This past weekend was the opening weekend for the Texas Renaissance Festival (TRF). I want to say this is my 13th season working there. I have been working behind the jewelry counter at the same shop the entire time. While retail is not something I love working, I adore working in this shop.
Part of my love comes from the environment. I mean seriously I work at a Renaissance faire. It is like playing dress up as a grown up and getting paid for it. How many people can say that about their jobs? I am really just a kid at heart.
Part of my love for it is also the people I work for and with. The crew from my shop are my friends and very much like family. We laugh like friends and bicker like family and love each other very much. I only get to see some of them 10 weekends a year, but they are still close to my heart.
Part of it though is the magic.
Let me explain.
This last weekend was really quite wretched in reality. The weather was anything but cooperative. On Saturday it was hot. Not that it was over 100 hot, it was an average tolerable hot with about 1000% humidity. I could feel the warm wet air entering my lungs with every breath I took. It felt like we were drowning. No amount of standing under the fans and drinking ice water was going to save us.
Sunday the heat took a back seat to rain. It was raining all night and all morning. There was pretty much a constant drizzle all day long. Anyone who works faire will tell you that rain can be the kiss of death. People who aren't die hard fans typically will avoid the mud pit that faire turns into during a deluge.
Apparently there were a lot of opening weekend free tickets in circulation so there were still a steady amount of patrons wondering listlessly through the shop. They were hot, or wet, and normally tired and cranky, but for the most part they seemed in good enough spirits despite all that.
Toward the end of the day on Sunday, close to 7pm a family came into the shop. It was a woman, her mother, and her little girl who was probably 3 or 4 at most. The little blond tot was all smiles which is surprising for being that late in the day. She had no stroller so she had to have been walking the entire time. I know adults who are tired and cranky come 7pm on a rainy faire Sunday. (Heck some of them work in my shop.) Still the little girl was bubbly and happy and had obviously had a wonderful day. It was an impressive sight to see.
As they were standing at the back counter purchasing some soap I heard a sudden gasp from the little girl and then heard her mother telling her "It is gone forever". I knew what had happened without looking. You see our shop has a wooden floor, but the boards do not come flush together. There is a gap between floor boards. People drop things down there all the time, and usually there is no retrieving the lost item.
It turns out the little girl had dropped one of her dragons tears down the crack. Our fantasy characters like to hand out those shiny glass fish bowl rocks as 'fairy tears' or 'dragon tears' to children as souvenirs. This little girl had gotten two dragon tears (because fairies were dumb according to her), one of which was lost forever.
As I watched her mom and grandmother try and console her, promising to try and find the dragon boy again or assure her that she still had one tear and that it would be alright, I could see in the little girls face it was not alright. All the happiness and magic of the day was slipping away for her as her little lip began to quiver. She was going to breakdown and this families happy day would end miserably as they carried a tired hysterical child to the car and sat in traffic to get home.
This simply would not do.
Now we don't really have much in the way of small shiny things in our shop that are not also pretty expensive. We do however have some old broken crystal points that were at one point many years ago part of a display. I had a plan.
I went and called the little girl over to me.
"Would you like to know a secret?" I asked her as I got down to eye level with her.
She was on the verge of tears and clinging to her grandmothers leg but she gave me a little shy nod.
"You see," I began speaking to her in a quiet conspiratorial way "I have this friend and his name is Magnus Krane. He chases dragons for a living. Do you know that the last time he came across a dragon that he brought me back some of the dragons horde?"
The little girls lip had stopped trembling and she let go of her grandmothers leg.
"Would you like a piece of his horde?" I asked her.
She held out her palm showing me the tiny round glass bead she still had "But the dragon likes these." she insisted.
I held out the small raw crystal point to her "But this was his as well."
The little girls eyes grew to the size of saucers. She took the point from my hand and cradled it to her chest a moment before a face splitting grin erupted. She spun about and gave her grandmother a huge hug before proudly showing off her new prize.
Her mother told her to thank me and to give me knucks at which point I was given a firm and impressive tiny fist bump from the little girl. Any signs of impending tears were well forgotten. She was busy stowing away her new treasure and was off for a new adventure already. Her mother and grandmother thanked me for saving the evening as they left the shop.
As I straightened up, smiling probably as much as the little girl was, another patron who had been watching everything that had happened looked at me curiously for a moment. He looked from me to the night beyond our doors where the little girl was dancing in circles giggling and then back to me again.
"You have the best job in the world" he said to me with a shake of the head and a mystified smile on his face.
"I really do." I responded with a nod.
See? I get to make magic.
Best job in the world.