Going back in time with Tiger Lilly

I happened to come across a reference the other day to Connor Prairie Farm, an historic farm and village near Indianapolis that recreates life circa the 1800s. The setting is authentic, as is the clothing of the staff who each must stay “in character” as they interact with visitors. Seeing the place mentioned again brought back memories, especially one in particular.

When I was a kid growing up in Indianapolis it seemed as if we had a school field trip out to Connor Prarie every other year. About 10 years ago my family was back visiting in the area and we decided to take the young Mall Diva and Tiger Lilly out to the site for a visit. Tiger Lilly would have been five then, and this was the summer between kindergarten and first grade (she started kindergarten when she was four).

Her red hair and precociousness have always garnered her a lot of attention, and when we visited the Tailor’s shop she was soon in a conversation with the tailor, an older gentleman with long, white hair, wireframe glasses, dressed in breeches and a waistcoat and stitching on some project. After they had talked a bit, TL asked the tailor why he said “thee” and “thou” so much.

“Because,” he said, with a twinkle, “I am a Quaker. Does thou know what a Quaker is?”

“Oh, yes,” was the reply. “Last year in school we read a book about Benjamin West and his cat Grimalkin!” TL went on to talk about how Benjamin West was a Quaker and wanted to be a painter, but the Quakers didn’t think painting was proper but he did it anyway and became America’s first great painter.

The tailor was quite taken by this unexpected discourse and smiled and said, “Does that tell you how important it is to listen to that small voice inside you?”

Tiger Lilly cocked her head and gave him a puzzled look for a moment. “You mean GOD?”

The tailor couldn’t hide the surprise and amusement in his face, and shook his head, chuckling. “Thou art a caution!” he said.

Indeed!

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