Over the last year, my family made a new friend. When you spend several evenings together each week over the course of a year, you can become pretty close. Our new friend, Henry P. York was pretty adventurous, and graciously invited us along for the ride.
Throughout the process, we met several of his family and friends, such as Henrietta, Anastasia, Dotty, and Frank. Then there was Richard and Zeke. There was Eli and Caleb too. Recently, we added Grandmother Anastasia, Mordecai, Hyacinth, Una, another sister whose name I forget, Frank Fat-Faerie, and Monmouth. Each new friend had his/her own unique characteristics and brought joy and excitement to our relationships.
I shouldn’t forget the witch Nimiane, Darius, and Coradin – though I’d like to sometimes.
But this past week, the time to say goodbye arrived. Oh, they’ll come back and visit again I’m certain, but it will be a while. However, they all will live close in our memories of the times we shared with them.
I remember the very moment Henry’s hand was burned with the fire of the Dandelion, outside the barn. And that is where it all began…well that and the attic wall of cupboards – one hundred cupboards to be exact.
One of my favorite memories is from early on in our budding relationships. Frank, Henry’s uncle, knew he had to get the door to grandfather’s room open. Trying everything he could think of, Frank finally pulled out the big guns – the chainsaw. That door was so strong, even a chainsaw couldn’t get it open. It did rip up the floor in the hallway though, and Frank was plum worn out by the time he gave up.
Together, we traveled to Henry, Kansas, Hylfing, Baden Hill, and Endor. We crossed through Faeren Mounds, cupboards, and all manner of objects. We lost people we loved, and we made so many new friends too. Eerily, we fought evil too dark to describe, often thinking this had to be the end. It was just too much to overcome.
Throughout our time together, we watched Henry grow from a shy, awkward city boy in need of a place to stay – into an amazing son, full of strength no one could have ever imagined…well – other then his family of course. Having grown immensely, Henry now can certainly hold his own – against anyone!
There are so many things I desperately want to share with you about our time with Henry, his family, and his friends. But I just can’t. You see, you too can meet Henry and Henrietta, Zeke and Richard, and so many of Henry’s other friends and family. You can watch his hand burn with the fire of the Dandelion and imagine dandelions suddenly popping up all around you too. You can dream of Henry’s escape from Darius, rejoice with him when he finds his father and mother, and cry with him when he loses someone he loves dearly. You even can laugh with him as he interacts with Henrietta and Annastasia and through many other circumstances. Henry can become your friend too.
Realizing the end of our time together was near, I found myself fighting back tears. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Henry, not yet. Often these days, I find myself thinking of him, a young boy with the weight of the world on his shoulders – a weight he doesn’t even realize he is carrying at the beginning of our story. We said goodbye to people, to places, to activities, and to Henry’s Raggant. But so much will be taken with us – courage, bravery, love, family, honor, and perseverance. My favorite memory of Henry is his heart to do what is right – regardless of the odds stacked against him.
We are a better family for having known Henry, everyone he brought into our lives, and all of their adventures.
So Goodbye Henry…until we meet again.
If you’d like to make Henry’s acquaintance and participate in his exciting adventures, I suggest you take a quick click over to Amazon and pick up the three novels making up the 100 Hundred Cupboards series by N.D. Wilson, 100 Cupboards, Dandelion Fire, and The Chestnut King. You won’t regret it!
This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for full details.
Oh – and you can always stop by N.D. Wilson’s page to find a scene that ended up on the cutting room floor – titled The Lost History of Henry, Kansas.
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