Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Plea from Cloverdale's Police Department.

     Cloverdale's Police Department knows how upset the village children get when given something healthy in their trick or treat bags on Halloween. Last year, six Cloverdale children were arrested for torching Mel Lampke's car. Mel bravely (or stupidly) rewarded their heartfelt and enthusiastic "TRICK OR TREAT" with small boxes of raisins. The result was photographed by one of the children themselves.  Mel declined to press charges, saying the old junker was ready for the scrapyard anyway.
     "There are other ways to express outrage," the Chief Constable said while making the rounds, classroom to classroom, at the village primary school. "Have you considered smashing pumpkins on driveways or soaping windows?"
     "What would YOU do if someone gave you a toothbrush for tricks or treats?" asked one sixth grader.
     The Chief Constable thought long and hard then raised his forefinger. "A toothbrush...... now that's a tough one. I'd call that unforgivable."  The class cheered having made their point with the local cop. "You all call me if you get a toothbrush in your Halloween bag and I'll be down in a flash with my Tazer. We'll soon put a stop to that kind of anti-Halloween behavior."
     Have a Happy and Safe Halloween!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cloverdale Weather and "You in a Pew".

Sunday's Weather for Cloverdale and the Shire.
We will enjoy periods of sun with darkening clouds in the late afternoon. Temperatures remain reminiscence of Fall, not unexpected and a preface of Autumn's arrival next week. Wind will be lightly gusting from the northeast and gone all together by tomorrow.
Today's Songs of Praise comes to us from the Congregation of St. Michael Anglican in Tamworth on Tide. Cloverdale's Council of Churches encourage you to take time for God. The village's churches remind you of this year's membership drive, "You in a Pew". Help fill our places of worship with song and prayer, making Cloverdale truly "A Community of Christ".

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mr. Tosca Works the Graveyard Shift. Milo Doesn't Seem to Understand

The Tosca's live outside Cloverdale on Highway 1. They are new to Cloverdale having immigrated to the Confederacy one year ago. They are the exhausted parents of Milo, one very hyperactive child. Milo loves to run, jump and shout his way through the day with little regard for his father's sleeping. You see, Mr. Tosca is working the grave yard shift at Cloverdale's Electrical Substation while the normal graveyard manager takes time off for a medical condition. Mrs. Tosca tries her best to keep Milo subdued while her husband sleeps but, without super human powers, she can't track Milo every minute of the day.

Yesterday Mrs. Tosca left Milo to her husband's care while she left for an hour to help a friend. He had to wake up early to watch the boy. He wasn't happy. When she returned she found Milo restrained on the couch with husband beside him reading the paper. Milo wasn't panicked.

"How could you tie and gag our son?" she questioned.
"It was either that or put him up for adoption on the roadside," he replied.

The matter was dropped. Mrs. Tosca will not be leaving Milo with his father until his time on the graveyard shift ends.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lily Beth and Cloverdale's Curiosity Shop.

Lily Beth Locket is waiting for Cloverdale's only taxi outside the village's Curiosity Shop on the High Street. The Curiosity Shop is one step above the Salvation Army's Thrift Store in the quality of their gently and lovingly used merchandise.

Lily Beth has the Saturday Morning shift. She wakes at 6:00 A.M. and walks the two miles to the shop, stopping along the way to admire the neighborhood's flower gardens. Lily is partial to roses and can't pass a bush without a quick sniff. Lily calls for the taxi on rainy days but getting Mr. Pringle to leave his house on a Saturday norming to pick her up before 8:00 A.M. can be difficult, especially if he had a late night ferrying the tipsy home from the villages two pubs the night before.

The Curiosity Shop buys most of its merchandise from local charity shops and resells them for a small profit. The shop also carries home made crafts on consignment. The shop gets a part of the profits if the item is sold. It's a shop where everyone comes out the better just for stopping by.

Lily Beth has a Saturday routine which she unconsciously follows without exception. Making a pot of coffee is the first thing she does after arriving at the shop. While the coffee percolates, she searches the shelves for newly arrived merchandise. She is looking for anything of quality and interest. She keeps a notebook in her purse with lists of items her friends, family and other interested parties would be interested in buying. Lily Beth calls the interested party if she finds a match. The item is then set aside. Lily Beth charges a small finders fee if her client purchases the item. The shop's owners are unaware of Lily Beth's side business.

"Why would they care?" she answered when I questioned her about her arrangement last Saturday morning. "They're getting the asking price. My clients don't get a discount. It's all fair and honest."

"It doesn't seem quite fair for the shop's other regular customers," I responded.

"Here love, have a Sticky Bun." Lily Beth offered me one of her two pastries. Yes, a small price to pay for my silence, but who can resist a Wonderland Bakery sticky bun?

"My finder fee keeps me in cakes," Lily Beth said with a smile, referring to her one weakness - Wonderland Bakery's Famous Sticky Buns. "And there are plenty more of them for you whenever you stop by on a Saturday morning," she added with a wink.

After her search about the shop, Lily Beth sits on the shop's back porch and enjoys her sticky bun and coffee. At 9:00 A.M. she puts on a record to fill the void with music and opens the shop for customers. Her shift ends at 1:00 P.M. At 1:10 P.M. she is out on the pavement waiting for Mr. Pringle. The rest of the day is spent with her friends, her cats and her garden.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teddy DeWit, Cloverdale's Youngest Wizard.

Teddy DiWit secretly practices wizardry on Petunia Lane in Cloverdale and has done so ever since his robes and wand arrived for his birthday six months ago. He knows its against the rules for under aged wizards to practice magic, but knowing Cloverdale is far away from the Ministry of Magic, Teddy is just the kind of boy who is willing to take the risk.

On any given day anyone walking or driving down Petunia Lane could very well find Teddy outside waving his wand and practicing his spells. Teddy isn't shy and gladly demonstrates proper wand waving motions to anyone with an interest - except for the village constable, who he knows will notify the Ministry, and his Baptist Pastor who lives at the end of the lane in a nicely restored thatched roof cottage.

"Teddy, you know very well there is no such thing as magic," the Pastor told him one late Thursday afternoon just before supper as he walked home after a church function. Teddy was practicing his favorite magic, levitating a white feather off a tree stump in the front yard. He had become so good at this type of magic that the feather would sometimes blow away with him standing nearby doing nothing but watching, wand still in its holster.

"We are Christians Teddy and Christians don't pretend to do magic," the Pastor continued his lesson on what Christians do and don't do. "And I think you should stop drawing that lightening bolt on your forehead. You're not Harry Potter." Teddy held his hand over the false scar, looked down at the grass and waited for the Pastor to lose interest and move along. At that moment the feather lifted off the stump and blew half way across the yard.

"I did that," Teddy spoke with confidence.

"No Teddy, the wind blew the feather off the stump," the Pastor replied in a corrective tone.

"Magic," Teddy said.

"The wind," the Pastor replied.


"The wind." The Pastor's voice was showing impatience. Teddy reached for his wand thinking he might have to use a disarming spell to protect himself. The Pastor realized arguing with a boy as stubborn as Teddy wasn't worth his time. "The wind," he said again as he cleared his throat and turned to continue his walk down Petunia Lane.

"Magic," Teddy muttered under his breath just after the Pastor was out of ear shot.

People living on Petunia Lane know to be careful of Teddy DiWit when he's outside in full Harry Potter costume. One day Teddy nearly took out a passing teenager's eye with his knotted hickory wand. The teen insulted his Hogwart's house and laughed at his robe and scar.

Teddy's Latin is crude and his magic clearly absent but the injuries he conjures with his wand / sword teaches Cloverdale's muggles to tread lightly and respectfully when they happen upon him.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Miss Bitterroot's Honey

Miss Bitterroot with her Famous Honey

The coming of Spring means honey to the Bitterroot family of 34 Forest Green Close, Cloverdale. The Bitterroots have produced the finest honey in shire for the past twenty years and plan to continue as long as Clover is found in Clovershire.

Last year Miss Eliza Bitterroot took over the family business from her Grandfather Elroy. His failing health and recent curious reaction to bee stings gave him ample reasons to retire and travel with Mildred, his sweetheart for the past fifty years.

Elroy said of his grandaughter, "I leave the business is very capable hands. Young hands yes, but very capable."

Proving her grandfather right, Miss Bitterroot delivered a fine batch of honey to the shops last season and plans to do so again this year.

"You can always rely on the sweetest honey from Bitterroot bees." Miss Bitterroot said in an interview last Saturday with a reporter from the Confederacy Times who happened to be at the Piggly Wiggly covering the free food samples offered to exiting shoppers. Everyone standing around her agreed as they waited patiently for their free sample of Bitterroot Honey on toast.

"Here Here!" shouted Molly Totter, former foods teacher at the Comprehensive School and now resident of the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Confused as she stood waiting at the back of the line. "I wouldn't put anything other than Bitterroot Honey on my toast. I bought another jar just now while I was doing my shopping." "

Molly Totter doesn't have the patience to stand in a long line, having taught school for nearly forty years. She deals with her impatience by bumping the people in front of her with her shopping cart. She pretends to be nearly blind and confused when they turn around to glare. Her performance usually succeeds. Anyone with half a heart and warm feelings of home and mother will step aside feeling sorry for the old woman. She always thanks them with a "God Bless," as she moves ahead in the line.

"May we get a picture of you with Miss Bitterroot holding the jar you just bought?" asked the reporter. Molly gladly agreed and fumbled around in her shopping bag to find her honey.

"There it is," she said as she proudly displayed a jar of Nutella.

"This is the best honey in the world. It has the taste of almonds and chocolate. How Miss Bitterroot does it I'll never know." Molly said as she held up one finger to stop the photo from being taken. "I need to get presentable."

Molly Totter returns to the Home with her day's shopping

Molly searched her purse for her powder, glasses and lipstick. Naturally she wanted to look her best. Needless to say, the photo wasn't taken. The reporter thought it best to help her on her way to the Home and more familiar surroundings.

Miss Bitterroot urges everyone to purchase Bitterroot Honey in their favorite shops, as long as your favorite shops are either the Piggly Wiggly or the Red Owl. She turned her nose at our mention of the Coop or the Food Emporium, both of whom carry a different brand.

Cloverdale Weekend Television's Songs of Praise

Sunday's Weather for Clovershire
The mountains are shrouded in blankets of fog as a cold weather system slowly moves through the Shire today and tomorrow. Periods of rain and gusty winds are expected. Your winter jacket will be needed for outdoor travel along with a good umbrella. Snow is expected in the mountains. Warmer weather will follow bringing snow melt from the highlands into the Clover River. Expect minor flooding in the lowlands.
Today on Cloverdale Weekend Television, Songs of Praise. Cloverdale's Churches invite you to join them for Sunday Services on this bleak Spring day. Come experience the warmth of Christ in scripture and song and good fellowship with your caring neighbors.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Mumps Enjoy a Sunday Ice Cream Outing

Things are not always peachy keen in Cloverdale. Horace Mumps is not a happy camper. There was one scoop of Mint Chocolate Chip left in the bottom of the bucket at the Dairy Delight Ice Cream Emporium on the High Street. Of course, being the gentleman he is, Horace offered it to his wife fully expecting her to refuse. She didn't.

Wilma is enjoying the Mint Chocolate Chip while Horace toys with his Vanilla Bean Delight and thoughts of Wilma's upcoming birthday.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mrs. Tildon's Mother's Day

Mrs. Tildon waits and watches out her front window. Every Mother's Day her son Timothy arrives at 5:30 P.M. with picnic basket in hand and children in tow for their annual Mother's Day Celebration complete with sandwiches, pickles, brownies, chips, soda and fireworks.

Timothy moved from Cloverdale to Tamworth on Tide eight years ago seeking better opportunities. The move was nearly catastrophic for Mrs. Tildon. Timothy is her only child and has been her rock and foundation ever since Mr. Tildon died ten years ago. Timothy begged her to move but Mrs. Tildon tearfully declined. Her life is sewn into the fabric of Cloverdale. The Clover Valley has been her home since birth and leaving it and her friends behind would be too much to ask from someone her age.

Timothy and the children visit as often as they can and Mrs. Tildon is no stranger to the Confederate Railways. She uses her Old Age Pensioner's Frequent Rider Card at least twice a month for visits to Tamworth on Tide. They are the highlights of her month, along with her weekly meetings with the Lutheran Women's Guild and her regular girl's night out playing Canasta with her friends.

This Mother's Day will be special. Mrs. Tildon got up early and fried up a deliciously plump chicken she'd purchased at the Piggly Wiggly the night before. The grandchildren love her fried chicken and on occasion, when the mood strikes, she succomes to their pleadings. It has been said by those in Cloverdale with the most discriminating palettes, that the chicken fried in the Tildon kitchen far exceeds anything from the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Main and Elm Streets in taste and quality. Such talk appears to embarrass Mrs. Tildon, but in reality, it is most welcome but never sought after.

It is 12:30 P.M. and a red car is seen at the top of the lane. Timothy has arrived. Mrs. Tildon will collect her things and step out from her brick bungalow and into the warm embraces of a son and grandchildren who love her.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Melanie Dimple and her Science Fair Project.

Melanie Dimple of 924 St. Charles Street, Cloverdale lost her bid to win Confederacy Elementary School’s Science Fair with her probing self reflecting analysis of her addiction to cake.

To prove how addicting cake was, she had a small electrical generator screwed down to the table top. Two electrodes from the generator were strapped to each of her index fingers. A month’s supply of Dolly Madison cakes were kept in a large Rubbermaid storage bin under the table.

“Notice how I can’t help myself when I see a cake,” she said in a matter of fact tone during her short presentation to the science fair’s judges.

Melanie took a package of coconut covered Zingers from the bin, ripped open the packaging (some said she had a noticeable animal look in her eyes) and held the treat before the judges.

“What would you say if I told you that if you don’t eat this Zinger, you won’t get an electrical shock?” she asked.

“And if we eat the Zinger?” Judge Phineas Swallow asked, thinking how good the Zinger looked and how it had been three hours since lunch.

“If you eat it, then you get a shock from my dad's generator. It’s very painful - believe me, I know,” Melanie rubbed her two fingertips.

“Why would we eat that Zinger knowing we would get an electical shock?” Judge Julie Jeeps asked, thinking the entire round of questioning was useless.

“Why indeed, unless the cakes were so addictive you couldn't control yourself,” Melanie asked. “Stank back, I don’t want any of you hurt.”

Melanie held the Zinger in one hand and the on switch for the generator in the other.

“Are you sure you know what you're doing?” Phineas Swallow asked. Melanie activated the generator just as the last word left his mouth. The generator whirred into action. Melanie started shaking as the electricity surged through her body from each fingertip. With all her might she shoved the Zinger through her partially clenched teeth and into her mouth.

The lights in the cafeteria flickered ten seconds into the demonstration . The power draw was about to trip a circuit breaker. Then the demonstration ended, just as suddenly as it had started, The generator was on an automatic timer and switched off at the right time. Melanie collapsed into a white plastic garden chair next to her display board. She opened her mouth to explain. The smell of burnt Zinger escaped. Judge Julie Jeeps pulled a scented handkerchief from her purse and held it to her nose to take the edge off the noxious order.

“I love cake that much,” Melanie mumbled. "I can't help myself and I think I know why." Melanie explained the effects of sugar on the brain and how addictive such things could be.

At the end of her minute long speech thunderous applause filled the cafeteria from the hundred or so students huddled around. Her demonstrations were the best in the science show, far better than any old erupting volcano or internal combustion engine. Several of the boys even volunteered to take the shock as they ate one of her Zingers. Melanie, not accustom to sharing her cakes, graciously declined ever offer.

Melanie lost the science fair. Her disappointment was tempered by consuming the rest of the month’s supply of Zingers while watching television that evening. On the bright side, Melanie was offered a demonstration booth at the Mental Health Fair the following month at Dibley on the Downs where she took first place in her age division beating out the display on Teenage Eating Disorders.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Troubadours Perform at the Kicking Donkey

Never say you are bored on a Saturday night in Cloverdale. Those that do are slapped alongside the head and told to get on down to The Kicking Donkey Pub near the Train Station. The Kicking Donkey is the center of Cloverdale's Saturday night fun. Although the pub may not be suitable for the youngest in our community, those old enough to enjoy good music spiced with good company in a relaxed atmosphere will find no equal for village entertainment.

Last night The Troubadours lit up the night with down home American music. They played to a full house (the 9:05 train to Tamworth on Tide was running 3o minutes late so the passengers, hearing the sounds from the pub, considered their options. They could wait on the station's hard wood benches or cross the street for a something soothing to drink and a few laughs). The Troubadours were fantastic and the locals showed their appreciation by keep their glasses filled.

And to those like me who don't drink, let me assure you that the Kicking Donkey serves a wide variety of non alcohol beverages, so don't let that stop you from coming down and joining us at the Kicking Donkey on a Saturday night. What else you gonna do, watch the Village's Amateur
Dramatic Society's production of Hansel and Gretal?

I think not :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cloverdale Mental Health Alert

Clara Crims hears The Dead.

Cloverdale Weekend Television
Mental Health Alert
An advisory to the village of Cloverdale and surrounding areas. Miss Clara Crims, a resident of the Riverbottoms Group Home in Cloverdale, went missing this afternoon. Her disappearance was reported to the village constable when she didn’t report for her afternoon meds.

“I stood waiting and she didn’t show up,” reported Nurse Klemp, Matron. “Clara always reports for her meds promptly at 1:00 P.M. I’m both agitated and concerned - two emotions at once, clearly too much for me to handle. Just look at my hands quivering.”

Nurse Klemp’s hands were indeed quivering. The Constable tried to calm her by saying that he was sure Clara would be found quickly and returned. He reached for his radio to contact the Shire’s Constabulary. All he got was static when he pushed the “Talk” button.

“I forgot to charge it last night,” he confessed. Nurse Klemp partially collapsed over the meds tray.

“I’ll need one of these.” She held a small paper cup containing a blue and yellow pill in one hand and a glass of water in the other. The pill was down her gullet with one toss of her hand.

“I’m going for a lay down. Call when you find her.” The matron navigated the home’s hallway with uncertain steps before disappearing through the door at the end of the corridor.

The Constable removed his cell phone from his tazer holder and dialed Cloverdale Weekend Television to place the Mental Health Alert. Moments later the village’s televisions flashed green followed by the silhouette of a brain with lightening bolts (the sign of a mental health alert). The announcer’s voice followed.

“Clara Crims is missing from the Riverbottoms Group Home in Cloverdale,” she reported. “Clara is not considered dangerous but should not be approached. If found call the station at once.”

A file picture of Clara replaced the stern looking announcer. Cloverdale Weekend Television keeps pictures on file of all the Group Home's residents. Also on file are pictures of those living at the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Confused. They sometimes escape as well.

Clara's picture shows her struggling with her voices. Clara hears the dead talking. Strangely enough, she reports that she is their number one topic of conversation. When asked why the dead would be so preoccupied with her and not the overwhelming scope of eternal life, Clara always looks dazed then returns to clutching her hands over her ears to silence their voices.

A small reward for information on her whereabouts will be offered if Clara isn’t found before sundown. At that time Clara will have missed two medication cycles and will start hearing God’s voice. The last time she missed two medication cycles she accused the Mother Superior of the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope Monastery of blasphemy and heresy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Muller's Curious Cows

Bernie and Bernice Muller have Cloverdale's most curious cows. Many locals, needing some kind of a diversion from the hectic day to day village life, always know when push comes to shove, at the end of the day, when the budget allows for precious little entertainment, there is always "The Drive" to the Muller's farm to watch the Muller cows, watch you.

If you stay long enough and are patient, you might be invited into the farmhouse for one of Bernice's famous double chocolate chip cookies, washed down with an ice cold glass of milk from those very same curious cows. Although not recommended for the teen crowd, cow watching has become a somewhat popular pass time for the 60 and up crowd.

The Muller cows are always happy to see you. You can find them near the Highway One fence about four miles outside of town.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sammy Slips with the "S" Word

Sammy Smuthers is a seventh child of eight. The Smuthers live at 14 Dupont Circle in Cloverdale. He is a first grader at St. Bartholomew's Catholic School.

At lunch his best friend in the universe reached across the lunchroom table, took Sammy's jello dessert, and licked the whipped cream from the top. Sammy few into a rage. He jumped up, took the dish holding the soiled lime jello from his friend, scopped the jello out of the bowl with his hand and threw the quivering mass into his friend's face. That's when he shouted the "S" word.

Before you could say "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam", two nuns appeared, each taking one of Sammy's arms to keep him from climbing over the table to finish dressing his "used to be best friend" in the remaining food from his lunch tray.

Sammy was escorted kicking and screaming to the Special Purposes Room, where all naughty children are put. For one hour Sammy was subjected to the quiet of the room interrupted by the occasional knock at the door and a nun asking if he'd repented of his sins. If the answer was no, the door was relocked. If the answer was yes, then he'd be released to rejoin his class.

"Yes," Sammy answered on the first knock. He didn't like the Special Purposes Room. The picture of Jesus near the door with an open heart surrounded by barbed wire freaked him out.

Sister Evelyn knelt in front him and explained that calling someone "Stupid" was forbidden at St. Bartholomew's.
"It's a terrible word Sammy. Promise me you'll never say it again?" she asked.

Sammy broke into tears. It was all too much for a six year old to handle. Between sobs he promised to be a good boy and never use the "S" word again. Sammy returned to class.

Later that day Sammy told his mother what had happened. She gave him a hug and told him that if someone had licked the whipped cream off her jello she would have given him a black eye.

Sammy got a double helping of jello for dessert that evening.
"Here," his mother said handing him the can of whipped cream. "Go ahead and do it yourself. You deserve it."

Sammy pushed down on the long plastic top releasing a stream of fluffy topping onto his jello. He stopped when all signs of the jello disappeared under a blanket of white.

It was a perfect ending to a truly horrible day.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Prilla Salvo Remembers the Shire's Lavender Hills.

Prilla Salvo sits on a sidewalk outside a Dunkin Donuts in some cold industrial city in the heartland of America. Prilla hopes to scrape together enough money to purchase the train fare for a one ticket back to the Confederacy and her home in Cloverdale.

Prilla is a graduate of Clovershire's schools and university. She studied maths, sciences and modern living from the University at Tamworth on Tide. She graduated with honors. One year later she received her teaching certificate from the Ministry of Education. Instead of taking a position at the Comprehensive School in Cloverdale, Prilla removed her savings from the Bank, packed her belongings, bid her parents farewell and bought a one way ticket on the Coastal Express for the world outside the Confederacy. She was bound for the world she had studied and grown to love in her university studies.

The Outside World wasn't kind to Prilla. Prilla quickly discovered that the Outside World didn't value the qualities of oddness and uniqueness like the Confederacy. Her unique dress and flamboyant attitude toward science education was laughed at by many and feared by some. The principal of her school, after meeting with a parent's committee, dismissed her.
"This isn't Hogwarts," was his reason. Prilla didn't know what Hogwart's was.

Prilla sent a telegraph to her parents in Cloverdale asking for help in returning home. They sent what they could. What they sent was just enough to keep her in her one room apartment while she looked for work as a tutor. Hopefully with enough clients, she'd raise the money and return to the only place that would appreciate her talents with children and her love of science and math.

Until then, she waits for clients on the concrete sidewalks of a city known for its many shades of gray. Perhaps you kind readers in the Outside World will take pity on someone that resembles a fish out of water and help.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Daphanie Droop. A Silent Sufferer of GumB.

Daphanie Droop is a student at St. Bartholomew's Catholic School in Cloverdale. She is the eldest daughter of Eldon and Espa Droop of 253 Maple Lane, a quaint little cottage at the end of the lane surrounded with a pink picket fence and two large willow trees.

Daphanie suffers from Gumtidus Bushalocus, a condition that makes her cringe at the thought of putting anything on her gums. The thought of brushing her teeth makes her violently ill. The thought of flossing can lead to unconsciousness.

People who suffer from GumB live lonely lives. It is difficult for them to get close to people because of ever present halitosis. They keep people at arms length. If its absolutely necessary to talk to a nearby person, they speak with their hand cupped over their mouth to direct exhaled air downwards and not into the face of the person within their comfort zone.

Daphanie has learned how to live with GumB thanks to the group therapy offered at Cloverdale's Clinic. Using role playing techniques, Daphanie learned how to tell people about her condition and caution them, in an unfrightening way, to stand far enough away not be caught unawares by sudden unpleasant smells. Daphanie also learned to keep a tube of toothpaste on hand at all times for sudden proximity situations.

Daphanie used her toothpaste today in her "Catholic Teen Living" class. She and the boy at the end of the third row were asked to demonstrate the proper technique for teen intimacy. They were to perform a Catholic Close Encounter of the Second Kind. They were to stand close to each other and hold hands. The boy at the end of the row volunteered when he discovered Daphanie was the female in the demonstration. Daphanie knew of his interest but, because of her condition, shied away from contact. Today however, when she saw his name on board with a "?" beside it, she grabbed the dry erase marker before anyone else noticed and wrote her name. She knew her therapist would be proud of her. He has worked for months to get her to the point where she could feel comfortable being near a boy she liked.

There is a happy ending to our story. What Daphanie didn't know was that the boy at the end of the third row was also a sufferer of GumB. Minutes before their demonstration, they both gelled up with the toothpaste of their choice. At twelve past two in the afternoon they were called to the front of the class. One stood on Sister Mary Elizabeth's right and the other on her left. On Sister Mary's signal their hands found each other.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Carnation's Caffeinated Milk. Banned in Cloverdale's Schools

Cloverdale's School Council passed a resolution during it's public input meeting urging the village's markets to discontinue the sale of Caffeinated Milk.
"Our kids are coming to school wired for destruction. Teachers are finding it nearly impossible to keep them in their seats," said the Council President in his opening remarks.

Carnation introduced Caffeinated Instant Milk six months ago. The television commercial which ran on Cloverdale Weekend Television featured several of the villages teens struggling to get out of bed and ready for school. The next scene shows them sitting down to their sugar cereal and Caffeinated Instant Milk. The final scene shows them wide away and engaging their parents in meaningful conversation before kissing their mothers goodbye and boarding the school bus. The ad campaign was successful and sales skyrocketed.

The district nurse spoke before the Council. "These kids are getting hugh doses of caffeine before leaving home. They are then stopping at the PiggyMart or other convenience store and buying Red Bull and other energy drinks. By the time they get to school their blood pressure is spiking and they can't focus."

Several "here here's" were heard from the teachers sitting in the metal folding chairs at the back of the meeting room. The nurse paused for dramatic effect before continuing.

"Today we have a village of caffeine addicts. Why? Is it because of the caffeinated milk? Yes, but what you parents don't know is that this same drugged milk is being used to make caffeinated ice cream!" The nurse empathised the words Ice Cream by raising her finger toward the fluttering fluorescent light above her.

Audible gasps were heard from every part of the room. The manager of Piggly Wiggly's Dairy Department sunk lower into his chair. Joining him near the floor was the owner of Cloverdale's Dairy Queen.

"What I'm about to show you may be troubling. Consider that a fair warning," the nurse said as she motioned for the dimming of the halls lights. She switched on the slide projector and waited as the President of the Council stood to lower the movie screen suspended from the ceiling above.

"This child is a drug addict. Addicted to the caffeine in his ice cream. Ice cream legally available at none other than our very own Dairy Queen!"

The Widow Johnson rose from the fifth row. "For Shame!" she shouted. Others stood in support of her statement, except for the Noah Plop. He stood to gracefully leave. He'd accidentally wandered into the meeting thinking it was Bingo night.

"Look at this poor boy. So addicted he tried to get his caffeine fix off the plastic display outside the store." She paused and motioned for a man and woman to stand. "These are the boy's parents. If needed I'll call on them to share the horror of living through their son's withdrawal, Tragic."

She clicked the remote control, advancing the carousel to the next slide.

"This is Timmy Johnson enjoying his third caffeinated ice cream cone during a ball game last summer. He was so hyper he couldn't bat. It cost his team the win. He's had to live with the shame ever since. There are many stories similar to these. Some have happy endings while others haven't found their endings - and won't unless the village bans the sale of this product from our shops and restaurants. I urge immediate action!"

The nurse sat while others gave her a thunderous standing ovation.

The Council voted to ban caffeinated milk and ice cream from the school's menus and urged the Village Council to ban the products from the village entirely.

The Village Council will consider the issue at its next meeting.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Miss Rose

Miss Rose greets each morning with an open window and a hello to any pigeon that happens to be calling.

Cloverdale's pigeons know where to go for a bit of seed and pleasant conversation. Mind you, whatever Miss Rose says must be said quickly. Our village pigeons have notoriously short attention spans - a fact which doesn't deter Miss Rose. Even though no pigeon has ever heard the end of one of her stories, Miss Rose tells them anyway to the crisp morning air and the sidewalk below.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Pekkerman's Day Out

Toby, Pat and Mary Pekkerman are returning home to Cloverdale on the Coastal Express after spending much of the day at Tamworth on Tide. Tody and Pat read the American film Inception was playing at Tamworth’s Egyptian Theater, and being huge fans of Leonardo DeCaprio, they decided to make a full day of it with lunch on the Boardwalk, an hour or so in the Arcade and the movie - their definition of the perfect afternoon.

Toby is a sweeper at the Comprehensive School, Pat works in the lunchroom and Mary attends Cloverdale’s Community College. Toby lied and called in sick. Pat took a vacation day and Mary went along against her better judgement.

Inception got Toby to think, and even though trains put him to sleep, he was determined not to fall asleep on the Express for fear of having his mind probed. Pat was asleep well before the Conductor slipped the compartment’s door open and asked for their tickets. Mary watched the countryside move by from her seat’s window.

Twenty minutes into their journey home, Mary felt a stirring of mischief. She leaned over to Pat and whispered “You’ve got to pee. You’ve got to pee.” She spoke slowly, giving each word an opportunity to anchor in Pat’s subconscious. Toby watched, and although not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, he caught on to the prank.

“You’re inceptionizing her aren’t you?” he questioned wearing a broad grin. Mary nodded.

“You give it a go,” Mary pointed to Pat's other ear. Toby licked his lips and leaned in closer.

“Tinkle, tinkle tinkle,” his whisper was more a raspy scratching. Mary chuckled. Tinkle was their childhood word.

The trained lurched momentarily as it changed direction for Cloverdale. Pat awoke with a start finding her brother perilously close to her ear.

“Get off!” she shoved him away. She looked a bit hazy, looked at her watch and asked, “How long was I out?”

“Not long,” Mary answered resuming her gaze at the rolling countryside.

Pat got up, straighted her shirt and adjusted her trousers.

“Gotta tinkle,” she said as she slid the compartment door open. Toby and Mary burst into laughter.

“What do you want me to say? Gotta Piss?" Pat wasn't amused by their reaction to her choice of words. "Leave it,” she added as she stepped into the corridor to look for the nearest toilet.

“She got Inceptionized,” Toby said proudly.

“She did at that,” Mary answered as she reached into her purse to find the Wonka Bar she'd purchased earlier at Tamworth on Tide's Train Station. She broke it in half to share with her brother as a reward for work done well.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Outhouse Races at the Guest Ranch.

I’ll be there – at the outhouse races at the Nemo Guest Ranch. From everything I’ve been told, the event is an absolute hoot and it’s coming up this Saturday, February 26 at the Nemo Guest Ranch starting around 10AM.

The premise is simple: build a mobile “outhouse,” get together a team and push, pull or drag your structure around a timed course. The team with the fastest time wins.

Wins what? I don’t know, but I’m sure the prize is something ’spectacular.’

There is a $75 entry fee for every outhouse entered and those fees go to a good cause. The outhouse races are part of a day-long event that serves as a fundraiser for a local charity. This year the beneficiary of the event is the Northern Hills Alliance for Children and the new First Step Child Care Center.

Last year, more than 1,000 people showed up for the fun day which includes: a bonfire, indoor and outdoor bars, a chili cook-off, a barbecue cook-off, silent and live auctions, a raffle drawing to win an expense-paid cruise and shovel races for the kids. I’ve never seen shovel races before either, but I’m betting they’ll be worth a good laugh, whatever they are.

It’s going to be a cold one on Saturday, so bundle up if you go

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Henry Snordbee, A Danger to Himself?

Henry Snordbee lives in Snordbee Cottage, Cloverdale. He is proud of his independence. His family has tried repeatedly to commit him to the care of Cloverdale's Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Insane. Each time resulted in a court challenge. Each challenge was defeated. Henry celebrates each court victory by hanging a red star in his front window. A drive by his home will show the six stars currently displayed. His children are not happy and vow to continue their effort, saying he is a danger to himself and the neighborhood because of his forgetful ways.

Henry does have his forgetful moments but quickly reminds the social workers that every senior does. Yes, he nearly burnt his home to the ground four times. Yes, he has forgotten to collect his mail, pay his taxes, collect his newspapers, etc. Yes, he forgets to fill his car with gas, blocking traffic. Yes he forgets red zones are for no parking and has, on occasion, confused the gas pedal with the brake (luckily with no injuries to himself or to others). He claims to have Heaven's only Guardian Angel forced to work overtime.

Perhaps some day Henry will lose his case and committed to the Home. But until them, Henry will cherish his independence and take great joy in driving his children to drink.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Melissa Loves Johnny

Johnny Walker of 34 Creek Lane, Cloverdale is on the lookout for Melissa List and has been since Valentine’s Day. Both are students in the same 6th grade classroom at Confederacy Primary School. Melissa became smitten with Johnny on the day of their class Christmas Party. At 3:15 P.M. Johnny’s hand brushed up against Melissa’s while they were throwing away Christmas wrapping paper left from the class gift exchange. Melissa looked deeply into Johnny’s dark brown eyes and instantly fell in love. Johnny, not realize his precarious situation, made the mistake of smiling.

Johnny is now the target of Melissa’s desire. Melissa spends half the school day focused on the teacher and her lessons, the other half of the day she stares at Johnny. Melissa and her friends stalk Johnny on the playground during recess and lunch. Johnny’s friends are supportive and do what they can to protect Johnny by creating a human protective shield whenever Melissa’s gaggle get to close. Melissa writes numerous notes, only a fraction of which ever get to Johnny, thanks to his network of interceptors throughout the room. They apprehend most of Melissa's notes, write something nasty on them, and send them back. Yet, she still stands undeterred in her devotion. After all, he held her hand at the Christmas party and whispered, “I love you” at the trash can (her version of what happened).

Valentine’s Day was the worst day in Johnny’s life. This was the day his friends couldn’t intercept Melissa's sure to come Valentine. At the appointed hour the sixth grade students were dismissed row by row to deposit their Valentines in each other's decorated boxes. Melissa's row was the first to be called. Melissa made her rounds as the teacher monitored from the front of the class. The slowly moving ribbon of children froze to a stop when Melissa reached Johnny’s desk. They didn't want to miss what would surely be the best Valentine of the day. Johnny looked down at the floor - his face was dark crimson in embarrassment.

“This is for you Johnny,” Melissa cooed as she held out a pink envelope covered in unicorn stickers and rows of XO’s written in pink fluorescent pen. Johnny sat motionless. The pause grew awkwardly long.

“Johnny, Melissa’s has something for you. Be a gentleman,” the teacher saw the situation and acted to keep the Valentine exchange moving. Johnny continued to sit motionlessly.

“Johnny!” the teacher said sternly.

Johnny reluctantly looked up, held out his hand took Melissa’s Valentine. Giggles filled the silent void. Melissa stared down at Johnny and waited for him to open it.

“Open it,” she said impatiently. Several students jumped from their seats to watch, not wanting to miss this true act of puppy love.

Johnny opened the envelope and removed a card decorated in bright purple, pink and blue heart stickers. A note was written in the same pink ink. “You get ten Valentine’s Kisses. Love Melissa”.

The bottom of the card was cut with ten pull tabs, each reading "One Kiss” followed by a heart.

“Is there a problem here,” the teacher walked toward Johnny’s desk, pulling students away and pushing them ever so slightly back toward their own desks.

“No ma’am,” Johnny said as he quickly stuffed the Valentine into his box. It was the worst day in Johnny’s young life.

It has been one week since Valentine’s Day. Johnny has yet to cash in any of his ten gifted kisses. That hasnt‘ stopped Melissa. She pursues him relentlessly reminding him of her special Valentine gift.

Johnny asked for advice from his brothers, sister and parents. Instead of advice, his brothers laughed at him, his sister warned him to be nice and respect the girl’s feelings, his father gave him a punch in the arm and an “at’a boy” and his mother gave him a loving smile and wistful look as she remembered her first true love.

Johnny has three more months of school. It will be the worst three months of his life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Bartholomew's Students Organize The No Cussing Club

A group of students from St. Bartholomew's Catholic School in Cloverdale are challenging classmates to clean up their language. Brandon Bend, Gage Beazard and Kira Coll are trying to organize the school's first, and as far as this author knows, the only No Cussing Club in Clovershire.

"Cussing has no place in our school," said Kira Coll. "Like, you can't walk down the hall without hearing someone saying something offensive."

"Rude, that's what it is, just rude," chimed in Brandon.

The Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope operate the school and welcome the group's initiative. The Mother Superior, acting on behalf of the school's council, is expected to take action on their request at a meeting Thursday. If the club is approved, the students plan on placing posters throughout the school reminding students that "Careless Talk" is not welcome.

"Careless Talk means swearing and dirty language, including dirty jokes," Gage said when showing the groups first posters, printed and waiting for the Mother Superior's permission.

The three 16-year-old students say it's not uncommon to hear several different swear words in one conversation in hallways. They say club members would be challenged not to swear for certain periods of time and not to tell dirty jokes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rupp's Farm Fresh Organic Eggs. A Must for any Respectable "Green" Cloverdale Household

Hafen and Helen Rupp with Bonnie, their best layer

Hafen and Helen Rupp own the little white house with picket fence and large green yard at the end of Clover Lane in Cloverdale. The house once belonged to Hafen's grandparents. Hafen inherited the home, along with the Rupp chicken enterprise, when Grandpa Rupp ruptured his spleen and went to meet Jesus. Grandma Rupp soon followed. Hafen's parents weren't interested in the property, having acquired a large home and property on the Coast of Despair near Tamworth on Tide. Hafen's father suffers from stress induced asthma and believes the sea air soothes his condition.

The Rupp's Sign on Clover Lane

Hafen and Helen are proud of their happy chicken organic egg business.

"They're happy chickens, and happy chickens lay happy eggs," Helen said as we walked through the small hen house on the back south corner of their property. The smell was disagreeable but I had to agree, the chickens seemed happy, or as happy as chickens could be. I noticed the rail line coming into Cloverdale ran just south of their property.

"What about the train?" I said. "Doesn't the rumbling and horn affect them?"

"No, they're use to it. Real troopers these hens. Nothing seems to faze them," Helen stopped talking and looked up to the sky to ponder an incoming thought.
" I tell a lie. Old man Smout's Great Dane can cause us a world of hurt when he gets loose. A real vicious animal. The hens and I don't like him at all."

Ainsley in her dinosaur costume ready for the day's run

Every day weather permitting, and four year old daughter Ainsley feels like a nice long wagon ride, Helen and Ainsley gather the day's egg collection, stamp them with the Rupp Lion mark, and venture to the shops on the High Street to sell their eggs.

"Moss Wonderland Bakery is our best customer," Helen said while reaching under a large brown hen to pull out a beautiful tan egg. "We also sell to the Piggly Wiggle and Red Owl. The Coop buys their eggs from the Chicken Warehouse on Highway One. I wouldn't eat one of their eggs for all the tea in China. Those chickens are not happy. Stressed is a better adjective. The Coop's only concern is price, forget quality."

Helen's words were filled with bitterness toward the Chicken Warehouse and their treatment of chickens. Helen has Clovershire's Agricultural Ministry on her cell phone's speed dial and calls them frequently with complaints about the Chicken Warehouse. The Ministry's secretary knows that if its a Monday and almost noon, there will be a call from Helen Rupp. Each one of Helen's phone calls are followed by an email. Each email has at least one of Helen's photos attached, taken of the Chicken Warehouse's operations with her Canon camera with telephoto lens.

If there are any eggs left after their deliveries to the shops, Helen and Ainsley will go door to door selling the left over eggs to maximise their profit. More profit means better feed and happier chickens - and isn't that what it's all about? And who can say no to a cute little girl wearing a green dinosaur costume standing on your doorstep with a wicker basket filled with beautiful organic eggs?

"And what about those that drive through Cloverdale on their way to the coast?" I asked as we walked back to the little white house with picket fence. Helen had tea and cakes ready. The cakes were made using happy eggs Helen was sure to point out. "Is there a way for them to enjoy the happy eggs of your farm?"

"Well, folks are welcome to stop by the house and buy directly from us at the door, or if they want to enjoy a freshly cooked happy egg, I'd recommend the Diner on Highway One. We sell to them on a regular basis. Our happy eggs make one fine omelet and the Diner serves breakfast 24 hours a day."

I sat down at the wooden table in the Rupp's kitchen. Helen and Ainsley sat opposite. Helen poured while I helped myself to the most delicious and moist devil's food cupcakes on God's good Earth.

Helen and Hafen with Betty. I came to realize the chicks have interchangeable names until they distinguish themselves either by temperament or egg production.

It was a pleasant afternoon spent learning the organic farm business. And if on occasion you see Helen, Ainsley and their red wagon on the High Street, please stop and purchase a dozen or so of their Happy Eggs. You'll be all the better for it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Matthew Perry, A Forgetling.

Matthew Perry lives with his parents and sister on Cloverdale’s Maple Street. His mother always says that its a good thing their home is fastened to the Earth on a secure foundation because if it wasn’t, Matthew would lose it and the family would be homeless. Matthew Perry hears things like that all the time because he was born a Forgetling.

Forgetlings are people that have above average intelligent but can’t seem to remember anything they consider mundane. The term was coined by Professor Delp, head of the Psychiatric Department at Cloverdale’s Community College. He has a special practice working with Frogetlings. He has written several pamphlets on the condition and has been asked to present his research at several gatherings, the latest of which was to the Lutheran Woman’s Organization at the Saved By Grace Lutheran Church in Cloverdale.

Dr. Delp on his way to school. He likes to pause and ponder.

Professor Delp is considered to be on the fringe of acceptable practice by his fellow psychiatrists. He isn’t taken seriously, nor is his practice and research, but that doesn’t deter the kindly 64 year old Dr. Delp. He knows he is helping people suffering from this crippling social behavioural condition and that is all that matters.

Matthew Perry is a regular patient of Dr. Delp, visiting him every Thursday after school. He has been visiting the Doctor for the past seven months. His first appointment came after an incident at home involving his father's best tie. A suddenly forgetful spasm nearly resulted in a spanking sure to be heard up and down the neighborhood. Matthew's mother interceded on her son's behalf and stopped the punishment before it could be carried out.

It seems Matthew was running late for school that day and had misplaced his school tie. Matthew knew the consequences of arriving at St. Batholomew's’s Catholic School without one’s school tie. It meant in school suspension in the office of the Mother Superior of the Convent of the Sisters of Ever Increasing Hope. In desperation, Matthew entered his parent’s bedroom, found his father’s tie and put it on. It was too long. Matthew knew how to solve that problem with a pair of scissors. It was a serious lack of common sense in addition to being forgetful.

Dr. Delp diagnosed Matthew as a Forgetling after their first consultation. Shortly thereafter, he added another condition to Matthew’s file. He labeled Matthew Socially Unaware, meaning he was incapable of determining the proper course of action in any given social situation. When asked his feelings on being diagnosed with two mental disorders, Matthew shrugged his shoulders and asked if anyone had seen his misplaced left shoe.

Matthew will continue to work to overcome his handicaps with Dr. Delp’s help. If you, or someone you love, suffers from Forgetfulness please contact Dr. Delp at the Community College. His practice is reasonably priced and has been known to produce results, albeit limited.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Classical Music and the its Effect on our Young. Tonight on Cloverdale Weekend Television.

Tonight on Cloverdale Weekend Television's Sunday Classics, a discussion on the effect of classical music on a young and impressionable mind. Tonight's investigation will highlight the tragic consequences of a child's over exposure to Mozart. Sunday Classic's host, Myrtle Pedigrew will introduce us to a young Austrian singer suffering from serious side effects after repeated and prolonged exposure to Mozart.

"My boy was normal, once. Then she got hold of him," the boy's mother said in tonight's documentary. "He was just like the other boys in the neighborhood. He'd play football and hang out with his mates, then she showed up and told us what a fantastic voice he had and filled his mind with all kinds of rubbish about singing. We believed her and went along, not realizing what she was doing to him." In this quote, the mother refers to the neighborhood school's music teacher. The teacher turned down an opportunity to comment for the documentary, pending a lawsuit from the boy's parents.

The Documentary will present a once normal boy, now different. Today he is a boy who suffers from a debilitating illness which manifests itself with strange and abnormal bodily twitches and mannerisms.

"The boy considers himself normal because he sees others in the classically trained population exhibiting the same mannerisms. What he doesn't realize is that he has exaggerated those mannerisms because he isn't old enough to realize that he isn't a 40 year old prima donna, but a 13 year old about to be thrust into puberty," says Dr. Morgan during an interview in the documentary.

Be sure not to miss this story of talent and tragedy and the real world of classical music and its effect on our young. Watch Sunday Classics tonight on Cloverdale Weekend Television.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Marcell's New Glasses. Will You Include Your's on your Organ Donor Card?

Marcell Mist is a student blessed with new sight at Cloverdale's Middle School. Why the smile seen here in this picture, a smile not seen on Marcell's face for quite some time? Because Marcell is the recipient of a new pair of donated glasses through the Deceased Eyeglass Donor program.

The local government's Deceased Eyeglass Donor Program encourages the Cloverdale's residents to include their eyeglasses on their organ donor permission included on the back of all Clovershire's driver's licenses. So, along with their kidney's and hearts, citizens can donate their no longer needed eyeglasses to those in need. Why take a perfectly good pair of glasses to the grave when someone in your own neighborhood could benefit with their use?

"It is our opinion that eyeglasses will not be needed by those resurrected from the grave when the Lord returns," said the Most Reverend Bishop of the Cloverdale Parish. "I encourage everyone in the village to include your eyeglasses on your organ donor card."

Mr. George Gray

Marcel is the grateful recipient of Mr. George Gray's eyeglasses. George Gray passed away recently due to complications from minor electrocution caused through the use of a faulty defibrillator used to restore normal cardio rhythm during a costly root canal. The Gray children presented their father's eyeglasses to Marcell during a school assembly last Thursday. Marcell stumbled onto the stage because of poor eyesight and poor lighting but left the stage walking sure and steady with a new pair of glasses and clear vision.

"Its a miracle," shouted two students from the back of the auditorium. Each received two days of in school suspension for their flippant remark.

George Gray rests in peace knowing his donation helped a young boy live a richer and fuller life.

If you are interested in becoming an eyeglass donor, please check the organ and eyeglass donor box on the reverse side of your driving license.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cloverdale's Mennonites, Today on Cloverdale Weekend Television

The Weather for Cloverdale and the Shire.
A sea of white throughout the Clover Valley envelopes the village and surrounding communities. Thick fog is expected throughout the day with a lifting perhaps as early as mid evening. Safe driving will be jeopardized with limited visibility. Colder than seasonal temperatures accompanies the fog making what some in the weather office are calling "a kind of day not even a strong cup of tea could brighten".

Cloverdale Weekend Television is proud to introduce Cloverdale's first Songs of Praise sponsored by the village's small but noticeable Mennonite congregation. The Mennonite's meet in the Albrecht home on Juniper Street every Sunday at 11:00 A.M. Each gathering is following by worshipful singing and coffee.

The congregation sent the following video and note to CWT :
We've noticed that your station airs religious broadcasting every Sunday morning. Our Cloverdale congregation would like to become part of that tradition by contributing a video to your Songs of Praise program. This video features our small fellowship gathered for morning coffee after service in our house church. Forgive the sound of the camera. Grandmother Willis was raised in the old ways and is unschooled on the proper use of the electronic device. She was elected to video because her voice, at one time beautiful, is now best used for the preaching of the word.

As a small congregation of believers, we want to thank the village for their support and acceptance. While we may dress differently, and at times have issue with certain forms of modernity, we are still Christians who make for good neighbors.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cloverdale's Gamers Have a New Home

Until now Cloverdale's gaming population had two options if they wanted to purchase a new game. They could order one online and wait for delivery (and the Confederacy Post isn't known for promptness), or visit Donaldson's Department Store's small video game department next to the televisions and cell phones. The department store's electronics purchaser is 53 year old Eunice Planter. She is of the opinion that most video games are a waste of a young person's time. She is especially vigilant in her civic responsibilities and believes violent video games can twist young fragile and perceptive minds into acts of violence.

Acting on her opinions, Miss Planter stocks Donaldson's two video game shelves with educational games which teach basic math, grammar and spelling. Sales are virtually non existent so she makes up for the short sales in video games by offering good prices on all other electronics.

Mark Savage, Owner of Savage's Gaming in Cloverdale at a Recent Gaming Conference at Tamworth on Tide.

Today there is rejoicing in the darkened bedrooms of Cloverdale's male population. Savages's Gaming opened its doors yesterday. Owner Mark Savage, a decorated veteran of several online military campaigns, invites everyone, both young and old, to visit his new store for their gaming needs. In addition to all the latest games, Savage's offers a gaming room at the back of the store for online gaming. For a modest fee and slighter higher than normal prices for Coke products, you can leave reality and enter Savage's world.

Cloverdale's Chamber of Commerce welcomes this new addition to the village, found on Station Road.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tulip, Dead at 20

Tulip, Waiting for her Creamed Beef and Sausage Supper.
Gone, but not Forgotten

News Flash
From the Confederacy Times

Cloverdale's oldest dog is dead at the age of twenty. Tulip passed away this morning while enjoying a warm bath at the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Confused. She was the only canine resident of the home, rescued form the animal shelter and adopted as a pup twenty years ago by the Home's head cook.
"Dogs weren't allowed at the Home back then and that policy is in effect even to this day, except of course for Tulip," said the Home's administrator Milo Mortimor. "The cook kept Tulip in the kitchen, but occasionally she'd escape and make her way to the resident's rooms. Of course, when your knocking on death's door, any company is most welcome, especially a loving - although ghastly looking dog."

Tulip became a fixture at the Home and was loved by everyone. Her passing came as shock to the residents, many of whom were immediately sedated to keep their blood pressure under control. Grief councilors were brought in to work with the parish priest from St. Bartholomew and the Pastor from Cloverdale's Saved by Grace Lutheran Church to console the grieving old age pensioners.

"It was suggested we have Tulip stuffed," said Cory Crump, an orderly at the Home responsible for spills and general clean up. "She was invaluable when it came to giving some of the old ducks their sponge baths. Some of these folks don't take kindly to water. Having Tulip on hand calmed them down. They'd pet her while I cleaned them up. If we have her stuffed, they can still hold and pet her thus making my job much easier."

Mr. Crump's suggestion, although logical, is not under consideration by the Home's administration.

Tulip was a loving, buzzard of a dog that made life easier for the many fine folks of Cloverdale. A memorial will be held in the Home's Common Room on Saturday right after morning Bingo and the Noon medications.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Puddles Suffers from Celebrity Depression.

Puddles lives at 96 Elm Street Cloverdale. Puddles was recently selected to appear as June's Dog of the Month in “The Dogs of Cloverdale Calendar for 2011". Puddles was selected after having been featured as November's centerfold in "BowWow", the bi monthly magazine for Clovershire's Dog Enthusiasts.

Puddle’s owner, Miss Tulip Trump, hasn’t had a moment's peace since the magazine and calendar hit the train station's newstand and the book shop.

“That phone is a constant nuisance,” Miss Tulip said in an interview for Cloverdale Weekend Television. “People call for Puddles at least once or twice each day. I surely understand the stress of stardom. It is a lonely life - for Puddles and me. We can't go anywhere without being recognized. The village children all want to rub their sticky little hand's through Puddle's fur. Before this, I had a happy friendly dog. Now, I'm dealing with Puddle's depression. It hurts me so to see a once lively and vivacious dog cut down so cruelly by fame.”

On advice from her lawyer, Miss Trump canceled Puddle’s breeding matches, leaving the dog unsatisfied and lonely.

“Puddles suffers from chronic depression brought upon by sudden stardom and loneliness. I’d like to honor the matches but my lawyer says to hold out for higher breeding fees because, well you know, Puddles is in high demand,” Miss Tulip explained. “This lack of fulfillment, mixed with constant grooming and other scheduled photo shoots has put Puddles into a nasty gloom. Just last week, Puddles ran out into the road and was nearly run over by the milkman. I think it was a cry for help, most attempted suicides are.”

Puddles snorted, as if in agreement. Miss Tulip wiped a tear from her eye.

Puddles is currently taking a course of tranquilizers and spends much of the day semi conscious on the sofa.

We hope for the best for Puddles and Miss Tulip.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cloverdale Nearly Buried in Snow. Temperatures Plunge. Catastrophe Averted Thanks to Community Spirit.

Cloverdale was blanketed with snow yesterday as a strong low pressure system moved in from the Sea of Sorrows. Walking down the High Street was especially treacherous. Several slips and falls were called in to the local emergency services. By 10:00 A.M. the ambulance was going out on regular calls. By 11:00 A.M. the village clinic was overwhelmed with several broken arms and sprains.

At Noon Cloverdale Weekend Television broadcast a public service announcement asking village residents not to venture outside unless it was necessary. The announcer asked those with snowmobiles to help with the collection of fallen residents. Minutes later several snowmobiles were heard moving through the village’s roads and lanes transporting the injured, lame and bleeding to the clinic.

The Mayor ordered the school’s closed right after lunch. Although his intentions were good, the resulting chaos was unforeseen. The village’s school buses were ill equipped to navigate deep snow and ice. The primary student’s bus from St. Bartholomew’s Catholic School slid off Clover Lane and into a large snow drift before making its first drop off. The students were ecstatic when they were told snowmobiles would cart them the rest of the way home.

The public school buses fared no better. One slid on icy pavement into a telephone pole. Several students were treated for bloody noses while they waited for another bus to take them the rest of the way home. Several local residents braved the high snow drifts to bring warm drinks and cookies to the stranded children. Eighty five year old Dana Cooper "The Conjurer", entertained them with magic tricks from the days when he performed on a regular basis at the Grand Theater in the 1950's. The children were delighted. Dana glowed from the attention and told the bus driver that the children's warm reception made him realize how much he missed the stage. His 92 year old agent announced this morning from the Nearly There Home for the Elderly and Senile that Dana Cooper is thinking of a come back tour of the local schools and senior citizen centers.

A Poster from Dana's Early Days.

Snow continued to fall well into the early hours of the night. Highway One to Dibley in the Downs was closed after reports of a large snowfall near the Dibley turnoff. The Coastal Express arrived at the train station 45 minutes late. The conductor received reports that the tracks ahead were snow covered and impassable. Over 120 passengers were left stranded. Many found accommodations in the village’s motels and guest houses. Others found rooms at the Kicking Donkey and Hairy Lemon Pubs. Still others found refuge in the Saved by Grace Lutheran Church’s Social Hall.

Today started with brilliant sunshine and warmer temperatures. It appears the worst is passed. The village will return to normal as soon as the snow plow is pulled from the mammoth snow drift on Elm Street.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Message from Cloverdale's Council of Churches.

The Weather for Cloverdale and the Surrounding Communities.
Snow today. Perhaps a dusting in the valleys and heavier at times in the mountains. The cold stays with us like an unwanted guest with lows well below freezing. Dress warmly as you venture outside and drive carefully, roads will be slippery in spots.
Cloverdale's Council of Churches encourages you to attend the church of your choice today. The First United Methodist Church in Cloverdale will host a special showing of Jesus of Nazareth this afternoon after worship service. Come and meet your Methodist neighbors and be spiritually uplifted by this telling of the Holy Story.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

December's Bicknell Brewery Students of the Month

Cloverdale’s Bickwell Brewery, makers of Belair, an ale with character only served in the finest pubs, is pleased to announced the village’s Students of the Month for December. Remember, “If you still have nose hair then you’re not drinking Belair”.

The Bickwell family realize the importance of recognizing achievement, in all its forms.
“Recognize them kids early before life beats ‘em down,” is something Bob Bickwell, president of Bickwell Brewery, is often heard saying.

Every month, the Bickwell family accepts nominations from parents, teachers and students for the previous month’s Student of the Month. The applications are carefully reviewed and the honorees announced in a short school assembly held the first Thursday of every month.

The school’s ban on liquor advertisements is suspended on Awards Day. This gives the brewery an opportunity to display posters of their products in the auditorium’s lobby. The brewery begins each program with a PowerPoint presentation. Some discuss the dangers of drinking and driving. Others urge the students to drink responsibly and knowing their limits. Aluminium Al, The Brewery’s beer can mascot, is on hand to toss out free t-shirts and other prizes. It is an assembly the students never miss - even when suffering from hangovers.

December’s honorees were:

Jose Pascoe.
Jose isn’t very bright or talented, but what a party animal he is. Jose organizes awesome student activities for his Latinos in Action club. He organized Nerf Wars for their November activity. The social was held in the basement of the Cloverdale Community College’s Science Building. Thanks to students like Jose, our brighter more promising Latino students have an emotional release and a chance to work up a sweat and develop good lasting friendships.

Steven Sterling Smith.
Steven is obsessed with physics and has maintained a straight A average since he started the third grade as a five year old. The one aspect of physics that draws him off the normal beaten path into the twilight zone of oddity is the principle of entropy. He sees entrophy at work around him. Things that were once new and pristine slowly degenerate into a chaos if left to themselves without outside interference. New becomes old. Order leads to disorder. Beauty fades to the ravages of age. Steven is determined to do battle with entropy. He monitors his physical appearance several times each day. All imperfections are removed to the best of his ability. Steven wraps everything he owns in the hopes of keeping it as new as possible. Such dedication to discipline impressed the Bickwell jurors, thus leading to his receiving the award.

Congratulations to these two deserving students.