Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Christmastime Lunch Special at the Kicking Donkey Pub

Dear Friends,
It’s Christmas time in the village. Lights are going up, carols are being sung, and Christmas trees are being cut down in the surrounding forest. Cloverdale is transforming into a Winter Wonderland. There is no other place like it anywhere, and I urge all to come visit what many consider to be a village straight from a Thomas Kincade painting. More importantly, I’d like to encourage everyone to shop in Cloverdale. The merchants of Cloverdale are friendly and deserving of your trade. You’ll not hear one “Happy Holidays” from anyone in our shops. It’s a “Happy Christmas!” to all. Political Correctness is kept at bay in the Confederacy.

Every business in Cloverdale is offering special bargains for the shopper. Why take the Coastal Express to Capital City to do your shopping at those big chain stores when our shops have everything you need and want?

For the next several weeks I’ll be highlighting some of the special offers in our shops. I’ll also send you news of special Christmas happenings, concerts and sing a longs. I’d like to start by drawing your attention to the Christmas Lunch Special at the Kicking Donkey Pub, a stone’s throw from the train station.

I stopped there for lunch today. The pub was busy, full of christmas shoppers enjoying a pint of Cloverdale Scrumpy. Apparently ole Doc Martin, a lunch time regular, was recommending the Scrumpy to everyone that entered the pub and passed his table. Many of them spoke highly of the Scrumpy's calming influence.

“A pint of Scrumpy is just what the doctor ordered to help me recover from Black Friday’s Christmas shopping,” I heard Mrs. Flora Maplewood tell the bartender as he poured her a second pint. “I barely came out of Salvation Thrifty with my scalp. There were hands everywhere, and I mean everywhere,” she said while throwing a wink to those gathered within earshot. I didn’t know who to feel sorriest for, Mrs. Flora, or the poor sod that found her rather large frame at the end of his long reach!

Enough said about the Scrumpy. I ordered a nice fizzy lemonade. No alcohol for me - considering my Mormonism won’t allow it. Once seated at the small table near the pay phone I called the waitress and ordered the Christmastime lunch special. Several minutes later it arrived steaming hot. I was please with the presentation. The assortment of food was generous - along with the servings. This was more of an evening meal than a lunch.

I hesitated to dig in fearing the taste would be disappointing after getting excited by the presentation. I took my first bite and was pleased. It was all delicious. In fact, I made such a fuss about the lunch with all my oooooing and ahhhhhing and lip smacking that several tables around me changed their lunch order for the Special.

So, not to labor the point and to bring this letter to a conclusion, I recommend the Kicking Donkey Pub’s Christmastime Lunch Special to everyone. Be sure to tell them your ordering it on my recommendation. If they hear my name enough I’ll get a free lunch, so help me out. Many thanks.

All the Best,

Cloverdale Weekend Televison. A Month of Christmas Music. The Carpenters!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Milo's Best Thanksgiving Ever and The Mystery of Great Grandma and the Turkey Leg.

The Marstows of 243 Millbrook Way gathered for Thanksgiving Dinner. Everyone was present, including great grandma Willemina. She was on a special day release from the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Insane. Grandpa Marstow filled out the paperwork a week ago. That gave the doctor on duty enough time to certify her for travel. Part of the paperwork was a detailed list of all foods she would be exposed to. The Home tracks the menu of its residents to ensure the food they receive outside the home won’t be excessively spicy or ‘tasty’. There have been problems in the past when residents go on family outings, eat at restaurants or at the home of friends and family, get exposed to good cooking and return upset when fed the Home’s standard fair of well balanced but bland food prepared for those with limited chewing capacity, ulcers, acid reflux, digestive dilemmas, and constipation.

Grandpa checked the box stating the food great grandma would be eating wouldn’t upset her carefully control diet. it wasn’t a lie. Grandma Marstow was doing the cooking and grandma never met a can or frozen meal she didn’t like. Grandma’s Thanksgiving meal would consist of canned cranberries, carrots, peas and sauerkraut. Instant mashed potatoes would be covered in canned gravy. The canned yams would be placed in a tupperware bowl, sprinkled with brown sugar, topped by generous amounts of molasses and topped with handfuls of miniature marshmallows. The bowl would be nuked in the microwave until the marshmallows melted and served hot. Grandpa included grandma’s green bean salad on the disclosure document. The dietitian asked grandpa for the recipe, he delivered it by heart - canned green beans smothered in cream of mushroom soup and topped with pepper jack cheese and nuked until the cheese melted.

The Thanksgiving turkey was supplied by grandma’s best friend and next door neighbor. Grandpa paid her to prepare the turkey and stuffing. The family was always very grateful for that. For dessert grandma had an assortment of bakery pies from the Piggly Wiggly. The family's favorite is of course a Sweet Potato Pie topped with Cool Whip.

The Home's dietitian read over the menu, made a few spelling corrections, crossed out the use of molasses on grandma’s candied yams and stamped it approved. Great Grandma was given a furlough for one day. That entitled her to an extra bath, a visit from the hair dresser and make up artist (called in to help with her pale complexion due to lack of sunshine and exercise). The Home had a hot line to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. They could be called at a moment’s notice to produce a clean previously worn dress for those lucky enough to venture outside the gated compound. The old dears had to look their best when out in public. The Home’s reputation depended on it.

Great Grandma was brought to the Marstow’s on the Home’s special van with hydraulic lift. She had a paper pinned to her dress with her name, age, and address printed on it. Great Grandma was lowered by the lift at the end of the sidewalk. Grandpa signed for her and the van was off on its next delivery. Great Grandma seemed a bit confused. The sunlight was something she wasn’t use to. She fumbled for her gigantic sunglasses that covered the entire upper half of her face when worn. She calmed down once she was back in her usual darkness. The Home allows each resident one sixty watt bulb in their room. Electricity is cut off promptly at 9:00 P.M. The Home explains that this cost cutting measure is their way to help control green house gases and save the environment.

Great Grandma was wheeled up the sidewalk and into the house. The wheelchair barely made it through the doorway. Grandpa parked her in front of the TV. The flickering pictures would keep her entertained and out of the family’s way until it was time to eat. The younger children were fascinated by this wrinkled hobbit that smelled like a mixture of Rose perfume and Milk of Magnesia. They laughed every time great grandma reached out to touch the moving pictures playing out before her on Grandpa’s 45 inch color TV.

Milo Marstow ignored his great grandma. He was more concerned about the turkey. In all Milo’s short 11 years he never once was quick enough to get a turkey leg on Thanksgiving. This year he planned on ending this long dry spell. He stood by the table, watching the turkey. The smell was almost more than he could endure. Grandpa and Uncle Mike stood on the opposite side of the table. Each wanted a leg. Two legs and three Marstows. Someone was going to go without.

Grandma blew her whistle calling everyone into the dining room for Grace. Milo’s dad wheeled great grandma in, parking her over several newspapers grandma laid out on the hardwood floor in advance. Great grandma had a bit of a problem with utensil navigation. When no one was looking, Milo slipped out of the dinning room, walked into the kitchen, and removed two water pistols he placed in the refrigerator several hours earlier. They were hidden in the fresh produce bin - a place where grandma would never notice. He put the pistols in his pant pockets and returned to the table.

Grandpa and Uncle Mike stood on opposite ends of the bird. Each had their hands to the ready. Milo stood at the head of the table. Everyone stood for the prayer. Grandpa insisted on saying grace at Thanksgiving. Milo knew the reason. Grandpa was always ready with hand already in motion when he said the Amen.

“Grandma,” Milo said. “My dad never says the prayer. I’d love to hear my dad pray. Wouldn’t you?”
Grandma thought for a moment. “Wonderful idea Milo. Frank, you pray this year.” Milo looked at Grandpa. Grandpa had a look of shock on his face. He’d lost the advantage of knowing when the Amen would be spoken.
Milo’s dad started to pray. Milo knew it would be short and sweet. He readied both water pistols.

Milo’s dad said “Amen”. In the time it takes a hummingbird to flap its wings once, Milo, the quickest draw in Cloverdale, had both pistols out - discharging ice cold water into the faces of Grandpa and Uncle Mike. Both men covered their faces and backed away from the table. Milo dropped the pistols, used both hands, reached for one of the turkey legs and pulled it from the serving platter and straight into his mouth. He was victorious!!! He jumped up and down all around the dining room showing off his trophy. Grandpa and Uncle Mike cried foul. Everyone was laughing so hard they didn’t hear.

“Who got the other leg?” Milo asked. He noticed that neither Grandpa or Uncle Mike had the other turkey leg. Everyone looked at each other. No one had the leg. Where was it?

Milo heard a slurping sound coming from the general direction of great grandma. He turned to look. There sat great grandma in her wheelchair over several sections of the Cloverdale newspaper gnawing away at the other turkey leg. Everyone looked at each other in disbelief. How did she get her hands on that leg?

The mystery was never solved and may never be. Great grandma would’t talk about it. She only smiled and patted you on the head saying "Lovely child...... Who are you?"

Regardless, Milo got the turkey leg. He was now a contender. He'd earned the respect of his family. It was Milo’s best Thanksgiving Ever!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Family's Thanksgiving in Cloverdale.

Grandma enjoying the Family Feast wearing her protective coverings

Hello Friends,
Greeting from our family's gathering in the Cloverdale's beautiful village centre. The clan has gathered from all parts of the world to join us in Cloverdale for the annual family feast, consisting of tables laden with delicacies from the world over, drink of all kinds, merriment which soon leads to something said that shouldn't of been said, then out slips a family point of contention that was never suppose to be mentioned at family gathers, then vigorous debate complete with finger pointed and name calling, afterwords the shouting starts followed by cussing, and then, after all that - the food fight begins - usually with the children then blossoming into a complete room redecoration with mashed potatoes dripping from the light fixtures and pumpkin pie smeared over the windows. The room empties quickly after that with everyone vowing never to attend another family function as long as they live. One year passes and all are ready to return to give it another go. Now that's true family love.

I'm wishing all of you in the Other World a very carnivorous Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving should be a happy holiday because we are meat eaters and hold the place of Supremo Honchorus on Nature's food chain. This is our holiday to slaughter the fatten hen, turkey and pig, roast them up, and dig in with all the fury of a vampire sucking away at the neck of some helpless maiden.

Our Williamson's Thanksgiving in Cloverdale.

We all gathered at The Hairy Lemon Pub for our annual feast. The family is too large for any one home and my flat in Cloverdale is all the property the Williamson's own in The Confederacy. I made arrangements to use the Lemon's party room months ago. The owner was more than happy to let us use the room as long as I introduced him to my beautiful nieces (the DelGrosso Sisters of Dancing With the Stars Fame).

I got there early to set things up. The publican left a key to the party room under the mat. It was a beautiful room with oak paneling, a large fireplace big enough to stand in, a bar and several tables and booths. The windows were frosted to prevent those passing along the High Street to peer in and disrupt the privacy of the event.

Party prep for a Williamson party is easy. You need a large, and I mean large, roll of plastic (I usually buy one from the local dry cleaners) and several rolls of masking tape. I begin by covering the windows in plastic. I move on to covering the art work and anything else thrown food could permanently stain. The last thing I cover are the light fixtures. I debated covering the oak paneling but decided against it. I would stand ready with several rags if things got out of hand.

Family started arriving on the morning train from Fernwood on the Moor. Many walked the four blocks to the Lemon. There were others that found walking that far beyond their ability. I arranged transportation with a few members of the local Mormon branch that owned cars.

"Whatcha do for fun around here?" one nephew asked while walking down Station Street.
"We enjoy each other's company," I replied.
"No, I asked whatcha do for fun around here?" he repeated. I could tell our sleepy village on the border between Somewhere and NoWhere wasn't going to cater to a 12 year old's definition of entertainment.
"Nothing. We do nothing you would classify as fun around here," I said as I noticed our large family parade was drawing the villager's attention. Many were watching us from the windows of their flats above the shops. It was still early enough that many hadn't cleaned themselves up. "This village is home to the world's most wanted sadomasochists," I said in a quieter voice while pointing up to the faces in the windows. "I'd be careful if I were you - a nice noticeably overfed boy like yourself. Don't be caught outside alone. Lip smacking is how you would be described - roasted or baked - lip smacking either way." I emphasised 'lip smacking' my rolling my tongue up, over, and around my lips and smacking them together as if I'd just enjoyed a truly tasty morsel.

My nephew tossed a pre teen laugh of disbelief to ward off any accusation that he believed me and then promptly slowed his pace until he walked side by side with his mother.

Finally, once gathered we all sat down to eat. All I can say to describe a Williamson Thanksgiving is this. Have any of you seen the Simpson's eat a meal? If so you know they sit around a table without talking. They are totally focused on their food. The only sounds are the guttural expressions of chewing, gulping, gnashing of teeth, swallowing, slurping, and the screeching of forks scraping the surface of empty plates. Now, take that mental picture and double --- no triple it and you have an idea of Thanksgiving with the Williamsons.

Thanksgiving is how Williamson children are initiated into the adult world. All the food is placed on the Adult's table. The children sit on the newspaper covered floor. They wear swimming suits so they can be hosed off after the meal. The oldest male in the room gives the blessing with his eyes open, surveying the food as his booming voice gives thanks to the Lord for the bounty before him. As his voice begs God's blessings his mind is preparing the game plan. No football coach is better than a Williamson male at perfecting and executing plays. The only difference is the football coach's art is on the field and ours is the dinner table.

We all wait for the Amen with our tools of the table ready for battle. Once sounded the battle begins. No Roman battlefield ever sounded like that. After 2 minutes the haze of partly chewed food and spittle hangs over the table like a fog. The newly initiated are reaching for the Band-Aids to stop the blood from oozing onto the food from nasty fork wounds caused by the blinding light of swirling utensils at the table.

Children not dressed correctly pay the price

As for the children - well, as I said. They earn a place at the table and in the circle of Williamson adulthood by proving they can take enough food from the table to feed themselves. I remember my introduction to the table. I was 12 years old. The Thanksgiving meal had just begun. I stood there in my swimsuit with my brothers, sisters, and cousins. They attacked while I stood trying to remember from years of experience and mistakes. I ducked just in time as my 4 year old sister was head butted across the room by my football playing uncle. That is when I saw my chance.

Grandma wasn't feeling well that day and wasn't in true form. Usually we steered clear of Grandma. Everyone knew nature had blessed her with with a defense mechanism far better than horns, muscle, or wits. Grandma had GAS! All during the meal, as children approached to steal her mashed potatoes or turkey, Grandma would
- on call - rock up onto one buttock and release enough of the substance to warm two houses for a normal Alaskan winter. Deadly.......... Anyway I saw that Grandma's intestines were not up to normal output and moved in her direction. Her eyes were darting around the table. One hand was shoveling in the food while the other, armed with two forks, was stabbing in all directions keeping the foolish at bay. I moved closer, ever closer. She saw me out of the corner of her cat eyed glasses with the pearl trim with ruby inserts. She started to rock upwards. A silent but deadly emission leaked from her pipeworks and into the atmosphere. This greening of the air forced most of us outside to fill our lungs with unadulterated oxygen. Then it was back inside for more of the same.

We continued to eat and laugh (and made a few more trips outside until Grandma had her fill) for the next several hours. To everyone's surprise the traditional family grudge match didn't materialize. Everyone kept their mouths leashed and their tongue's tied. The day ended on a bright but messy high point.

Everyone cleaned up at my flat, ate a few leftovers and either settled down for the night - sleeping where ever they could find a spot or headed for home on the late night train. I walked them to the station. I noticed my nephew was walking far behind the pack. He was tired and full to bursting. I took out my cell phone and called a good friend who lived in a downstairs flat near the station. His dining room was easily within view from the sidewalk.

Five minutes later we heard an ear piercing scream. My nephew dashed by me and right into his mother's open arms. Sure enough my plan worked. He described in detail seeing a family sitting around their kitchen table feeding off a dog. The dog was covered in blood (tomato sauce) and still moving. They even waved at him as he passed. My sister didn't find the joke amusing. She swore never to attend another gathering in Cloverdale as long as she lived.

"Yes, we end on a note of contention. It can truly be called a Williamson gathering now!" I shouted.

I'm hoping all of you kind readers enjoyed your Thanksgiving Feast like my family. And for those of you who live in a country without a Thanksgiving - well all I can say is "I'm sorry. You don't know what you're missing!"

Cloverdale Weekend Televison. Händel - Lascia Ch'io Pianga - Meninas Cantoras de Petrópolis

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lily's Last Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving time in Cloverdale. The village’s three supermarkets were crowded all day with shoppers picking up their last minute items for tomorrow’s feast. The train station was ready for holiday travellers. Every train in and out of Cloverdale was full, with standing room only. Families nation wide are gathering to celebrate and give thanks for the Lord’s goodness and mercy.

Mrs. Lily Lamberth is thankful for her life today. Earlier this morning her son, daughter in law and grand children brought her home from the hospital. Her cancer is spreading. Modern medicine can only slow its progress. Her treatments leave her weak and prone to sickness and infection. Two weeks ago she caught pneumonia. It was a battle she nearly lost. Over the days she grew weaker. Her breathing could barely fill her affected lungs. One week ago a priest was summoned. Lily clutched his hand as he prayed. It seemed her 73 years were drawing to a close.

The following few days witnessed a dramatic reversal in her condition. She grew stronger. Her breathing was less laborious. The doctors announced she would recover. Heaven was willing to wait.

The family stopped at St. Bartholomew’s on their way home from the hospital. Lily insisted on giving thanks for her life and the extension God granted. Then it was home. Lily struggled to get out of the car. Her legs weren’t use to carrying her weight. Her son helped her through the door of her modest two bedroom apartment on Willow Lane. Her eyes lit the moment she was seated in her own chair in her own living room surrounded by the people and things that make a house a home. Once Lily was seated and comfortable, her grandson opened the bedroom door and out scampered Molly, Lily’s trusted companion since her husband died four years earlier. She took her friend by the collar and pulled her close. Their foreheads touched.

Many people fear death. Lily isn't one of them. Over the years she's lost many people dear to her. Her faith tells her they will be together again and that gives her peace and hope. She's had a wonderful, happy life. But when her time comes, it will happen in her home, under her terms, surrounded by her family and Molly.

Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner will be brought to Lily. The family will gather around the small kitchen table to spend one last Thanksgiving with the royal lady they love so dearly.

Lily has much to be thankful for and she remembers all of them, including Molly, in her prayers.

Cloverdale Weekend Television. Religious Broadcasting

The Train.
A Message from the Mormons of Cloverdale.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Evening Stop at the Lake of Sorrows

It snowed today at the Lake of Sorrows. Old Man Winter found his way back to the Shire after a two season absence. The pines were frosted in white. Six inches of snow blanketed the ground. The scene was beautifully reflected against the lake’s frigid waters.

I was driving home from Dibley in the Downs. The sun was setting. The sky burned with Fall’s bright colors. Red, yellow and orange danced across the sky giving the Shire its very own display of celestial lights. I rounded the corner where Highway One parallels the lake’s shoreline. Solitude Bay came into view. I was stunned by the vibrant Autumn sunset mirrored in the still water and felt compelled to pause my journey to capture the image of nature at her finest.

I pulled off the highway and got out. The coming night chilled the air, transforming my breath into a lingering fog. I heard the sound of silence broken only by the crackling sound of freshly fallen snow under foot. An eerie stillness surrounded me. I worshiped in this cathedral of light for several minutes - my hands in my pockets and coat collar up. Even the occasional sound of a car on the highway didn’t distract me. I wondered why I was the only one captivated by this masterpiece of nature. Where were my fellow travelers? Didn’t they have a moment to stop and celebrate this majesty of nature?

I forgave their haste. It was getting dark. They were rushing home to warm suppers and quiet evenings, the kind only found in Cloverdale.

So, my friends, I'll share this moment with you. Look at this canvas. Stand with me near the shore. Don’t talk. It isn’t necessary. Let the surroundings speak. Breathe in the chilled lake air and experience something truly remarkable.

Twilight enveloped the sky, gathering all color to itself. It was time to go. I climbed into my car, shut the door and turned the key. Unwanted noise filled the stillness; the radio, the fan, and the growing sound of my tires on pavement.

I vowed to return someday, but the flickering streetlights of home were calling. A warm supper waited, followed by a quiet evening with family and friends.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things you Still Find in Cloverdale

Hello Friends,
I'm a citizen of both worlds. I spend most of the working week in the Other World (as we refer to the people and places outside of our Shangra-La called The Confederacy of Dunces). I spend a smaller portion of my week in Cloverdale. This duel citizenship, so to speak, gives me the opportunity to experience both the truly modern life of The Other World and the simpler, some would say 'backwards', life of Cloverdale. I'd like to share a few examples with you kind readers.

The Avon Ladies still frequent the homes of Cloverdale selling the finest in scent and make up.

Chef Boy-Ar-Dee still sells his canned good on Cloverdale Weekend Television. Yum Yum for your Tum Tum!

This is what we see on Cloverdale Weekend Television from 11:00 P.M. to 7:00 A.M. The famous old fashioned TV test pattern.

I'm ashamed to admit it but you can still see cigarette ads in Cloverdale. Remember, it is called the Confederacy of Dunces. This is for the special Camel Christmas Package.

Mr. Speedy still pushes Alka-Seltzer on Cloverdale Weekend Television. Its Pop Pop Fizz Fizz Oh What a Relief It Is!

In Cloverdale you can still buy 1 cent candy from the Chemist's shops, drive in's, and grocery stores. Can't buy much for a penny in The Other World.

And Yes........ McDonald's Hamburgers still cost 15 cents. Everything else on the menu is more expensive to subsidize the cost of the cheap burgers. The management believes its easier to do it that way than to constantly change the neon sign everytime they have a price increase. That's Cloverdale for you.

You can still purchase Lincoln Logs and Tinker Toys at Donaldson's Department Store in Cloverdale. Be honest, don't they take you back to your childhood?

And best of all. You still receive S and H Green Stamps when you shop at Red Owl and Piggly Wiggly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yesterday's Hide and Seek Turned Ugly

Little Lloyd Finker lives on Bluebird Street in Coverdale. Yesterday he was playing hide and seek with his pals. The rules for the game are simple. Someone counts to 100 while the others hide. When the counter reaches 100 he or she begins to search out the hidden players. If a hidden player is seen both the hider and hunter race to the counting spot. Those are the basic rules of the game. Of course, they are subject to debate at any time, which is usually the case when Lloyd and his friends play. They are all notoriously sore losers and fierce competitors.

Tubby Larson was it. He is usually it most of the time because of his size. He is a good counter and can count to 100 faster than anyone on the block. He knows his numbers so well because, as I said earlier, he is usually it. He is a good hunter as well. He has a keen sense of smell and can sniff out a hidden boy or girl from yards out. Unfortunately because of his rather large girth, Tubby isn’t very fast. The found easily get back to the counting spot before Tubby, thus - according to the rules of play - Tubby continues to be it.

“98, 99, 100. Ready or Not, Here I Come!” Tubby shouted so all could hear within a six house radius. Tubby started seeking. Today Tubby wore the Safari Hat his uncle brought back from Africa for him two years ago. He also brought his air soft pistol to the game as well. He was determined not to be it for the entire afternoon. With one hand on the trigger and the other free to move branches, leaves, bushes and other visual obstacles out of the way, Tubby was on the prowl. He stopped to sniff the air - nothing. He changed directions and sniffed again. Still nothing. One more turn and a smell into the wind brought an interesting odor. Tubby recognized the smell of a trash bin but there was something else...... something recognizable. If Tubby wasn’t mistaken it was the smell of AXE deodorant. Only Lloyd Finker wore AXE. Tubby’s eyes watered with delight. both corners of his mouth turn upward into an evil sneer. He was the hunter and Lloyd the hunted. Finally, after all these months he was going to get his number one tormentor.

Tubby cocked his hat, pulled up his tan safari shorts, and crept forward in super stealth mode. He shuffled down the sidewalk until he reached the Widow Wilson’s place. The smell was to his left. He turned and proceeded across her front lawn. A moment later a gated fence stopped him. He slowly opened the gate’s latch and tiptoed through the tulip bed toward a rusty old trash can.

“Yuck.......,” he heard Lloyd whisper from the inside of the can. That statement was followed by several others. “Gross........ disgusting........sick.....I’m going to hurl,” Tubby started to laugh but stopped himself. He wasn’t ready to give himself away. He wanted to get Lloyd real good. He crept forward then froze.

Up from the top of the can Tubby saw a tuff of over gelled hair. Lloyd had had enough. He was getting out of the can to find a new hiding place. Tubby brought his air soft pistol to the ready. He took aim and waited. Just as Lloyd swung one leg over the top of the can and exposed his backside Tubby fired several rounds of pellets. Lloyd’s rear end was pelted. He screamed several cuss words, lost his balance, and fell back into the mucky can.

Tubby ran as fast as his fat stubby legs would carry him. His pistol bought him time and time he needed to get back to the old oak tree on the corner of Bluebird and 5th before Lloyd.

He heard Lloyd screaming at him from behind. Tubby’s heart was beating so fast he couldn’t make out everything Lloyd was saying, but he knew it had to do something with all the ways Lloyd was going to kill him at the game’s conclusion.

They both rounded the corner of the Tolman’s yard at the same time. The Oak tree was still yards ahead. Lloyd sprinted and pulled ahead. Tubby knew he couldn’t keep up. He stopped and drew his pistol. He took a careful aim, which was hard to do because of his labored breathing, and fired several more rounds. Lloyd took the pellets in the back and fell to the ground. Tubby’s legs engaged, moving his large mass forward. Lloyd pulled himself to his feet using a rope of well shouted ‘R’ rated words.

Lloyd reached Tubby just as Tubby reached for the tree. Tubby’s outstretched finger touch the bark a second before Lloyd’s. Tubby won. He wasn’t going to be it again for the rest of the day. He jumped up and down shouting for joy. A moment later all other hiders emerged and gathered by the Oak tree.

“Foul, Foul!” Lloyd shouted. “He shot me with an air soft gun. That’s cheating!”. Lloyd ran towards Tubby. A moment later two world’s collided. Both boys hit the lawn, Tubby landed first on his back, Lloyd came down on top of him.

“Fight, Fight, Fight!” the other boys and girls shouted. Fists flew, hair was pulled and noses bloodied. It ended when Mr. Holdem hosed the entire gathering down with his garden hose.
“I’m calling the cops,” Mr. Holdem shouted. Everyone ran for the safety of home. Tubby was crying. Lloyd was crying. The day was over for everyone.

Tomorrow the gang will gather again for another game. New rules will be instituted. Weapons of all kinds will be outlawed and Tubby will be it again.

Life continues in Cloverdale.

Cloverdale Weekend Television. Holiday Celebrations.

Classical Christmas Music.
St. Thomas Choir, Leipzig Germany
Bach's Christmas Oratorio