Saturday, November 5, 2016

Penny Plum, Princess of Apricot Lane.

Penny Plum Descends

     Penny Plum, Princess of Apricot Lane, arrived at the beach.  She surveyed the landscape and thought how lucky the other holidaymakers were to have her in attendance that afternoon. After all, her talent and reputation always preceded her.  It is well known on Apricot Lane that Penny was the class president of Cloverdale Elementary's somewhat advanced first grade pull out program. Her art work using crayons on white with highlights in marker decorate the walls in the first grade wing. Of course other lesser known works hung beside hers; Penny attributed that to the teacher's responsibility to promote the less talented as some academic study to promote self esteem. Showing unselfishness while at the same time mastering self promotion was Penny's mantra. The balancing of truth with well meaning lies were necessary if one was to live amongst mortals.
     The sea loomed gray before her, framed by a ribbon of sand as far as the eye could see. She held her bucket and spade while daintily taking hold of the chain banister with her plump diminutive hand. Smiling contentedly, she descended toward the sand below. First one foot, then the other, as she slowly navigated toward the beach.
     "Artists paint, sculptors make statues, and musicians write music," Penny explained to her teacher one day. She listed them one by one on her pudgy yet graceful fingers. Pausing as she wondered how to explain her talent before continuing.  "I make art with sand mixed with just the right amount of water," she said, pleased with herself. While she spoke she adjusted her pink little dress. Appearance was important to Penny; believing there was a place for everything and that everything had to be in its place.
     She wasn't alone. The beach had its usual number of weekend vacationers, although not as many as Penny had hoped, but it was an audience nevertheless. From the top of the stairs she noticed a handful of amateurs at work molding sand castles. Penny ignored the talentless, whose work wasn’t worthy of a snapshot in any family album. Her creations, on the other hand, were legend in the shire. A Penny Plum sand creation normally drew scores of admirers from her fellow beach goers. Pictures of her work lined the walls of her home. It was the attention and adoration Penny needed. After all, she was the Princess of Apricot Lane.
     Penny Plum was the only girl in a family of seven children. And being the youngest, she had a special position in the family hierarchy. The six brothers considered her a master at using her privileged position in the family against them. They lost count of the many times they were disciplined for offenses they didn’t commit based solely on Penny's testimony. On the rare occasion when Mother Plum doubted Penny's word, an oceans of tears punctuated with thunderous wailings quickly change her mind. 
     The day started with Penny waking her parents from a deep sleep, insisting on a day trip to the beach. The Plums were obliged to obey the royal command. At half past eleven the Plum's squeezed into their Rambler Station Wagon. The very back was reserved for Penny, leaving the brothers to crowd themselves three deep in the middle. Penny required room to lay out her artist's tools - a bucket, spade, unicorn, tablet, crayons, and her favorite dolls. During the hour long drive down the Coastal Highway, Penny sketched her masterpiece for the day. Once the castle was designed, she began writing her story. “Once Upon a Time,” is how each tale began. Speaking to Penny during the drive was expressly forbidden. It was her creative time, her 'moment' as she put it. Any breach of her quiet time resulted in a look of extreme prejudice. "You're annoying me," she'd mumble. That was your first and final warning before the atmosphere in the car would darken with a storm of tears and a tempest of emotion.
     The beach lay before her. The moment had arrived. Penny blew her plastic pink whistle to alert the weekend daytrippers of her arrival. The beach regulars were all too familiar with the Princess of Apricot Circle. She had her favorite spot and required it vacated.  The trespassing family mumbled as they gathered their belongings and half heartedly drudged through the sand to a less desirable area of the beach. One of her fellow beach goers, a fan of her sand art, approached with an instamatic camera.  Penny paused on the steps, turned toward the photographer and let the wind have its way with her naturally curly hair.  He thanked her for her patience. Penny nodded then dismissed her admirer with a royal wave The family followed behind carrying the tablet and dolls. She preferred to be alone as she navigated the steps. 

A Penny Plum Creation.
Penny wants you to know that you'll be sorry if you copy this. Seymor Simister,
her first grade friend and future ambulance chaser will, "Sue your pants off!"

     In a few hours Penny transformed this small section of long beautiful beach into a fairy tale setting. Her sand castle eclipsed all others with towers, turrets and moat. Once every grain of sand was in its place, Penny blew her pink whistle. In a moment the performance would begin. Crayon signs directed the audience where to sit. When all was quiet she began.  “Once Upon a time,” she sang into the wind. “A princess was locked in a castle far away...”
     The drama was revealed word by word, each scene acted out with her dolls in hand. Today's story had a prince searching for his true love on a dashing unicorn with a rainbow mane. The princess's evil brothers sought after her inheritance but she would not yield. Sitting locked away in the castle's highest tower, the princess talked to the birds while she waited for her Prince.
     Ten minutes later she pronounced "The End". The audience was invited to inspect her creation after the applause disappeared into the late afternoon wind.  Princess Penny was truly in her element.
       Friends of Cloverdale. We present Princess Penny Plum of Apricot Circle.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cloverdale's Mennonite School for Incorrigibles. Discipline, Prayer, and the Iron Rod.

Three boys from the Mennonite School for Incorrigibles, ten miles outside of Cloverdale 

    The Mennonite School for Incorrigibles, ten miles outside of Cloverdale is a special school for boys that seem to have lost their senses.
     “These gentile boys with their automobile driving parents and godless schools have turned toward the world and taken on the habits of cursing, ill temperament, disrespect for their elders, and loose fingers. Our school is known for working the devil out and praying God in,” said Elder Samuel, headmaster of the school. "Not to mention a strong use of the iron rod."  
     The boys, while not being of the Mennonite persuasion themselves, were sent to the school for various reasons known only to their parents, their local schools, and the county court. The school's success rate is well known. The boys are strongly motivated to correct their ways so they can return to their modern ways, not to mention not having to wear the school's uniform and hat.  

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Albert Spinner Prepares for Halloween

     Young Albert Spinner is the son of Cloverdale's Jewish Cantor, Moses Spinner.  The Spinners live on Clover Lane.
     Albert loves Halloween.
     "Halloween's almost here," Albert said to village Constable Willard after school last Monday.  Albert was hiding under a row of shrubs owned by 82 year old Selma Thorn.  Selma thought she heard something outside her front window during her afternoon nap.  She struggled to her feet, paused to let the dizziness pass, then waddled to the window for a good examination.  A moment later she was on the phone to the village Constabulary.
     "Something ungodly is thrashing about in my front shrubs,"  Selma was easily excited, and knowing of her heart condition, the constable thought it best to make a visit sooner rather than later.

Selma Thorn suffers from a heart condition.
The Constabulary is on her speed dial

     Ten minutes later Constable Willard arrived by bicycle.  Selma intercepted him on her front porch.  "Whatever it is, it's over there." She pointed toward the street where a row of waist high shrubs marked the boundary between her front lawn and the sidewalk.  Something black with bits of silver could be seen crouched under several branches of yellow, red and orange. The Constable suggested she go in and make herself a cup of tea to calm her nerves while he dealt with the matter.  He stepped down from the porch, paused for a quick think, then walked toward a pair of frightened eyes peering out at him from under the shrub.  
     "Albert, come on out from under there."  The constable recognized Albert from the costume he was wearing.  He'd seen it on a previous call the night before.  Albert was out well past his bedtime, wandering about his next door neighbor's back garden - flashing his scissor hands.  The neighbor mistook them for knives and called the police.
     Albert struggled to crawl out from under the shrub, a task made more difficult because of the scissors tied to his fingers.
     "What did I tell you yesterday?" Constable Willard was wearing his exaggerated unhappy face, used for the village's youthful offenders.
     "Not to wear my costume outside until Halloween," Albert mumbled.
     "Why did I tell you that?"
     "Because it scares people."
     "That's right, because it scares people."  The Constable was prepared to go into a lengthy explanation but was interrupted by Albert.
     "But its suppose to scare people. It's Halloween!"  Albert thought his logic was sound.
     "It's not Halloween yet." Constable Willard took Albert by his left scissorhand.  Together they walked toward the sidewalk and the Constable's bicycle.  "Let's get you home before you frightened another old lady."
     "I was only being nice," Albert explained.  "She needed those shrubs cut and I wasn't going to charge her a nickel to do it."  The Constable ignored him.  
     Summoned by Selma and her speed dial, the neighbors were out on their front lawns and porches watching Constable Willard take Albert away. It made for a nice distraction on what would normally be a boring October afternoon.
     Albert was happy for the attention. It gave him a chance to show off his costume. Constable Willard was ready for his shift to end.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Johnny Crump's New Therapy.

Johnny Crump struggles with simple things like appropriate language. His teachers have tried numerous behavioral therapies suggested by the school's psychologist and lunchroom manager, Nancy Plum. None of which have worked, leaving the school's staff with two choices, suspension or a transfer to Cloverdale's School for the Behaviorally Handicapped. Faced with those options, Mrs. Crump suggested another solution, while unorthodox,  it has has proven successful.  Johnny seems happier along with his fellow students because they don't have to spend large parts of the school day with their ears covered.  Ms. Plum is writing a paper for the shire's education digest advocating the procedure for the most difficult to treat students.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rose Puffdale and Community Decency


     Rose Puffdale is normally a woman who exemplifies modesty in all aspects of her life. She is a strong advocate for the return of the full length swimsuit for women and a supporter for strict uniform standards in Cloverdale's schools.
'Skin' is a four letter word in Rose's lexicon and the showing of skin is symptomatic of someone raised on a diet rich in red meat.  Rose considers herself the Pure in Puritan.    
     A picture of Rose Puffdale participating in Cloverdale's annual Winter Charity Olympics was published in the Cloverdale Times last January.  The humiliation of being photographed with her skirt flapping in the wind, regardless of the multiply layers of winter wear she had on under said skirt, left Rose with no other course of action than to sue the town newspaper for publishing indecent images.  The newspaper defended the publishing of the photo in question by stating the only thing indecent about the questionable photograph was the expression on Miss Puffdale's face.
     The final hearing on the matter will be heard by Cloverdale's Justice of the Peace next Tuesday with a ruling expected before then next Winter Charity Olympics.  Rose is hopeful of a victory; If not she has made plans to move to the quiet hamlet of Dibley on the Dale where few get the newspaper and even fewer know how to read.