Saturday, November 5, 2016

Penny Plum, Princess of Apricot Lane.

Penny Plum Descends

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

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

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