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Sawdust Still Sprinkles Magic

by Pamela Knudsen
by Pamela Knudsen

Navigating through the crowd was a challenge with a plastic cup of wine filled to the brim. I stopped for a moment to avert sloshing, and took a hearty swig then kicked a woodchip out from the sole of my sandal. I was then ready to ascend the stairs that would lead to the music. With each step the familiar beat became louder and instantly took me back to childhood—summertime in the ‘60s and high school dances in the ‘70s. Weaving our way through the sea of tourists and Laguna Beach locals, my friend Lori and I found a cozy spot stage left. In between aging hippies, teenagers, and young parents with babies, I caught a glimpse of my next door neighbor, front man for Beatles cover band, Isle of Lucy, or shall I say “John Lennon” belting out, “…she’s got a ticket to ra-ha-hiiiide!” while jamming on his guitar.

After getting settled-in under the twilight sky and towering Eucalyptus trees, I sipped my chardonnay, and as my foot involuntarily tapped to the beat, I took in the scene. Behind me, a woman in orange tie-dye with her arms swirling towards the sky swayed to the rhythm (and who probably hadn’t changed much since the Summer of Love); next to me sat a friendly 20-something with a fresh face and blonde dreadlocks; across the isle, a toddler could barely stand, yet bobbed up and down to the beat as her mother helped her balance. I watched guys with long gray ponytails standing next to clean-cut baseball-capped fellows, girls in short-shorts and women of a certain age in flowy long skirts all move to the beat. I was amidst several generations, yet did not sense an age gap. Beatles fans, much like their melodies, don’t seem to age.

A woman looking elegantly bohemian and a little girl wearing red cowboy boots, a pink tutu and sparkling fairy wings, strolled past me. I’d never seen a fairy in cowboy boots, not that I’ve ever seen a fairy, but seeing her in this charmed venue made me believe that fairies could exist.

The clock struck 9:30, and like a spell that had been broken, the music ended. The band thanked the audience and began to breakdown their gear, and the Beatles fans disbursed. The music had entranced Sawdust goers, and now the magic of artistic creations would enchantment us. We walked away from the stage onto the wood chipped pathways leading to decorative artists’ booths and viewed florescent paintings through 3-D glasses where mermaids frolicked in bubbles; tested magic wands in the booth where tiny fairy dolls live; and made wishes with pennies that we threw into the pond at the wishing well.

Suddenly, a loud voice blared over the speakers telling us all that Sawdust would be closing in five minutes. As we strolled past the wishing well, making our way towards the exit, I got one last glimpse of the fairy in cowboy boots, now asleep in her mother’s arms.


Pamela Knudsen is a writer and lives in Laguna Beach.  She is working on a memoir based on her blog

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