

Our first kiss was as Amas Veritas played on the stereo.  I trod on his toes as I turned in his hug and he trod on mine moving closer! 

He makes pancakes.  He’s marvellously kind.  And yes, his favourite shape is a star – well, right after the shape I am.  *wicked grin*

“But there are some things I know for certain: always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can.”

I’d been living with Darrell for 18 months or so, and wasn’t coping well with life in my new home.  The climate and I weren’t friends; I’d been seriously ill for about 3 months soon after arrival and things with his family and the town we lived in weren’t going at all well.  He worked odd shifts in his role as an Aged Care nurse and I was left on my own a lot.  I listened to the Practical Magic soundtrack CD to the point I was singing it in my sleep (apparently).   It was a bearably warm day, I had just put away the DVD of Practical Magic, Darrell was out of his after-work shower and was pouring cold water for us both.

“Hey.  It’s about time we considered setting a date.”  He said as he sat alongside me on the sofa.

”Date?”  my brain was tapioca, probably because of the previous day’s migraine.
”Yeah, date.  Wedding date.  You know, getting hitched.  Although if you’d rather not, it’s OK…”

”Well, not this weekend at any rate.”  Was my witty response.

We were married 6 months later at Samhain, April 30th 2010.  We walked into the venue hand in hand to Amas Veritas,and This Kiss and Lime in De Coconut played as part of the cocktail hour music.

4 months later, we moved into the first home we weren’t sharing with someone else.  There’s rosemary by the front door (as a unit, it counts as by the gate!) and both it and the lavender grow insanely with little more than a stern seasonal trim.  We fall asleep to the sound of the ocean and have magical ‘starparkles’ in the kitchen and living room when the sun hits the crystals in the windows at dawn…and I’ve watched Practical Magic four times since we moved here…

So there you have it.  Practical Magic has been a constant and a soundtrack at key times over the last 9 or so years.  Just yesterday, I ordered the book.  I have a feeling there’s a lot missing from the film that’s in there and I’m looking forward to finding out!