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As has been made very clear over the past five years, I am a bit of a nerd. I love science fiction and fantasy stories, my favorite movies are mostly all about the supernatural - or at least the superheroic, and even the best baseball movie ever, in my opinion, was actually about bringing the dead back to life to make things right again.
Some of that is a child-like hope that there is still the possibility, in this cynical world, that magic exists. That there is an energy that it would be possible to tap in to that could help fix what is broken and right what is wrong.
And, it turns out, there really is magic in the world.
It shows up in the face of a too-cool-for-school 16-year old who runs across a crowded store to grab a giant stuffed version of one of her favorite cartoon characters.
It shows up in the face of a 10-year old who waits in line for 40 minutes to meet his favorite comic book hero, and then spends a few minutes chatting amiably with him while getting an autograph.
It shows up a grown child, scared, thrilled and laughing like a little girl at the illusion of a dementor from the Harry Potter stories leaping out at her from the hidden recesses of an incredible recreation of the Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios.
Yes, my family just went on vacation to Southern California, and, I have to say, as a "grown up"-and yes, I use that term advisedly-the trip was mostly about the kids. But, when I was able to step back and relax a little from the stress that huge crowds put on a dad, it was hard to miss the incredible magic all around me.
The Main Street Parade transported me through time. Not just the lights, and the characters, either; the whole idea of a "main street" had the power to evoke an earlier time, a simpler time, a time when an entire town would turn out to watch the fire department and the high school band parade down the street on a July Fourth just because they could and should honor their country in that way.
The main street mock-up of Radiator Springs (from the "Cars" movies) brought to life that time in the 1950s when chrome-plated cars would cruise down the street at night, as an affirmation of community and belonging.
And it shows up in the awe-inspiring beauty of a Pacific Ocean sunset.
But mostly it shows up when all of these little "spells" conspire together to get whole families, families who spend 8 hours a day staring at their cells phones, to walk together, laugh together, and build the architecture of shared memories that keep families together through all the ugly, difficult parts of life.
There is magic in the world, and it's not all confined to Disney properties on the opposite coasts of the country. It's in the precious moments that are the elusive payoffs of work and planning that come from just thinking of what would make the members of a family happy, however briefly.
You want magic? Read books, watch movies, engage the imagination ... and then go there with your children. Try to live in that world for just a little, and see what happens. You might remember that sense of wonder that seems to be missing from the world.
And, by the way, the movie I was referring to earlier was "Field of Dreams," which, like all great baseball movies, isn't really about baseball.
Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His novels are available at MichaelJAlcorn.com
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