Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sister Mary and her Tonic.

Sister Mary is a happy nun in the order of the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope. By day she is content with devotion and prayers. But late at night, she sneaks down the Abby stairs.

There in a dark and dank corner of the basement is a musty cement gray room with a tall ceiling. There is a small wooden chair and cabinet in the corner of the room. Inside the cabinet is Sister Mary’s nerve tonic. She sits in a straight back wooden chair, unscrews the lid and enjoys a sip to bring closure to the day. There is a peace and warmth that comes over her. She closes her eyes and lets her imagination take her places she may never see. In the basement’s quiet other voices are heard. Voices to soft to be understood in the light of day. She recognizes them. They are the voices of friends and family. She hears them. She sees them. Another sip of the tonic brings them into sharper focus. And there, in the light of a single bulb, she talks to them of her new life and her devotion. She shares her struggles and confesses her weaknesses and waits for absolution. She can’t stay long. A couple sips is all she needs to restore her to a state of equilibrium.

And when she is finished the bulb is extinguished and the doorway to her world of color and sound is locked. The key is safely tucked away in her long dark robe. She walks toward the stairway. The hallway echoes the clicking of her solid black shoes on the stone floor. She climbs the steps back into solitude with a heart bursting with the wonders of God and the miracle of man, whom God made in his image. Religion is everywhere for Sister Mary. She sees God in all his creations.

She passes the Chapel and stops to bow toward the alter. She continues to her bedroom. Prayers will send her to sleep and then the sun will rise again and fill the world with warmth and color.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Marla's Curb Side Library Service

Marla Frapoui of 32A Terrace Flats, Cloverdale was honored today at the Cloverdale Village Library for checking out her 5,000th book. This puts her in second place behind the Widow Wilson for the the most books checked out in the Library’s history by a single person. This picture was taken as Marla exited the library with a stack of newly checked out books and her award certificate.
“Ummmm, well I ........... not sure what......,” We think Marla said when asked for her reaction to the news. We can’t be sure because Marla speaks slightly above a whisper. It was also noted that her pale, lifeless color is not from anemia but from a lack of sunshine.

“Marla. Our Marla? Oh...... she don’t get out much don’t ya know.” said her grandmother and guardian. “She’s buried in them books isn’t she?. Morning, noon and night her nose is sniffin those pages. Barely has time to tend to an old dying woman. Surprised she isn’t blind.”

Marla can read two books a day if she puts her mind to it. She prefers historical fiction but has been known to read romance, science fiction and fantasy. If she can’t find what she’s looking for in Cloverdale’s library she will ask the librarian to special order the book from the government library in Capital City.

Marla gives back to the community with her Curb Side Library Service. One year ago Marla convinced the librarian to give her fist choice of the books too damaged to remain on the library’s shelves. instead of selling them on the metal cart next to the library’s front doors, the library gives Marla fist pick of the soiled and damaged books for her mobile library. In the late afternoon on Monday’s Wednesdays and Fridays Marla stacks a wide variety of books in a shopping cart donated by the Red Owl Grocery Store and walks through the neighborhood offering her books for check out. There is no charge for the service - which qualifies Marla for a government community activism grant.

She doesn’t stay out late on account of the sun but is willing to stop at the bus shelter on Maple and Thornberry Roads for an extended period of time if there are enough people waiting. Its a covered shelter with seats so she can sit in the shade while the villagers pick through the selection in her basket. Just before dark she returns to her flat and her grandmother. The shopping cart is locked in a shed for safekeeping.

Marla was asked how winning the award might change her life. She muttered something in her church mouse voice. No one actually heard what she said due to a passing car. Then off she went with a stack of books in her arms wearing a pick sweater with matching skirt and socks.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

McDonalds Vs. Wimpy. Cloverdale's Burger Wars

Cloverdale's Current, Outdated McDonalds on the Coastal Highway.

There’s a storm threatening tonight’s Cloverdale Village Council Meeting scheduled at 7:00 P.M. in the Comprehensive School’s theater. McDonalds is petitioning the village to approve a zoning change on High Street so a new McDonalds can be built to replace Cloverdale’s old McDonalds built in 1964 on the Coastal Highway.

Cloverdale zoning ordinance #3245 clearly states that a new business licenses may not be granted to a business if a competing business exists within a one mile radius. According to the village constable the proposed new McDonalds will be one half mile from the High Street’s Wimpy Hamburger Bar. Wimpy and McDonalds are competitors and therefore McDonalds may not build on the proposed site according to the ordinance.

McDonalds is challenging the ordinance, stating that the ordinance says “new” businesses.
“McDonald’s has been a part of this community since 1964. Even the folks at Wimpy can do the math. We are not new to this community” said Ronald Rolfs, district manager.

McDonalds is throwing their money and resources at this,” replied Wanda Rich, Shire Supervisor of Wimpy Burgers. “They’ve got the resources to hire the best lawyers from Capital City to argue their case. Well, let them have their double breasted suits. We have Right on our side and the love of our loyal customers.”

Reports of bribery on McDonald’s part are surfacing. Several of Cloverdale’s council members were seen eating at McDonalds recently. This fact is not surprising. Many people are addicted to the Big Macs, fries and chocolate shakes McDonalds offers. The scandal concerns what the local government officials used for payment. Several people standing in line with them at the cash register report seeing them pay for their Value Meals with McDonald’s gift certificates!

There has been an increase of Ronald McDonald sightings in the village, and the double yellow arches are appearing on the posters and brochures of local charities as they move into fund raising season.

Not to be out maneuvered, Wimpy Burgers hired a powerful Capital City public relations firm to create an anti McDonalds campaign. Their posters, billboards and television ads are hitting the streets and airways in a blitz hoping to sway public opinion their way.

The final decision, McDonalds vs. Wimpy, will be made tonight. Both sides say it will be too close to call. Stay tuned for developments.

Wimpy Ad taken from local newspapers.

"McDonald's...... Dangerous.......Seductive........Cult............" Another ad from Wimpy Burgers

Part of a Television Campaign on Cloverdale Weekend Television sponsored by Wimpy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tina Waits for Cloverdale's Second iPod.

Tina Terry lives on Marlow Country Road outside of Cloverdale. She’s expecting a package from Apple Computers. She ordered her first ipod and is beside herself in anticipation. Dolores Dunby, Cloverdale’s Post Mistress, called and told her the package arrived and was on its way. Dolores Dunby will happily call you when your special packages arrive if you fill out Post Office Request Card 43-332 at least three days before the package’s expected arrival date. Dolores is a bit of a snoop and may call to inquire about the package's contents. She is quick to add that she needs to know for "official reasons in her capacity as Post Mistress".

"Its an iPod," Tina revealed when Dolores called to ask about her package.
“What’s an iPod?” Dolores Dunby queried.
“Its a tiny computer that you can hold in your hand that plays nearly two thousand songs.” Tina answered in such an excited voice she had to stop mid sentence to catch her breath.
“Oh really,” Dolores replied, not really understanding what Tina was on about.
“I’ll be the second person in Cloverdale to own one. They’re all the rage in America.” Tina added.
“Oh really,” Dolores again replied, except this time her interest was pricked. She had something she could pass on. You see - Dolores is the source of much of the gossip that circulates in the Lady’s Clubs of Cloverdale. This was definitely something her clients would take an interest in when they meet for coffee next week.

Dolores's called at 2:04 P.M. Tina was home watching old reruns of Gilligan’s Island on Cloverdale Weekend Television. Dolores said the Postal Van was on its way and should deliver the parcel at 2:32 P.M. Tina couldn’t wait. She looked out the window and saw a storm developing over the mountains. She ran to the hall closet, found her raincoat, opened the front door and bolted out into the wind. The walk down Terry’s long dirt drive to the highway usually takes four minutes. Tina ran it in one.

Now Tina waits. The storm billows around her. The wind grows stronger and Tina wishes she’d remembered to wear shoes. A sane person would run home to get out of the weather and wait by the front window. Tina is temporarily insane. Becoming an new iPod owner makes one do insane things. She saved her money for nearly one year to buy this iPod and its almost in her hand. She plans on waiting right where she is - alongside the highway.

She looks toward the village. She thinks she sees a bright yellow Post Office Van. Her excitement turns to disappointment as the van gets closer. The Williams are returning from the village in their orange PVan. In the dust and wind it nearly looked yellow from a distance.

The Willowby’s drive by and stop, wondering if she’s all right. She takes ten minutes of their time to explain an iPod. She only stops talking when Mr. Willowby takes his foot off the brake. The car slowly moves forward. He taps on the gas and in two seconds they are out of ear shot. Neither of them understood a thing she was talking about anyway.

Today is a special day in Cloverdale. The village’s second iPod is about to be delivered. Another sign that Cloverdale is keeping pace with the ever advancing world.

Later tonight half the student body of Cloverdale’s Comprehensive School will be at Tina’s home. Each student will patiently take their turn listening to the music they all love through tiny white ear buds. The last time anything electronic brought this kind of excitement to the village was when the Darling’s of Cherry Creek Road purchased Cloverdale’ s first color TV back in 1967. Now that was another day to remember!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mrs. Maple Hawthorn and her Candle Light Suppers.

This is one of the few recent photographs of Mrs. Maple Hawthorn of Millstone Manor. Millstone Manor sits on a fifty acre estate several miles outside of Cloverdale on Highway 1. Mrs. Maple rarely leaves the Manor since her husband died thirteen years ago. She prefers the company of her four dogs, two cats and several servants who tend the house and its gardens.

Mrs. Maple takes long walks in the gardens at half pass three in the afternoon. Her umbrella is kept in hand for rain, sun and the occasional photographer. The afternoon walks end in the Manor’s library for the reading of the day's mail. Every letter is read. Most are answered either by herself or her secretary. A checkbook is kept to one side of the desk to answer urgent appeals from her preferred charities. Mrs. Maple is one of Cloverdale’s most giving philanthropists.

Mrs. Maple has dinner at 6:00 P.M. promptly. She enters the dinning room dressed properly for a lady of position. She normally dines with her pets. On special occasions she will invite people of interest from the village to attend special candle light suppers. The servants enjoy the candle light suppers. They break the monotony of their daily routine.
"It's always nice to see new faces in the Manor, especially children's. They really brighten up the place." said the Manor's butler.

Invitations to a Millstone Manor Candle Light Supper arrive by government post on Millstone stationary stamped with the family's crest. The recipient finds a handwritten invitation for two. The invitation includes the date and time of the super. A second paragraph gives the reason Mrs. Maple finds you a person of interest. The paragraph ends with a list of the topics to be discussed during supper. A second column lists additional discussion topics should you be invited to take coffee in the Manor’s library following the meal.

Mrs. Tonya Twirl and her husband Ben were the last village residents to receive a Candlelight Supper summons three months ago when their parrot won the Annual Cloverdale Village Pet Show. Their topic list included.
  1. The Weather
  2. Parrots in general.
  3. The keeping of parrots.
  4. Their health (Mrs. Maple’s health must never be discussed).
  5. Their children
The invitation set the Twirl’s arrival time thirty minutes early so the servants could tutor them on proper table etiquette. The various forks, spoons, knifes and goblets were explained. Supper guests may ask questions if necessary. At 5:50 P.M. the servants quizzed the Twirls to be sure the information was retained.

At exactly 8:00 P.M. all dinner guests are escorted outside through the Manor’s large oak doors A carriage, drawn by the estates finest horses, awaits to take them to the iron front gates where their cars wait.

Needless to say, an invitation to a Millstone Manor Candlelight Supper is highly sought after and rarely bestowed. There is no rhyme or reason to who receives invitations. For example, in April Mrs. Maple entertained the winner of Confederacy Elementary School’s spelling bee and her mother. One week later the Lord Mayor and his wife received an invitation for approving a small grant to the community theater.