The fairy stone is a unique and all but lost family tradition here. It started and ended with my great grandmother, Marge Sturgis. I only partook in the tradition for one week as a child, but to me, the value of this story is not so much in the tradition of it, as what it tells of her personality and sense of imagination. It was a superstitious story of grandma's fabrication—I sometimes got the sense she had a whole delightful world of mythology, all her own, living in her head, that only she understood, but into which she would give us little awe-filled glimpses.
As this story went, there was a stone fairy, kind but shy, that lived in the huge rock next to the red cottage. She called it the fairy stone. The really special and fun thing about it was convincing the fairy to give you treats. See, although she was shy and would never let you see her, she really loved buttercups. If there were some children who were so inclined as to collect some buttercups and place them on the stone, then maybe, just maybe, the fairy would come out in the middle of the night and take the buttercups, leaving some treats (candy, little toys, etc) in return.
Like I said, I only actually did this during one visit, but the story was passed down to me from my dad. He still remembers the fairy with a twinkle in his eye that harkens back to that young childhood awe, wonder, and delight. I'm sure that's why she did it. That little joyful squeal in the morning, the gears of imagination turning in their little heads. That necessary connection to nature, scouring the fields and woods to spot just the right flower. And, in creating those little golden memories, I think it satisfied a certain childlike imagination and wonder of her own. Her heart was always overflowing with love for her grandkids (and great grandkids), and that was just one example of her expression of it. What a beautiful way to be remembered.
UPDATE: After writing this post, I went outside to get a better photo of the buttercup my wife left on the stone last night. I'm not sure what I expected, but the buttercup was gone. In its place, a chocolate donut. The fairy is alive. The tradition lives on.
Our yearly vacation on Wolfe Island always awakens a bountiful store of fond memories from as far back as I can remember. Yesterday, I sat on the deck of the red cottage with Ellie to enjoy some quiet time alone together. As we sipped bourbon and watched the scout ship in the distance, I started sharing some of those memories. As we talked, we both decided I should start writing some of them down as they come to me. This is the first, hopefully of many.