The Charm Bracelet

The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman Read Free Book Online

Book: The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Viola Shipman
gown, cut on a bias, and a strand of pearls, all of which were haphazardly thrown on over a purple sweat suit and tennis shoes. Don, the elderly man from the player piano who had trailed along behind her like the sweet smells of the shop, handed her a feather boa. Lolly curtsied, taking it from his hands, before he returned to the player piano and rolled a new sheet of paper music onto the spool.
    For a few seconds, there was silence, before the speakers on the street emitted a few squeaks as the spool rotated on the player piano playing the tune to “Hello, Dolly.” And then:
    Lolly turned to salute the fudge shop and its logo, before bowing to the crowd. She put her boa around the shy little girl who had asked about her moments ago and shimmied with her until the girl broke into a fit of giggles. Then she urged the crowd to sing: “You’re lookin’ swell, Dolly…”
    â€œThank you!” Lolly laughed.
    Lolly moved into the center of the crowd and pulled some candy from a pocket on the side of her sequined dress. “Take some fudge, fellas, and some brittle, fellas, ’cause Dolly’ll never go away.”
    She took a dramatic bow, flinging her boa behind her head, as the tourists applauded and went in for hugs and photos before flooding the shop to buy treats. As soon as the crowd had dissipated, Lolly walked inside to the paper clock adhered to the window and moved the hands up an hour.
    NEXT SHOW: 2:OO.
    She tied her pink apron back on, adjusted her wig, and began to stir the chocolate that had been added to the hot urns.
    Lolly caught Arden’s face through the window and smiled broadly.
    â€œSee?” Lauren said. “She’s so happy we stayed and watched.”
    Arden smiled at her mom, then at Lauren.
    I have to admit—despite my own feelings—the crowd loves her, Arden thought.
    â€œLet’s grab a little lunch and then do some shopping,” Arden said. “There used to be a great local winery not far from here, and I’m sure there’s a farm stand. Why don’t we pick up some wine and fresh veggies after we’re done, and I’ll make dinner for you and your grandma?”
    â€œYou’re cooking?” Lauren joked. “We might need two bottles.”

    Arden didn’t need GPS to find her way home again.
    She simply followed the dragonflies.
    Every year, as the cold spring rains ended and summer—ever so slowly—began to crawl onto the shores of northern Michigan like a forgotten castaway, the dragonflies arrived to signal summer had begun.
    Arden navigated her car toward little Lost Land Lake away from downtown Scoops and the sprawling, historic cottages that lined Lake Michigan. Hidden in the woods, pirated away amongst the pines, Lost Land Lake is where she’d grown up.
    The farther Arden drove and the nearer she got to Lost Land, the more the dragonflies darted alongside the car, serving as her guides.
    â€œTinker Bell?” she remembered having asked her mother when she was a girl.
    â€œYes!” her mother had said. “Magic is all around you! All you have to do is look!”
    When Arden turned five, Lolly had given her a dragonfly charm as a birthday present.
    â€œTo a life filled with good fortune,” her mother had whispered. “Just like Tinker Bell!”
    Arden looked out her window at the dragonflies, shook her head, and pressed her foot down on the accelerator.
    Arden drove until she saw the old red barn with WILSON FAMILY DAIRY painted on the side, took a little two-lane road until she passed the massive weeping willow that arched over it, then turned onto a narrow dirt road, canopied under soaring pines that choked out the afternoon sun. Finally, the little road opened onto Lost Land Lake.
    â€œIt’s so beautiful, Mom!”
    Arden looked over at her daughter, the wind from the open window blowing her long, blond hair.
    â€œIt is,” Arden said, slowing her

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