12 Days of Kindness
“Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. Dreams are forever.” These words were written by J. M. Barrie in his 1904 play “Peter Pan” and included in the novelization of the play published in 1911, “Peter and Wendy.”
Generally when a breed is recognized, there are certain standards. Different breeds of dogs must conform to these standards when competing in dog shows. An English bulldog, for example, cannot compete if the coloring is piebald.
Piebald, not to be confused with merle, is a spotting pattern of an animal found not only in the hair but often on the skin as well. The word “piebald” is a combination of the word “pie”, derived from the magpie bird which has a distinguishing black and white plumage, and the word “bald”, referring to a white patch or seemingly hairless spot.
Many different animals have the piebald coloring. In horses it is found in the pinto breed although the coloration is usually brown and white. The national bird of the United States of America gets its name from its white cap of hair – the American bald eagle. Many birds have this coloring as do dogs, such as the English bulldog. While a piebald English bulldog may not be allowed to compete, there are adorable animals. (I will admit I have three rescue animals and all are black and white: two piebald cats known as tuxedo cats and one giant dog whose coloring could be called barely merle or piebald.)
There is a breed of English horses known as piebald, a breed favored by the traveling people of Great Britain, also known as Roma or Pavee. Technically, the piebald British horse is an Irish cob or Colored Cob. Although not recognized as an official breed until 1996, the piebald Irish cob is also known as the Tinker horse or gypsy horse.
A tinker was a person who traveled around fixing things. J. M. Barrie gave his fairy friend of the main character Peter Pan the name Tinkerbell since she tended to “fix” things for Peter and the fairy folk. In the original musical stage presentation, the voice of Tinkerbell was performed by a percussionist and resembled a tinkling bell although it was actually played on an instrument known as the celesta. Originally, though, “Peter Pan” was not a musical and Tinkerbell was a darting light that seemed to dance around the stage. Her voice was a collar of bells that belonged to Barrie himself. The program, however, listed a Jane Wren as playing the part of Tinkerbell. Eventually the Inspector of Taxes filed a legal demand that Jane Wren pay taxes for her salary for the play and the truth finally came out.
The tinker folk of the British isles have been portrayed as thieves but generally there were respected for the handyman abilities and cheerful natures. They moved about seeking work and seemed very content with their lives.
The opening quote of this post is said by Tinkerbell who did indeed gain a voice in later productions. Though Barrie wrote in the death of Tinkerbell a year after Wendy and her brothers leave Neverland, the fairy remains forever a prominent role for children. Barrie explained her tempestuous nature as being caused by a personality too small for her body. Sometimes we feel much the same with life.
As we began a new year, some of the old follows us. Our problems did not magically disappear at the stroke of midnight on December 31st. We did not suddenly lose our extra weight, have money deposited into our bank accounts, find cures for the world’s most threatening illnesses nor discover how to live in peace and harmony with all.
What we can do, however, is remember Tinkerbell’s words. “Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. Dreams are forever.” IF all we do is relive the past and fail to imagine a better world, then we will never help create a better place for all. Dreams are not folly or a waste of time. They are the portals through which we imagine and create goodness, greatness, and kindness.
My challenge to you today is to laugh. But you cannot laugh at someone. You must laugh with them. Victor Borge, a great entertainer and humanitarian once said, “Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” Share laughter and you will share kindness.