Did you know that we have a real red headed “fairy girl” right here in Starkville Mississippi? On October 10, 1975, I discovered a beautiful “fairy girl” with long red hair playing “peekaboo” behind a gigantic Green Ball Tree. She lived on Greensboro Street in our Historic District. She was very cute too. Where in the world did I spot, find, and discover her? She was right in front of 518 Greensboro where she lived. This Green Ball Tree still lives here. I call it a Bodock Tree, which is also known as a Horse Apple Tree. I also grew up with a Green Ball Tree on the Mississippi State University campus in a two-story clapboard faculty home. Right behind our home was a big pasture, and this same pasture is the spot for MSU students who still play ball of all kinds late in the afternoons. There were really several Green Ball Trees there, and all of the neighborhood children would walk down to play “Peekaboo” behind and in front of these old trees. We particularly loved picking up and feeling the wonderful Green Balls underneath the tree trunks. Some were hard and some were soft balls. In our own imaginary world we had our own hard/soft ball games. The pasture became our own sports field of green grass which felt so great underneath our bare feet and between our toes in the warm summer time in our backyard pasture/playground.
This Green Ball tree on Greensboro was really gigantic. This tree is still alive, healthy, and well in 2011. It is abnormally enormous. My little red-headed precious real human being was a small girl peeping and peering out from behind the left side of the trunk which made her seem very small and she looked just like a fairy. A fairy lives in a fairyland, and she is a mythical being with a human face. She popularly is believed to possess magical powers. She is delicate, small and graceful. My little red-headed fairy fit all of these qualities, and as she looked at me she almost pries furtively and keenly right at me and straight into my green eyes. She looked almost through a narrow opening behind the tree into the larger space that I was standing and painting this very huge Green Ball Tree.
The tree is near the sidewalk of one of the prettiest older homes on this old street. I had positioned myself along with all my art supplies almost inside the street itself. I was barely on the sidewalk for my own safety and this same sidewalk had become my door art studio for that very early morning. I had no idea that the home in the distance there inside lived a real fairy. I had arrived to spend the entire day just enjoying sketching and painting. I wanted to take my time to really become acquainted with all the details within this trunk, branches, and leaves of the Green Ball Tree. It was quaint and delightful, and I wanted to later paint all the character within the entire scene that lay before me.
Take a look with me now at all the curves, twists, and turns that this one trunk made as it grew way up and into the blue sky above. Why this old trunk looked as if it could be magical and was dancing and had danced way beyond the sky. Look at all the various shades of greens. Hooker’s Green which is almost a dark black green, Apple Green is a brighter green, Lime Green is just lime in color, and Yellow Green is almost a white/yellow. I chose to paint just a few shapes of the Green Balls and the tree leaves as the gracefully had fallen towards the ground part of the painting.
Oh, I loved the thirteen Green Balls. Count them. Again I used the odd number. One by one I painted each of these soft yet hard balls. They are like sponges when you pick one up and hold it in your hands. They have little round bump features, and if you break or crack one a milk-like substance will appear from the ball itself. It is sometimes sticky and oozes out of the ball. I love the because of the texture and the way it feels in your hands. I think when these Green Balls fall on the dark brown dirt ground they suddenly add a sparkling bright color of lime green to our Mississippi landscape. It pops the scene and looks so refreshing.
The White Green, Sandy Green background right behind the middle of the gigantic tree makes your imagination go off into the distance of wondering what is really behind this old tree. I was really busy making sure that I was not leaving out one tiny detail of my subject, and I had blocked out all the sounds of the cars rolling by and right behind me on the busy street as the drivers sort of slowed down going to work and returning at noon for dinner time. Suddenly I heard a different sound of the slamming of a front door coming from the home with the numbers, 518 on the side near that front porch area. I did not see anyone coming outside or going inside because as the door slammed I had quickly looked downward to my palette to find Lime Green paint and White to put on the high light of one of the Green Balls as well as the details of the leaves on the tree. I began to call this tree, “my tree” as I now seemed to own “her” now and “she” was truly becoming mine!
As I looked back at “my tree” I spotted a real tiny fairy with long red hair, lime green headband over her head holding some of her red hair back and out of her eyes. She had the biggest and bluest eyes I had ever seen, a white turtleneck on her shoulders and of all things green blue jeans on her legs. Her tiny feet were covered in brown clogs that were almost the exact color of some brown stones underneath the tree. There was a white sidewalk with only a piece of the walk remaining, and the tree trunk took your eyes as ‘’the viewer” to the top dark brown into the swirls of dark blue to the wooden part of the trunk to the very top as the sky was now peeping and peering through the tree as was the tiny fairy.
There is my redheaded little princess fairy standing as if she wanted her own portrait to be painted too. She stood oh so still. Little did she know that she was to become my extra special touch I so desperately needed to make this painting become alive and to live on my 100% cotton canvass. My little redheaded fairy was going to give this gigantic tree, thirteen Green Balls resting underneath the trunk on the ground life. My little princess fairy had just arrived in time for her portrait, and she was going to be the neatest living thing within my entire painting. She was lets say as a believer in our Presbyterian Doctrine, predestined to have appeared just at the right moment at the right spot to be my signature piece and the red cherry on the sundae of this painting!
Well, I got to know her and love her too. My fairy had a real name and it was Miss Marcie Carskadon. She was a real human being and a sure enough fairy as well. Her own fairyland was her home, and her favorite tree was in her yard where she day- dreamed, lived and played all day underneath this very Green Ball tree. My little fairy whom I had found that day had only let me borrow, enjoy, and capture on my canvas the portraits of her own tree and her the portrait of herself too. What a bargain. Marcie’’s face and very being and presence was that of an angel, princess, and fairy. A head full of long red, red, red hair, the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen, and she had chosen green to wear that day too. She peeped and peered oh so silently and so quietly behind my main subject, the Green Ball tree. Marcie had given me the greatest gift a living, breathing, character of a real live fairy to get to paint. I wondered what she really thought of me, the artist? She probably thought I might be a strange “bag lady” underneath a colorful umbrella ...standing and then sitting in a tall red director’s canvas back chair...with a tall huge fold up and fold out wooden table...filled with a big wicker basket filled with lots of art supplies. Marcie whispered who is she? I wonder who she really truly is?
I completed this painting on a cool, beautiful October 10, 1975 so many years ago when life was slow and simple. I often wondered about my little redheaded fairy? I thought if she only knew about how much it became my honor for me to get to meet, know and love you, Marcie, that day. I wondered if she were still around here in Starkville? Did she grow up to be a fine young lady? Did she go on to college? Did she marry and have a sweet family of her very own? Did one of her children have her beautiful red hair? Where is she today? What is she doing? Then I thought how very much I appreciated her coming into my life that day. Did my tiny and very petite little fairy like that of a slight breeze, She merely floated across my very canvas right besides the Green Ball tree trunk the moment I heard that front door slam and looked up from palette of many colors and spotted her. With only a few strokes of my brush, I got to paint a human being... and life was given to this painting and creation of mine was suddenly alive with the sweetness my tiny red-headed fairy who appeared within my very paints on my canvas.
A couple of years ago I found out that Marcie Carskadon did marry, She married Mr. Norman Mellon, our Starkville’s Violin teacher. Marcie and Norman have one son and one daughter. They are Starkvillians. Marcie is in her 30’s, and “Yes...” she was and is a most successful and outstanding young American lady today and will be for the rest of her life. I am so very proud of you, Marcie.
Hey, Marcie, you will always and forever be, my very own little...
red-headed little fairy girl playing “peekaboo” behind a green ball tree!
Painted and Story Written By Starkville’s “Free-Spirited” and “Whimsical” Artist, Carole Elizabeth McReynolds Davis