Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cloverdale's Operatic Society Attends the Theater

Edna Epstein is the President and lead Soprano of Cloverdale’s Operatic Society which meets twice each month at 7:00 P.M. in the Comprehensive School’s theater. She is currently with other members of the society on a two day holiday at the Grand Imperial Hotel in Capital City. She and her husband Edmond are sharing a room with their loved and overly pampered dog, Trixie.

Members of Cloverdale's Operatic Society Preparing for This Year's Production of Snow White

Tonight, the National Opera and Symphony are performing Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion at the National Theater. It will be carried live on Cloverdale Weekend Television. Two months ago, while rehearsing for their next performance of Snow White (a New Year’s favorite for many in the village and surrounding areas), Doris Dale suggested that the entire Operatic Society attend the performance at the National Theater . Everyone happily agreed and praised Doris for the idea. Doris is the Society’s activities chairwoman and amazes everyone with her suggestions. She claims she is a party animal at heart, although one wouldn’t know that, considering she is rarely seen outside of her modest one bedroom bungalow - except at the Piggly Wiggly for groceries and occasionally at the Kicking Donkey for a gin and tonic. Of course she never misses the Operatic Society. Doris explained that a two day excursion with a nice stay at the Grand Imperial would be the perfect way to top off this year’s holiday season. A round of, “Here Here’s” was shouted across the stage when she finished. Doris blushed and waved the attention away.

The performance was due to start in less than forty minutes. Edna was dressed but kept the rest of the Society waiting in the hotel's lobby while she finished Trixie’s walk on a treadmill supplied in the Hotel's Fitness Room. Trixie would normally walk outside but Edna thought the recent cold might chill her lungs. Edna feared Trixie would catch a cold, and if she did, her snoring and snorting would be magnified. On her bad nights, Trixie has been known to wake the neighbors. Earlier that evening of the Hotel’s porters was kind enough to briefly step outside with her long enough so Trixie could do her business. Edna tipped him generously, took the leash, and walked her pug to the waiting tread mill.

Edna looked at her watch, saw the time and stopped the machine. It was time to collect her husband and the other members of the Society. Edna left Trixie with the kind attendant at the front desk who promised Trixie would enjoy her brief stay in the hotel’s kennel. She assured Edna that only the finest pedigrees were in residence that evening. Edna thanked her for understanding Trixie’s uniqueness.

"Let's be off then," Edna shouted while waving her gloved right hand around in the air as if swatting away a bee. Cloverdale’s Operatic Society followed in a single file line through the hotel’s large brass revolving doors and out into the cold night for the short walk to the National Theater. Doris made a point to be last out. The smile which emerged from her heavily madeup face, reflected the pride she took in knowing their cultural evening was her suggestion. She didn't have the best voice (classified as a scratchy alto) but she did know how to entertain.

Opening to Bach's St. Matthew Passion

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Timothy Trinkett Finds Clothing Confusing. The Story of an Apparel Handicap.

Timothy Trinkett lives with his mother, father, brother, four sisters, maiden aunt and two parakeets in the River Way Apartments in Cloverdale. He is an average student at Confederacy Primary School and does his best to stay out of the way, out of sight and therefore, out of mind.

Proper clothing has been the trial of Timothy’s young life. What to wear, at what time and in what combinations confuse the young boy. Therefore, his way of coping with his apparel handicap is to ignore it and wear whatever he fancies. Matching isn’t a concern, colors are beyond his ability to coordinate and seasonal dressing is only something he’s now beginning to understand.

His mother has grown tired of laying out his clothing day after day, only to have him change what she selected for things he believes are more practical. Take today for instance. Timothy wanted to go outside on this cold winter day in Cloverdale and watch ice float down the Clover River. He knew the river bank would be muddy, and he knew from past experience that mud is both slippery and messy. His way of dealing with the slipperiness and muddiness of mud was to wear one yellow wellington on one foot for the mess of mud and a hiking shoe with deep tread on the other for traction - appearance be damned.

His choice of clothing was both a frustration and a relief to his mother. Notice the sweater. That was her victory. Timothy has developed enough common sense to recognize the need for something warmer than a t-shirt for cold days. It only took eleven years for his common sense to surface - but there it was in its infancy.

Timothy’s apparel failure for the day was his shorts. Because of the potential for mud and mess, Timothy reasoned shorts would be his best choice for an outing near the river. After all, shorts used less material than a pair of trousers and therefore offered better protection from mud. A washrag would quickly take care of mud on the leg whereas the washing machine would be required for muddy pants. The reasoning was sound to Timothy, just not to anyone else.

Timothy went to the river and enjoyed watching the season’s first ice form along the banks. He didn’t stay out long due to the cold but even a few minutes out of the house was enough for Timothy. His sisters and maiden aunt are more than an eleven year old apparel handicapped boy can take.

Cloverdale Weekend Television. Sunday Weather and Songs of Praise. Blessed Assurance.

The Weather for Clovershire.
The fog that has blanketed the Shire for the past several days has lifted. Expect cold temperatures and bright sunshine throughout the day. Remember, Cloverdale's churches invite you to join them today in worship and urge you to take a moment to check on your elderly neighbors during these cold months of winter. Sometimes the old darlings forget to turn off their stoves and some may have forgotten how to set a proper fire.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning with the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope

Cloverdale Weekend Television starts its day of Christmas Broadcasting with a prayer from the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope, Cloverdale. May the joy of Christmas and the hope of eternal life always be with you.

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ministry of Education Film on Christmas.

Cloverdale Weekend Television is please to offer the following short film produced by the Ministry of Education concerning the proper celebration of Christmas. The Honorable Minister for Education, Dr. Chester Chumble, has approved this message for playing in the Confederacy's schools and on the public airwaves. The Minister wishes to thank The Confederacy Union of School Staffs (CUSS) for providing the actors for the production (the teachers and students from Cloverdale's Comprehensive School).

The Ministry urges you to find ways to make Christmas simple yet enjoyable for yourself and your family.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thorazine, Found Only at Cloverdale's Clowes Chemists.

Cloverdale’s Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Senile is pleased to announce a new treatment option for our agitated seniors. Clowes Chemist’s in Cloverdale have procured a delivery of a newly approved compound for the treatment of agitated seniors, our local schizophreniacs and the children in our schools suffering from hyperactivity and excitability.

Thorazine, as advertised in this new poster placed in the front window of the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Senile, is helpful in the treatment of many disorders of the brain, according to the Confederacy’s Ministry of Drugs and Chemical Compounds.

Clowes, The Chemists, is the sole distributor of Thorazine in the Cloverdale area. In addition to Thorazine, Clowes offers a wide range of drugs, sweets, tobacco and haberdasheries. It is your “One Stop Shopping for Drugs” according to their radio ads, played daily on Radio 4.

Many may not know this, but Clowes also carries a wide range of foreign drugs produced by reputable manufactures. These foreign drugs offer a less expensive option for those not able to afford the Confederacy’s higher standards for compound purity.

Clowes, The Chemists, encourages all to visit their store during the Holiday Season. This week’s specials include a 25% discount on ‘Holiday Bliss‘ a herbal treatment for holiday stress and fatigue. When taken with a small amount of whisky, Holiday Bliss has been known to calm those suffering from excessive holiday excitement. Holiday Bliss' tranquilizing effects are also good for those facing the holidays alone.

Enjoy your shopping experience. Shop the shops of Cloverdale.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cloverdale's Parthenon and Dorcet Deacon’s Delicious Delicacies. A Perfect Match for your Christmas Festivities

Cloverdale's Parthenon, Your Home for Christmas Party Fun.

Are you looking for a classy setting for your family, group or organization’s Christmas Party? We ask that you consider Cloverdale’s Parthenon, located at the south end of Cloverdale’s village park, near the duck pond and public toilets.

The Parthenon offers competitive rates with other local venues such as Cloverdale’s two local pubs, The Kicking Donkey and The Hairy Lemon. It can accommodate groups of two to eight persons with sink and microwave provided.

Heating can be a bit of a bother in the Winter. Fires are allowed in the fireplace although there have been complaints about bird nests clogging the chimney.

Dorcet Deacon of Dorcet Deacon's Delicious Delicacies proudly displaying her establishment's Fully Catered English Breakfast Available at Cloverdale's Parthenon.

Dorcet Deacon’s Delicious Delicacies is a local village caterer who offers a discount to groups using The Parthenon. Her kitchen is located just outside the park’s south gate meaning your meal can be cooked fresh and delivered directly to the Parthenon minutes after coming out of the ovens. Her speciality is a fully catered English Breakfast for those families looking for something different for their catered evening meal.

“I know it may seem somewhat peculiar to serve breakfast for dinner but delicious food is good anytime,” Dorcet said in a recent telephone interview. “We’ve catered several full breakfasts for family gatherings at the Parthenon and each was a resounding success.”

The Millard’s booked The Cloverdale Parthenon for their family Christmas party last week. For the past ten years, the Millard’s reserved the Saved by Grace Lutheran Church Hall. But with the passing of Grandpa several months back and Grandma now a resident at the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Senile (not to mention their oldest Merity, now a student at the Polytechnic and not expected home until December 24th) the Lutheran Hall was just too big for their smaller family gathering. The Parthenon offered the solution. And, with Dorcet’s kitchen able to cater at a reasonable price, the decision was easy. The Parthenon was it for this years Millard Family Christmas gathering.

“We had a great time,” wrote Martin Millard on the post booking survey mailed to him after the event and returned in this morning’s post. “The venue was clean and cozy and the food was to die for, although Mother thought it weird that I ordered the recommended breakfast. We adapted and grew closer as a family over sausage, beans, bacon and egg.”

Cloverdale’s Parthenon should be your family’s choice for your group Christmas Party.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Philmore Pffiggins. Cloverdale's Newly Elected Mayor.

Philmore Pffiggins is the newly elected mayor of Cloverdale, having beat his opponent by twelve votes in last month’s elections. His opponent, and current mayor, disputed the election and claimed voting irregularities, but such is to be expected in a Cloverdale election. The Shire Elections Board reviewed the charges and found them unwarranted. Their ruling forgave the election judge in charge of the Polling Site at the Kicking Donkey Pub near the village’s train station.

In the ruling, the election board stated,
Regulations strictly forbid the consumption of alcohol by any one serving as an election judge. But considering this election station was located in a pub, and considering the judge at the station was Mrs. Liddy Lampke, a prominent citizen of the community and known to be able to hold her liquor, it is decided that the two pints she consumed during election day did not affect the voting at said location and therefore did not affect the outcome of the election.
The current mayor disagrees but decided not to pursue the matter fearing a reprisal from his landlady, who happens to be a member of Mrs. Liddy Lamke’s Gin and Tonic Club which meets at the Kicking Donkey on the second Tuesday of every month.

Mayor Elect Pffiggins owns the tailor shop located at the back of Beatrix Potter’s Pottery and Fine Porcelain Shop on the High Street in Cloverdale. His suits are know throughout the Shire for quality craftsmanship and unparalleled stitching. In fact, he is wearing one of his own creations in the photograph above, taken during one of his lunchtime constitutionals through the village. Mayor Pffiggins calls these walks “my meet and greets”. It is his way of connecting with the villagers and increasing his business traffic.

Mayor Elect Pffiggins will be sworn in on January 4th at the village library. He is promising a new suit for the occasion and rumor has it he has ordered a new hat from his suppliers in England. The swearing in ceremony may be something our readers will not want to miss.

The Mayor’s Ball and Bingo will be held that same evening in St. Bartholomew’s Social Hall. Tickets may be purchased at the Library, or from Miss Beatrix Potter. Miss Potter has graciously volunteered to help with ticket sales, considering Mayor Elect Pffiggins does not keep a cash register on his premises.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Twumble's, Cloverdale's Christmas Family for 2010.

Skye and Orma Twumble live at 1225 In the Marshes, Cloverdale. They were selected to be Donaldson’s Department Store’s Christmas Family for 2010.

Skye is the regional director for Confederacy Telephone and Telegraph. Orma is her kid’s mom and the PTA President for St. Bartholomew’s School.

The nominating committee announced the Twumble’s selection on Cloverdale Weekend Television during a commercial break for the holiday classic “The Wizard of Oz”.

“This is the Twumble family from The Marshes in Cloverdale. They represent everything this village holds dear,” the announcer spoke with his lips actually touching the microphone. You could tell he was nervous and not use to speaking on television with the potential of a few dozen watching. The announcer cleared his throat to continue, then paused when he noticed a disgusting dribble of mucus on the microphone. He took his handkerchief and wiped it clean before continuing. “Mr. Skye Twumble is a respected citizen, known for his trustworthiness. After all, being the district manager for the telephone company gives Mr. Twumble access to everyone’s phone line and therefore everyone’s dirty little secrets. Does he use this information to his advantage? No he doesn’t.”

There was another pause before the announcer continued. “Orma Twumble is the perfect wife and mother. She claims to have a doctorate degree in baking and cleaning and loves to experiment with things baked in a pie crust. Her favorite word is ‘Surprise!‘ - always said when serving a pie to friends and family at her well known Candle lit Suppers.”

The Twumble’s will be honored next week at the following events throughout the village. Be sure to attend one of them and congratulate the Twumble’s for this honored bestowed upon them by your friends at Donaldson’s Department Store.

Sunday. The Twumbles will be the featured guests at the post Mass coffee held at St. Bartholomew’s. Orma has consented to say a few words about the proper role for a Catholic woman in today’s modern society.

Monday. The Twumbles will be singing carols throughout the Department Store between 7:00 and 8:00 P.M. Before that, they will be manning the Salvation Army’s Kettle at the Store’s Entrance.

Tuesday. The Twumbles will be the featured guests on Cloverdale Weekend Television’s “Confederate Mornings” morning news show. Orma, with a bit of arm twisting, accepted an invitation to teach the viewing audience the finer points of creative cooking with pastry. Skye will take the second half hour and cover the history of the telephone and telegraph in Clovershire.

Wednesday. The Twumbles will be the honored guests at the Christmas Sing a long at the Comprehensive School.

Thursday. The Twumbles will take a day trip on the Coastal Express to Tamworth on Tide to do a bit of Christmas Shopping. All compliments of Confederacy Railroad.

Friday. The Twumbles will be the honored guests at the lighting of Cloverdale’s Village Square Christmas Tree. Afterwords, the family will distribute candy canes to those in attendance.

Saturday. The Twumbles will unveil a new roadside sign with their picture welcoming outside shoppers to Cloverdale. The sign is on Highway one right outside of town. Later that night the Twumbles will end their week as Donaldson’s Department Store’s Christmas Family of 2010 by reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” on Radio Four.

Once again, congratulations to the Twumbles, Cloverdale’s Christmas Family for 2010.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Grimms Wish You a Respectful Holiday Season. Remember their Motto: Waiting, Always Waiting for your Call.

A Respectful Holiday Greeting from the Grimms Family
Waiting, Always Waiting for your Call

The Grimms live on Mulberry Circle in Cloverdale. This is their Christmas Card photo for 2010. Try as they might, they couldn’t get little Albert to be as serious about the family picture as the rest of the family. After all, this was the photo to be sent to all their past and future clients. It required a look befitting their business.

“We don’t know where Albert came from,” said Horace Grimms, owner and director of Grimms’ Mortuary and Taxidermy, servicing the dearly departed in Clovershire for the last 54 years. “There is something different about that boy.”

Febee Grimms interjected her opinion about her youngest child. “I don’t think Albert will ever be able to help with the family business.” She paused for a moment and looked at her son and then into her husband’s sad eyes. “We were so hoping for a boy to pass the business on to when we retired. We have our son, but he’s not exactly cut out for the funeral business.”

Febee was correct. Albert’s sisters were well groomed for the funeral business, having learned at an early age to subdue feelings of joy and happiness. You see, the Grimms Funeral Parlor consists of the embalming plant, the chapel, the crematorium, the garage for their two hearses, and the family living quarters.

During viewings and funerals, the girls help with the flowers and the condolences book. They help at the doors and in the kitchen. When not helping their father and mother with a service, they are allowed to play but must keep their voices low and faces somber in case they are seen by the bereaved.

Albert, on the other hand, sees joy in everything around him. Once, during the funeral for the Widow Morris, Albert burst through the chapel doors to tell his mother that he’d caught a butterfly. Febee was mortified. She snatched him up with one arm and carried him from the chapel. She covered his face with her other arm to quiet his voice and conceal his smile. Many sitting in the pews were visibly shaken, knowing the Widow Morris despised children, having taught school for the better part of 40 years.

The Grimms are resigned to their fate, knowing the trails of raising a ‘special‘ child. They will continue to work with Albert, but realize he will never have the temperament to work with the dead.

Albert will be left to find his own way.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Mulligans Christmas Card Photo

Dorric Mulligan is the manager of the Kicking Donkey Pub in Cloverdale. Dorric, along with his wife Delma and their children, live in the small flat above the pub. The Mulligan's are a large Catholic family and find the flat 'cozy' to say the least.

Dorric's parents arrived by train on Sunday to spend December and half of January with the family. They are old age pensioners living on a tight budget and haven't the money to stay at one of Cloverdale's fine motels or B and B's, meaning the Mulligan's will have two house guests for the holidays. Delma is not happy about the situation and informed Dorric that he will be spending the next several weeks sleeping on one of the pub's downstair sofas. The aging grandparents are oblivious to the tension caused by their unannounced visit. They suffer from mild dementia and enjoy their daily pint or two of Guinness, which keeps them in a partially woozy and cheerful state.

The family gathered for their annual Christmas photo on Sunday evening. Dorric placed the camera on a tripod, arranged the family, set the camera's timer and rushed back to insert himself into the picture. The camera beeped three times before snapping the picture. The beeping entertained little Tina and drew an immediate reaction. Her reaction confused Grandpa, causing him to loose focus and forget where to look. Grandma never found the lens. She was still trying to remember her youngest grandchild's name.

You'll notice that Dorric cropped Delma out of the picture. It was his own twisted sense of humor. He made the photo card in Photoshop, printed a copy and left it on the kitchen table 'by accident' so Delma could find it. He thought it would lighten her spirits, resulting in an invitation to return to his own bed.

Unfortunately, Delma was in no mood for one of Dorric's practical jokes. Delma exploded. The resulting fallout made the flat unsafe for Dorric and his parents. They are now staying at Miss Libby's Bed and Breakfast for the next few days while Delma finds her emotional footing.

We are all hoping the Mulligans reconcile quickly. The pub has several private bookings for the holiday season, which means its all hands on deck for the pub's staff.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lillian Wish’s Book Emporium

Lillian Wish's Book Emporium High Street Entrance.
Today's Highlighted Cloverdale Business for Christmas Shopping

Cloverdale’s Chamber of Commerce encourages our villagers to stay in the village to shop this Christmas season.

“We know how tempting it is to jump on the Coastal Express for a day’s shopping at Capital City or Tamworth on Tide, so we’ve encouraged our village businesses to offer unique items at special prices you might not find at the big shopping centers,” said Councilman Telper during the Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza and Christmas Parade held down the High Street.

Anderson Potter (Santa Claus) for the 21st year in a row. The costume will be retired this year. The Donaldson Family is promising a new 21st century suit for next year's parade complete with electrical lining to ward off the cold of a Cloverdale night.

Many of the hundred or so gathered who braved the cold and snow for the event nodded their heads in agreement (although it should be noted that most of them were the owners and employees of the businesses in downtown Cloverdale who stepped out of their shops just long enough to see Anderson Potter play Santa on top of the Donaldson’s Department Store float for the twenty-first year in a row).

Albert Spitter of 23 Glenwood Close, plays the trumpet for the Salvation Army when
he isn't playing video games or tormenting his sisters.

Cloverdale’s very own Salvation Army Brass Band accompanied the parade playing holiday favorites while Brigadier General Chuck Artz walked up and down the street waving the famous Red Bucket and solicited donations for the poor and needy. Most freely gave. Those less inclined to be parted from their coins received Chuck’s extra attention. The General stood in front of them with a smile stretching ear to ear. General Chuck is the village’s Stare Down Champion. A skill that has served him well in soliciting donations from the Scrooges of the Shire.

The Chamber of Commerce decided to use the village blog “Our Cloverdale” to highlight certain businesses during the holiday season. Our first business is Lillian Wish’s Book Emporium, one of the High Street's anchor establishments. Lillian opened the Emporium thirty years ago with her now deceased husband Filroy.

Lillian Doesn't Sleep Well so the Emporium is Open the Strangest of Hours. Here she is at 2:10 A.M. brewing a
pot of coffee for anyone else that might be out and about.

For the past three decades Cloverdale’s citizens have been treated to a wide variety of books covering “Every Topic Under the Sun, and Then Some More.” Yes, that phrase is also the store’s motto, written by Lillian herself. The store has two openings. The High Street opening is for those looking for the finest in new books and audio tapes. The back entrance (found if you walk down the ally just to the north of the shop) is for those seeking the best prices and selection of used books.

The Back Entrance of the Book Emporium.
Careful to Wipe Your Feet and be mindful of the cat box.

Upon entering the Emporium one feels pitched it into some magical world like the wand shop in Diagon Alley . Lillian is in her Sixties (although it is hard to tell to be honest). Her night shift opening hours are a perfect opportunity for people who work late or students (Cloverdale Community College is close by) to check out the latest book releases or some old school literature.

She calls her store a “Gemischtwarenladen” which translates to grocery store in a really traditional way. She offers the best prices on a great variety of bestsellers and new releases (some are in foreign languages, and if I knew how to read them I’d tell you what they were). And the best part about it is- she knows most of the books she sells.

Get your own customized book recommendation. If you are not into books check it out nevertheless – it will be your special Cloverdale experience. Something to tell your grandchildren. Take some time to get to know one of the village’s genuine “institutions”.
Since the owner is always there until past midnight it is almost like a 24 hours daily store. But please call to make sure it is open.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Tony and the Boy with the Red Sweater

Tony “The Sheriff” Verchelli is out of the house and patrolling Glenn Close, Cloverdale’s safest street . He woke from his afternoon nap early sensing something was ‘afoot’ in his neighborhood. He usually naps at 1:00 P.M. after he finishes his morning rounds and lunch. If there isn’t an emergency, he will sleep until 3:15 P.M., waking just in time to be out on the street to guard the children walking home from Confederacy Primary School.

His weapon of choice is the True Patriot Double Barrel bb Shotgun given to him last Christmas by a doting Grandfather. Tony’s mother was visibly shaken by the gift, but try as she did, she couldn’t get it away from her son without facing the wrath of the gods in the form of his temper. They compromised in the end . Tony could keep the bb gun IF he allowed her to load it.

Every day Mrs. Verchelli pretends to load the gun just before Tony leaves the house to do his morning rounds of the neighborhood. She’s sure that if he doesn’t shoot his own eye out, he will someone else’s. Tony is on to his mother’s deception, but pretends to be oblivious to the scheme. He has his own private stash of ammo.

One cold afternoon in January, Tony took his Big Wheel on an unapproved shopping trip to the village center to purchase a box of bb’s from Donaldson’s Department Store. He used the money given him by the Widow Doxey after he rescued her from a wet slobbering from Tulip, the Melman’s overly friendly Great Dane, who had escaped earlier in the afternoon when a negligent meter man failed to lock the Melman’s back gate.

“Are you sure you’re old enough to buy these?” the cashier asked as she bent over the counter to see the 4 year old
“My mom says I’m a big boy and can buy my own things to learn ‘sponsibilty,” Tony said, struggling with the word responsibility. He’d heard him mother use that word many times in reference to the gun, and gambled it would work in that situation. His gamble paid off. He cycled home listening to the jingling of hundreds of bb’s in his coat pocket.

Tony jumped from his bed, reached for his jacket and gun, found his mother napping on the couch, woke her and asked her to tie his jacket (cape) around his neck. Just as Tony shut the garage door he heard his mother yell at him to stay in the front yard. Both she and Tony knew that wasn’t going to happen. He had a job to do and had a feeling something was ‘afoot‘ on Glenn Close.

Tony jumped on his Big Wheel and rode to the front curb. He glanced up and down the street. There was nothing suspicious. He looked up toward the eastern sky. A storm was building. Dark clouds blotted out the sun. The wind picked up a moment later. A layer of dust from the road spiraled upward and moved down the road like a small tornado. Tony reached into his pocket, took out his swimming goggles and placed them firmly over his eyes to protect them from the blowing dirt.

Just then he noticed something red moving toward him from the far end of the Close. He couldn’t make out what it was at first, but a few seconds later the outline of a young blond boy wearing a red sweater came into view. The boy walked straight for Tony, slowly and with purpose. Tony had never seen the boy before. A chill when up his spine. He reached for his bb gun and bb’s.

Tony knew there was something unnatural about this boy wearing a red sweater, but didn’t have the luxury of time to play detective. He had a street to protect.

And protect it he would.

Blog Reference:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harry Potter Fans Riot at Cloverdale's Grand Theater

Morris Klep, Manager and Projectionist of Cloverdale's Grand Theatre.

Breaking News from
The Confederacy Times
Cloverdale's Weekly Newspaper

It was a turbulent Friday night at Cloverdale’s Grand Theatre on the High Street for the village premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
“We expect a full house,” said Morris Klep, manager and projectionist. Then, after looking out the window at the line stretching down the street and interfering with traffic, he said "a full house" was an understatement. He confirmed what everyone half way down the street already suspected, The Grand wouldn't have enough seats for even a forth of the people in the line.

Many of the people in line were dressed in costume. Cloverdale’s weekly newspaper, The Confederacy Times, ran a story the week before reporting that everyone who came to the premier in costume would be admitted first. The costume promotion was Morris Klep's idea to drum up buzz for the movie. He looked again out the window at the growing crowd and took relief in the fact that he had an excuse to turn the uncostumned back ticketless. Its what he didn’t know that disrupted the peace of Cloverdale’s village centre that night.

Two days before the premier, students from the Comprehensive School’s monthly student newspaper printed hundreds of badges that read “Muggle”. If Morris had looked more closely he would have seen them selling the buttons up and down the line of hopefuls. Now the manager had a real problem. Everyone in the line was in some kind of costume to fit the Harry Potter universe and this meeting his requirement of wearing a costume for preferred seating. Morris flew into a rage after discovering he’d been duped and promptly instructed the ushers to go down the line and award passes to everyone in a ‘Real‘ costume.

That’s when things got ugly.

Floyd Pepper, the theater’s sixty five year old head usher was the first to brave the crowd. Five minutes later the ambulance arrived to rush him to the clinic for stitches. He was viciously attacked by a wand bearing "Muggle". His three minor puncture wounds were not life threatening.

Sixteen year old Penny Ploom was the next ordered out. Three minutes later she struggled to get back to the safety of the Grand's lobby. She was drenched in butter beer. Another of the Comprehensive School’s fund raisers, being sold up and down the line by the school's Drama Club. She was lucky. There was no blood loss - just her dignity.

Morris Klep had had enough and called the police. Their arrival only made things worse, resulting in shouting, shoving, cursing, and spitting. Spells cast with waving wands peppered the two village constables. Seeing they were outnumbered by a very determined mob of fans, the police withdrew and called in the fire department. Cloverdale’s one engine arrived, attached its hoses to the nearest hydrants and turned them full blast into the crowd. The water's force sent witches, wizards and muggles tumbling down the street.

It was surreal.

Morris saw his chance as the stunned crowd struggled to get back on their feet and regain their senses. He opened the theater’s doors and admitted those that got to the ticket booth first. Within minutes the theater was full and the doors shut and locked.

Thirty minutes later Morris sat in the projectionist booth grateful it was all over. Besides the dripping wet carpets and patrons, the only evidence of the Harry Potter riot was the wet dog smell that permeated the theater.

It was something he could live with.

Monday, November 15, 2010

You Can Never be Too Careful

This appeared in last week's edition of Cloverdale's weekly newspaper, the Confederacy Times. Of course one can never be too careful, although the last time any kind of a bomb explosive was used in Clovershire was several years ago when a group of students from the Comprehensive School in Cloverdale placed a bomb made from the powder of several firecrackers in the Headmaster's curbside mailbox. The device blew the lid open. The mailman didn't mind. It saved him having to open the box for the morning's mail.

The mailbox with blown open door.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Milton and Puddles

Milton Hollinsworth’s best friend Puddles went missing earlier in the afternoon after a good swatting with Cloverdale’s Weekly Newspaper, The Confederacy Times. Puddles, keeping true to his name, did what Puddles does best - he wet on Lady Hollinsworth's white parlor room carpet.

Milton heard Puddles’ yelps from his bedroom, followed by the maid’s swearing in Spanish. He jumped off his bed and raced down the stairs to save his dog but it was too late. Puddles was out the front door and down the street.

Lady Hollinsworth was visibly upset as she stood over the maid.
“Scrub harder,” she said sternly. Rosa, the family housekeeper, was on her hands and knees doing her best to restore the carpet to its pre Puddles state.
“Just look at how my hands are shaking. That dog upset’s me so.” Lady Hollinsworth held out her quivering hand, weighed down by the largest diamond Rosa had ever seen. Rosa stopped to look.
“Back to work before that stain sets in,” Lady Hollinsworth scolded. Rosa shrugged her shoulders and return to the carpet.

Milton waited for Puddles to return. At 9:00 P.M. he was ordered off his watch and to bed.

The next morning Milton was up all the earlier. He didn’t wait for Rosa to set his school uniform out. He dressed himself, poured his own bowl of cereal, burned a piece of toast, set off the smoke alarm and heard his mother shouting for Rosa from her bedroom. She sounded upset for having been woken up before 10:00 A.M. Rosa said something to Milton in Spanish as she raced up the stairs. Her foul appearance helped Milton understand that whatever she said wasn’t complementary.

Milton rushed outside, found his scooter next to the garage and set out on a mission to find his dog Puddles. If Milton read the time correctly, he had 30 minutes before the first bell rang at St. Bartholomew’s Primary School.

Milton heard barking as he scooted down the High Street. He stopped, jumped from the scooter and looked behind him. Puddles was on the other side of the street barking around the feet of the Postman making his morning deliveries. Milton was relieved but thought it best to hide his joy at finding his dog. He needed to show Puddles that running away from home was bad.

“Puddles!” Milton shouted, mimicking the tone his mother uses on him whenever she is upset and has a headache. The dog stopped, saw his master and darted into the road. Milton shouted at the dog to stay. Puddles disobeyed, which wasn’t surprising. The screeching of brakes was followed by a stillness. Milton stood by his scooter in disbelief. Once again, Puddles was true to his name, in a very unfortunate way.


On Milton’s insistence, Lady Hollinsworth agreed to a burial near the back garden gate. She gave permission for Rosa to call the Priest but declined to attend the dog's burial. She was in bed with a headache. She had a dinner party to prepare for and needed her housekeeper to do the shopping and ready the house. The funeral service was not on her agenda and the inconvenience was upsetting. Yet, on Rosa’s insistence, she released her long enough to hold Milton’s hand during the burial prayer.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jonas Meeps To Speak in Cloverdale's Mormon Primary.

Eight year old Jonah Jeremiah Meeps is giving a talk in church this Sunday. It will be his first since the incident two years ago when he gave his first talk at age six. On that Sunday in 2008, little Jonah Jeremiah Meeps stood before the other nine children making up Cloverdale’s small LDS (Mormon) Primary and bore strong witness that Jesus was his Savior. What Sister Peau, the President of the Branch’s Primary, forgot was that Jonah’s family were recent converts to Mormonism, having converted from a sect of Christians that fed off hell, fire and damnation sermons in a small Evangelical church at Dibley in the Downs.

“Are you washed in the blood?” Jonah shouted in his young soprano voice. “If not, then the devil himself - Yes, I’m talking about Lucifer, Son of the Morning, Father of the Antichrist will have your soul and take you down to burn in a lake of fire and brimstone!”

Sister Peau squirmed in her chair. Two of the other three adults in the room did the same. Jonas mother sat in the back of the room with a bible in one hand and a Book of Mormon in the other and vocalized many “Thank you Jesus’s” at the end of every sentence in her son’s sermon. She knew Jonas was bringing the children’s attention to their multiple sins. She could see the fear of Hell etched in their little faces.

“If you want salvation, then you must come up to me and repent. You can do it. Don’t let the Devil take you away because he’s coming. Yes I hear him at that very door,” Jonas said pointing to the closet where the chairs and hymnbooks were stored. Jonas paused for a moment so the children could listen. The room was silence for a moment before his mother shouted a “Thank you Jesus” from the back of the room.

Jonas smiled at his mother and continued. “Do you feel his claws on your shoulders? Save yourself, Come to me,” Tears of joy ran down Jonas’ face as he clutched his bible and looked up into the blinking florescent light fixture over head.

At that moment six year old Molly Stringer screamed in terror. Ten year old Marcus Stump had grabbed her shoulders from behind, giving the young girl the fright of her life.

“The Devil ain’t getting me,” Milroy Crombie jumped from his seat and moved toward Jonas, knocking over every chair in his path. The other eight children followed quickly. Two of the youngsters fell and were trampled in the rush to get away from the closet door. They suffered minor bruising that resulted in more crying than the injuries deserved.

It took Sister Peau, and a member of the Branch Presidency, several minutes to calm everyone down. Jonas was asked to sit down. Sister Meeps sat in the back showing obvious joy that Jona’s ministering had had such remarkable results. She didn’t doubt their new Mormon faith had the truth, she just felt they needed to get off their backsides and proclaim it to the world the way they did in their old congregation.

Now, two years later and much the wiser, Jonas will give a talk in Primary on the importance of baptism. His mother helped write the talk, then had it reviewed by Sister Peau for LDS political correctness. Sister Peau crossed out several passages outlining the importance of Grace in the salvation process. Sister Meeps was OK with that, remembering her new Mormon friends seemed overly fixated on Works over Grace. Why they all wanted to work out their own salvation was beyond her, but it was something she could live with.

Jonas practiced the talk over and over until he could deliver it without notes. Sister Meeps was so proud of her son she took him down to the local Piggly Wiggly to have his picture taken in the 3 Minute Passport Photo Booth located near the mechanical horse and fire engine rides.

“He will make a fine missionary one day,” she said to the store manager who had come over wondering why a crowd of shoppers was blocking the store’s entrance. He was surprised to find Jonas standing in his store’s photo booth giving a sermon on baptism. Mrs. Meeps and Jonas took advantage of the three minutes it took to develop his pictures and spoke to the shoppers about their salvation. They returned home with a wonderful picture of Jonas preaching with his Bible and the names of several shoppers for the missionaries.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pearl Returns to Work

Pearl Prestwich lives in a modest brick bungalow surrounded by lilac and a white picket fence on Tulip Lane in Cloverdale. It has been her home for fifty one years, forty five of which were spent with her beloved Aurthur, recently passed.

Pearl and Aurthur lost much of their savings in the great recession, leaving Pearl in a financial situation requiring her to seek part time employment. She knew her advanced age would be one factor against her. After all, who would want to hire someone squarely in the winter of her life? And not having worked for many many years, Pearl’s self confidence in her talents and abilities lacked a firm foundation. Facing rejection on a daily basis was something Pearl feared.

One Tuesday evening, while dozing in front of her gas fire and the company of Cloverdale Weekend Television, Pearl happened to wake long enough to hear someone talking about jobs in this tough economy. She sat up in her chair, reached for her glasses from the side table and watched. One thing the commentator said struck a chord. He said the successful job applicant was one that effectively used his or her network of family and friends.

Pearl thought for a moment, then reached for a tablet and pen and made a list of family and friends. Next to each name she wrote where they worked, and starred the places she thought she’d like to work. Half way down the paper she wrote her great nephew’s name. Next to it she wrote ‘Cloverdale Bank’. That was it. Working in a bank was something she could do. After all, money hasn't changed much over her lifetime. She got out of her chair, walked to the kitchen and looked through the various scrapes of paper hanging by magnets from the refrigerator door. She found her great nephew's name on the back of an electricity bill from 2002.

Two weeks later Pearl arrived at the bank for her first day of work. Her great nephew was the manager of the Cloverdale branch and, although reluctant to do so, gave her a job as a data entry clerk. Her first hour was spent with her supervisor. He introduced her to the rest of the employees, took her to her desk, gave her a crash course in the data entry computer program then left her with a stack of papers and instructions to have them digitized by noon.

Twenty minutes later Pearl was at the supervisor's desk asking for Windex and a rag. Apparently she'd tried to correct a misspelled word on her computer with a bottle of white out found at the back of her desk drawer. Her supervisor sat in complete shock. Pearl was told to take the rest of the day off. She spent most of it working in her garden and worrying about what she’d done. By dinner time her stomach was so knotted she managed to keep down one bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup and nothing else.

The following morning there was a note on her desk asking her to go straight to her great nephew’s office. When she emerged twenty minutes later she had a new job at the bank, something not so technical. She was Cloverdale Bank's new part time security guard. She had a chair near the front door so she wouldn't have to spend endless hours on her feet, she had a very nice and official uniform with badge, and she was issued a fake gun. Fake as in it wouldn’t fire but very realistic in appearance and weight.

That next day Pearl was at her post near the front door. She kindly greeted all the customers as they entered the bank and had the pleasure of giving suckers and balloons to the children. It was a perfect job, and best of all it came with a raise. There was one drawback though. The weight of the pistol hanging on her right hip pulled her to the right whenever she walked.

Pearl was frustrated the first day after spending twenty minutes walking various trajectories and angles just to reach the bathroom. On the second day her mental math improved. She was able to calculate the circle’s arc well enough to reach the bathroom on the third attempt. Today she has it mastered. For instance, the staff break room is at Pearl's 3 o'clock. She knows that if she wants to go to the staff room to have a cup of coffee for her morning break she starts her journey by walking to her 1 o’clock. The gun's pull on her right hip will place her on a circular journey landing her right at the staff break room in front of the coffee machine.

Pearl is happy, her great nephew is happy and life in our sleepy village moves on.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cory Perry, Cloverdale's King of Trick or Treaters

Cory Perry, King of the Trick or Treaters

Cory Perry is Cloverdale’s Champion Trick or Treater. For the last three years his candy income on Halloween has far exceeded all other competitors, winning him the Trick or Treater of the Year Award sponsored by Cloverdale’s very own Humbug Confectioners on the High Street.

“Last Halloween I took in almost two full pillowcases of candy,” Cory said just before leaving his home for this year’s trick or treating. Cory, along with many of Cloverdale’s other faithful Christians went on their sugary quests on Saturday night, October 30th, instead of Sunday night, October 31st.
“You shouldn't be trick or treating on a Sunday, besides I'm dressed as a devil and that wouldn't be right either,” he explained when asked why he was standing on the Wheezer’s doorstep at 2:30 P.M. Saturday trick or treating.

Most of the village’s children joined Cory. Many did it out of respect for their preacher's advice, while others were not quite so pious. They schemed to trick or treat both Saturday and Sunday nights, thus making this year’s Halloween a two night ghoulish holiday.

Cory understood this two night Halloween could cost him his crown as King of the Trick or Treaters, considering he would only go out Saturday night and not Sunday. His only chance to win was to start trick or treating early Saturday afternoon. He knew his decision to start right after lunch could result in a few slammed doors and upset neighbors - but it was an embarrassment he could live.

Cory’s first stop was the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Confused. He moved from room to room up and down the halls collecting generous handfuls of candy, an advantage for being the first trick or treater of the season. Some of the residents knew it wasn't Halloween, but they didn't mind - any and all company was welcome.
Cory found a few surprises in his bag mixed in with the candy - such as a set of dentures and several pills later identified as sedatives and stool softeners.

It took Cory roughly thirty minutes to canvass the rest home. The weight of his pillow case was impressive. The amount of time it took him to get this much candy over such a short period of time made Cory think. Then he had a brilliant idea. He rushed home, changed his costume from a devil to a overly sunburned swimmer and returned for another round up and down the halls of the Rest Home. No one was the wiser and Cory came out well on his way to another championship.

Later in the day several of Cory’s friends from school and his Sunday School class joined him on Elm Street. Elm Street was the Trick or Treaters‘ heaven. This is where many of the village’s movers and shakers lived. They were the elite, the rich, the snobs. Every child in Cloverdale knew the folks on Elm Street always tried to out do each other on Halloween.

Last year, while trick or treating up and down Elm, Cory came up with another brilliant idea. He asked his friend to hold his bag while he rushed to Humbugs to buy a King Sized Willy Wonka Bar. He and his friends finished the street after he returned. Their plan was simple, on every doorstep his friends would shout "Trick or Treat" while Cory nibbled on the King Sized Candy Bar. Cory knew the residents would see the gigantic bar and want to know who was giving them out.

“Who is giving away king sized candy bars?” they asked, often in a shocked tone.

“Why, your awesome neighbor down the street," Cory answered pointing down the street. "Don’t know their name but they are the best!".

Cory and his friends knew their scheme would work and told all the other trick or treaters what they'd done. They all knew that next year's Halloween would be mean an abundance of King Sized Candy Bars on Elm Street.

Saturday night proved Cory right. He and his friends scored big time on Elm Street. Almost every home handed out King Sized Chocolate Bars. Word spread quickly throughout the village and within 30 minutes the street was congested with traffic. The village Constable was called out to help move the cars along. It was awesome.

Every trick or treater on the streets Saturday night gave Cory Perry high 5's for what he'd done. Cory was pleased his plan worked out as well as it had.

At 6:30 P.M. Cory made his first stop at Humbugs to have his pillow case weighed for the competition. It came in at just over twelve pounds. The employees and patrons cheered while the other trick or treaters moaned. Their bags weighed far less.

Cory knew he was running out of time. His parents wanted him home by 9:00 P.M. and the math just wasn’t there. Considering he had two and one half hours to go and at least another bag needing to be filled, Cory realized the two night trick or treaters could beat him.

That's when Cory had another brilliant idea. His first stop after Humbugs was his fifth grade teacher’s home.
“Can I borrow some crayons and paper?” he asked. He rushed into the house, took the paper and crayons, and made a badge. It read “Trick or Treating for the Children of Haiti”
“What’s this all about?” his teacher asked.
“I’m going to give everything from this bag to the earthquake victims of Haiti?” Cory answered.

His teacher told him how proud she was of him and pinned the badge on his costume. A moment later Cory was off with his friends. The teacher picked up the her phone and called Cloverdale’s local newspaper and Cloverdale Weekend Television. Twenty minutes later a reporter from the newspaper found Cory on the road and took his picture. A few minutes later a reporter and news truck from Cloverdale Weekend Television found him. Anyone watching CWT Saturday night had live up to date coverage of this remarkable young man as he worked so hard to bring a bit of sugary happiness to the poor children of Haiti.

Cory’s hunch proved spot on. With television camera’s running, Cory’s stops resulted in handfulls of candy poured into his pillowcase. Some family’s went the extra mile for the television camera and included money with their generous candy donations.

At 9:00 P.M. Cory arrived at Humbug’s for his final weigh in. His parents were waiting to take him home. He walked in with one full pillowcase. His other four full pillowcases were carried by the Constable, his teacher and two friends.

There was no doubt. Cory Perry was King of Trick or Treaters for 2010. No one could beat him. The shop erupted in cheers. Cory’s mom gave him a big hug and kiss. His dad shook his hand and said, “Well done son.” Flash bulbs lit up the shop’s display cases. It was a night never to be forgotten.

Cory Perry was indeed a legend.

Songs of Praise. Cloverdale Weekend Televison. Pie Jesu

The Weather for Cloverdale and the Shire.
Sunday arrived cooler than expected. Warming is expected into the mid day with calm breezes and the slightest chance for rain. Periods of sun throughout the morning with cold expected in the P.M. This is a brilliant start to a week of beautiful skies, moderate temperatures and little precipitation.
Songs of Praise is brought to you by Cloverdale's Council of Churches. Remember to take a moment to thank God for his blessings.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Daffodil Umbrella Works Celebrates 100 Years!

The Daffodil Umbrella Works in Cloverdale celebrated its 100th anniversary on October 22nd. The Works opened its doors on October 22, 1910 in the old St. Philips Anglican Church. Thousands and thousands of their signature yellow umbrellas circle the planet today.

Opening a Daffodil Umbrella on a rainy day is considered by many to be status symbol. If one owns a Daffodil it would be expected that one would also drive a Rolls Royce and vacation in Monte Carlo. The Daffodil's patented dark yellow speaks of quality construction with only the finest materials, something the founder of the company, Philo Saffron, insisted upon.

Philo Saffron, Founder of the Daffodil Umbrella Works,
Cloverdale 1911.
Photo take 21 years before his untimely death due to old age.

The anniversary was a spectacular success complete with entertainment provided by Cloverdale's very own Moonbeam Quartet.

Cloverdale's Moonbeam Quartet
(Available for your special event. Please call. Please.)

The Moonbeams have delighted audiences for three years with their lively repertoire of simple shire melodies. Fireworks followed the entertainment, dinner and dance.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Four Poppins on an Autumn Afternoon

Something rarely seen in Cloverdale. Four Poppins were seen walking from the train station to the shops on the High Street. The Poppins usually don’t take the train, or travel by car. In fact, for years the locals have wondered how they get from place to place.

The Poppins are friendly to talk to but remain secretive about their family and their family business ventures. What I do know is that most female Poppins find excellent employment in child care. They prefer short contracts in troubled homes and schools that need their ‘magical’ touch. Once they’ve done what they can do (work miracles according to anyone that has ever employed a Poppins) they move along, leaving the easier work to others not ‘classically’ trained, as they like to put it.

The four Poppins you see above walking on the High Street are in training (notice their similar dress - hat, coat, scarf and shoes). Once again, a part of their classical education.

I bumped into them again an hour or so later at the Kicking Donkey. They were enjoying a glass of wine before returning to the Station for the 4:10 to Tamworth on Tide.
“Enjoying a break from your training?” I stood beside their table, interrupting a conversation on the quality of the wine.
“Our training never ends,” the eldest said before taking another sip from her glass. “Experiencing the world is part of a good education. It helps us relate to the children placed in our care.”

I hoped they would tolerate another question or two. I cleared my throat, “I saw you coming from the train station about an hour ago. It’s rare to see a Poppins on a train."

“I love the train,” the youngest spoke. Her bright green eyes sparkled when she spoke.

“We know you do,” the eldest said in a tone intended to remind the youngest not to state the obvious. “We must be leaving ladies. We have families waiting. Gather your things.”

The four stood and promptly left the Pub. The smell of lilac lingered behind like a pleasant afterthought. I returned to my seat to finish my sandwich and Diet Coke.
"One day," I thought to myself, "I'll unlock the code to the Poppins."

I looked at the clock. It was getting late. The Autumn sun was sending long shadows across the High Street. I still had a few errands to run before dark. Off in the distance I heard the 4:10's whistle as it approached the station. I left a tip at the table and moved out into the late afternoon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Michael Junior Sings on Cloverdale Weekend Television

The Weather for Clovershire and its communities
Clovershire's weather changed dramatically overnight as a strong cold front bullied its across the shire from the coast. The warm calm of the past several weeks is gone for the foreseeable future.

Expect rain from time to time along with cold winds. It promises to be a good day to invite friends and family over for Sunday dinner followed by a nice cup of tea blessed by a warm fire.
A Message from our friends at Cloverdale Weekend Television.
Tune out the expected howling winds and pounding rain by watching an evening of fine music on Cloverdale Weekend Television.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mr. Skinner Dreams of Space

Matthew Paul Skinner is enjoying a winning cup of Premium Colombian Roasted Piggly Wiggly coffee. The Pig’s Premium roasted blend is his coffee of choice to calm him after a day of dealing with teenagers at the Comprehensive School in Cloverdale.

Mr. Skinner teaches physics and astronomy, subjects he is passionate about. That passion, paired with highly entertaining lessons, motivates his students to dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams.

One of Mr. Skinner’s dreams is to become the Confederacy’s first astronaut. Being a realist, Mr. Skinner understands that The Confederacy will never be a player in the exploration of space. The country is too small and struggles to find a voice in a world dominated by the big boys like the United States, Russia and China. But that doesn’t stop him from dreaming.

Last year Mr. Skinner read about a paying passenger taken to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz rocket. Suddenly it became clear to him, sending a paying passenger with the Russians was the only way the Confederacy would ever have an astronaut. And who better to represent the Confederacy than Cloverdale’s very own Mr. Skinner, an award winning teacher.

Of course, such an endeavour required a couple million dollars. Mr. Skinner needed sponsors. He needed help from Cloverdale's local businesses. Over time an idea began to take shape.

Mr. Skinner built his own mock space capsule in his garage, complete with small galley equiped with a coffee maker, refrigerator and microwave oven. Images of Earth from orbit play on a small 17 inch TV framed by a circular porthole. He snapped several pictures of himself in the capsule enjoying the finest products produced by Cloverdale businesses. With his photographs in hand, he made the rounds to local businesses to ask them for their sponsorship.

To date the photograph above garnered the largest donation from Piggly Wiggly. A large poster sized copy greets customers near the automatic doors and rows of shopping carts. A banner hangs above the poster encouraging shoppers to try the Pig’s own blend of premium coffee. The evening manager says the ad has increased coffee sales. With that encouraging news, Mr. Skinner plans on taking more pictures of himself in his capsule holding several other Piggly Wiggly brand name items. The next one to come out will feature the Pig’s Peanut Butter, the perfect food for space.

Mr. Skinner’s second largest donation came from Moss' Wonderland Bakery on the High Street. He photographed himself sitting in his capsule in full astronaut gear enjoying a frosted Bismark. Sales of Bismarks are up 22%. Mr. Moss is considering another poster featuring his delicious Apple Fritters.

Mr. Skinner raised $400.00 with both donations, meaning he is well on his way to the $2,000,000.00 or so dollars needed to buy his ticket into space.

Are you interested in having your product promoted by Mr. Skinner? Call him directly at Clover 4- 3245 to set up a consultation

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trixie's Tea and Talk

Trixie Dunn will celebrate her tenth year with Cloverdale’s Meals on Wheels program. She started in 2000 on her 81st birthday as a meal delivery volunteer. After two weeks on the job Trixie was called into the program director’s office and asked about a series of complaints the Agency received about late cold lunches. The ten minute investigation uncovered the following two facts.

Trixie is the village’s most cautious driver who rarely drives faster than ten miles below the posted speed limit. Her age and poor vision contribute to her caution. Another reason is her second volunteer job. Trixie is the village’s Beautification Award Chairwoman. Her job is to identify Cloverdale’s best kept gardens and present them to the village council for recognition. Trixie drives slowly so she has time to view the gardens as she passes. Good news for the home owner, bad news for the pensioner waiting for his meal or anyone unlucky enough to be driving behind her.

Trixie loves to talk. She has the gift of gab. She like to point out that a Trixie meal on wheels includes a meal, tea and talk. This perfect combination works well for her first two deliveries, but not for the remaining five - the last of whom gets his cold lunch just before suppertime.

The director realized that Trixie was one of those people that operate in permanent slow motion. That was a strike against her. In her favor was the fact that she was his most reliable driver. Trixie was always present with her 2001 Buick to collect her meals no matter what the weather or misfortune.

The director thought for a moment. He wanted to devise a way to keep Trixie without making the elderly wait on their lunches. Then an idea sprang to mind. “Capitalize on your organization’s strengths”, he remembered hearing from one of his management seminars. It was then he thought of a new program to offer the village’s elderly - Trixie's Tea and Talk.

When you out and about on any afternoon (or early evening) look for Trixie’s silver Buick with a magnetic sign on the driver’s door reading “Trixie's Tea and Talk. A Service from Meal on Wheels”. Wave her down and let her know you appreciate what she does for the elderly. Recognition isn’t anything she seeks but receiving it is not unwelcomed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Jeremy's New Faith

Jeremy Higgenson with his Grandmother's Bible
on the Night he Found His Faith.

Jeremy Higgenson of 214 Falls Drive in Cloverdale found his faith this summer thanks to Clovershire’s Evangelical Tent Revival sponsored by Cloverdale’s Council of Churches and Cloverdale Weekend Television's commitment to religious broadcasting. It was the fifth of August. Pastor Peter of the One Way Baptist Church in Dibley in the Downs preached mightily and with purpose on salvation through God’s Grace and not of one’s works. Jeremy, never having been a discipline of any faith, found the message comforting.

Jeremy was once a petty shoplifter and a well known lover of distilled spirits. This was his life until he was arrested for stealing a package of gum, smokes and a box of Red Vines at the local PiggyMart. After spending the night in jail, he was sent to live with his grandmother on her farm outside Tamworth on Tide. His life changed during that stay. Instead of living a self center life, Jeremy was exposed to his grandmother's lifestyle of healthy eating, long walks, bingo, knitting and Christian Television.

On August 5th his grandmother turned on the kitchen TV while the two of them enjoyed her foot stompingly good fried chicken. Cloverdale Weekend Television was airing a live broadcast of Clovershire's yearly Evangelical Tent Revival. Pastor Peter was on. Jeremy watched and listened. At the first alter call (those not actually at the service were asked to put their hands on the television or radio) Jeremy felt a stirring in his bosom. At the second alter call Jeremy jumped from the table shouting, “Praise Jesus” and bounded to the television. Grandmother Higgenson nearly choked of shock at his sudden outburst. Jeremy placed his hands on the screen, closed his eyes and waited to receive his cleansing.

That night, Jeremy Higgenson discovered the error of his ways and wept openly for several minutes while his grandmother praised Jesus for the miracle. She promptly mailed a check for several hundred dollars to the Pastor Peter Ministry at the One Way Baptist Church in Dibley in the Downs.

“It seemed like angels were carrying me to the television,” Jeremy reported of the incident later to his workmates at the Red Owl. “I was a sinner who found the Lord!”

And so it was. Jeremy found his faith.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Pumpkin Auction at St. Bartholomew's Autumn Festival

Autumn in Cloverdale

Cloverdale's residents are preparing for St. Bartholomew's Autumn Festival. It's the Catholic community's harvest celebration and goodbye to the warmth and green of summer. If you're a Catholic, know a Catholic, want to be a Catholic, or just have nothing better to do, then come to the school and enjoy good food, company, games and crafts. The Festival will be held at St. Bartholomew's Hall and Green on the third Saturday of October.

As per tradition, this year's Festival will sponsor the St. Bartholomew's Pumpkin Auction to benefit the school's ongoing programs and missions to Africa. The Pumpkins are generously donated from the gardens of Cloverdale's Catholic parishioners and carved by the students of St. Bartholomew's School.

"The children had a delightful time carving the pumpkins for our Festival," Sister Mary Rose smiled as she spoke reveling a pleasant disposition. Mary Rose is a teacher at the school and a Sister in the Convent of The Sister of Ever Increasing Hope. She volunteered to head the Pumpkin Carving Committee and received absolution for all future sins (out to six months) for doing so. Pumpkin carving is the one committee no one wants to head.

"Teaching the children to be careful with the knives took some doing and there were a few cuts," she stopped to think, tapped her forefinger against her cheek and continued, "Two cuts required stitches, but the students managed to get the first lot of pumpkins done a week ago." Sister Mary produced a photograph of the first twenty pumpkins carved by the school's students. I found it difficult to discern faces on the pumpkins. Sister Mary noticed the surprise on my face.

"They weren't that good, were they?" she confessed. "Their first attempt at carving was pretty bad, so we decided not to include those pumpkins in this year's Festival. Instead, we took the children and presented the pumpkins to the residents of the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Confused. The old folks are always happy to see the children and they made a fuss over the pumpkins - even the one that looked like the victim of a serial killer."

I asked Sister Mary Rose whether the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Confused allowed its residents to have pumpkins, considering their ban on candles and lighters. Long time resident Clara Tubman nearly burned the Home to the ground last year while attempting to light a cigarette while fiddling with her oxygen mask.

"Oh they don't," Sister Rose replied. "The staff gathered the pumpkins after we left and sent them to the kitchen. The old ducks have been eating pumpkin ever since. You'd be amazed what a creative cook on a tight budget can do with a few dozen pumpkins. Mind you, I had a taste of the pumpkin oatmeal. Not good, but praise God it was nourishing."

Last Year's Festival Auction Pumpkins.

Sister Mary Rose led me to the student's second carvings sitting on a table just outside her classroom. To be honest, they were just as disturbing. I didn't see one I was interested in bidding for but decided to participate in the auction anyway. After all, It was for charity.

Be sure to mark the third Saturday of the month on your calendar and attend the Autumn Festival. The school hopes you'll be generous in your bidding for the pumpkins.

Sidenote: When you decide to leave the Festival, look for the white van from the Nearly There Home for the Elder and Confused in the church parking lot. The Home's cook will be standing at the back of the van collecting your pumpkin donations (just in case you really didn't want the pumpkin you purchased from the auction). Won't the elderly bless you for your kindness.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Breakfast at Nanny and Mim's

Traveling Through the Shire
A Traveler's Diary
V. Williamson

Where does one go for a nice quick breakfast without the plastic and chrome of the fast food establishments? Well, if you’re travelling through Cloverdale I recommend Nanny and Mim’s Country Kitchen. You’ll find it about a stone’s throw from the Cloverdale Exit on the right hand side of the road (follow the signs for the Odd Fellows Hall. You can’t miss it).

Nanny and Mim are sisters, and have been so their entire lives. Their great passion in life is gossip and good home cooking - both of which you’ll find at Nanny and Mims. The waitresses are all locals, church goers, and members of the Woman’s Guild so they know everyone’s business. As soon as you sit down expect a good hot cup of coffee and a plastic covered menu with changes written in grease pen, the kind they once used in schools for overhead projectors. You can order off the menu or do what I do, ask for suggestions.

“Depends on what you’re looking for,” my waitress said when asked what she suggested. “Are you a big or small breakfast eater.”

“Small,” I replied. She glanced at how snugly I fit into the booth and smiled. She was on to me.

She pointed to a selection on the menu called “The Scottish Farmyard” and told me I wouldn’t go wrong with that. I nodded.

“It’ll be right up.” She returned her pencil to its place above her ear and went to serve the next table that had recently sat down.

“Merv, whatcha doing here. I heard you had surgery. Nasty thing that prostrate cancer. It took my daddy to Jesus.” I couldn’t hear the old man’s response. He looked a bit worse for wear but enjoyed her attention. I glanced out the window to the vacant lot opposite. Two older ladies wearing woolen coats and scarfs were talking on the sidewalk while their dogs did their business in the bushes. A pick up drove buy. It’s back end was full of kids with back packs. A sign on the tailgate read “Hillbilly School Bus”. I chuckled.

Shortly after 8:00 A.M. the cafe was full and the atmosphere electric. It was the most entertaining road breakfast I ever experienced. I learned more about the town and people of Cloverdale than I cared to. Nanny and Mim’s was truly the place to go if you needed to know.

Fifteen minutes after sitting down my waitress appeared with my breakfast.
“There ya go, this is The Scottish Farmyard,” she proudly said as she sat a platter sized plate before me. “Careful, its dripping from the sides. Enjoy,”

The Scottish Farmyard was right. There was bacon, sausage, ham, eggs, mushrooms, pork and beans and toast, all washed down with a half gallon of milk. Delicious and satisfying to the point where lunch wasn’t required.

Again, I highly recommend Nanny and Mim’s for a meal the next time you visit Cloverdale.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Brendan Prepares for Sunday Meeting

Brendan is home preparing for Sunday Meeting at Cloverdale's First Baptist Church, located at 4th and Main. If you live within a one hour's drive of Cloverdale you'll not want to miss it. The meeting will start at 10:00 A.M. with Brendan providing much of the music. At 11:00 its expected the preacher will do a pulpit call urging all the unrepentant and unclean in the congregation to come to Jesus. All sinners will move forward to get their anointing while Brendan sings Precious Lord. It will stir your spirit to see so many saved.

Remember, if you feel separated from Jesus, guess who moved. Just a thought as you contemplate an eternity with the damned if you don't come to Meeting and make your peace with God.

A Friendly Reminder from Cloverdale's Baptist community.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cloverdale Lab Looking for Test Subjects

This ad appeared in yesterday's Confederacy Times, Cloverdale's biweekly newspaper. This month the Times will be delivered to your yard, roof or neighbor's yard by an air cannon mounted on the roof of Cloverdale's Comprehensive School and operated by members of the School's Science Fiction Club, the SciFives and the school's math club - who will calculate the trajectories (the Times makes an acceptable donation to both clubs for the service, the money from which pays their train fare to the SciFi Festival held every November at Tamworth on Tide). Many members of the clubs already responded to this ad.

Filroy at Last Year's SciFi Convention at
Tamworth on Tide

"Filroy's father and I are so please he's decided to enroll in this year long program," said Mrs. Bloom as she explained her reasons for requesting a year's absence for her son from school. "We're hoping he will make some new friends and, well... Making normal friends is more than enough." As a side note she added, "Besides, he meets the only qualification listed. Filroy loves cake."