Lulu’s Luncheonette Character Sketches
Lulu Le Deux-(LL) – Owner of Lulu’s Luncheonette. She was formerly involved in some of the active entertainment houses in La Pine. She is currently working to get the last of her diversified houses reopened to alleviate some of the Saturday night stress. In order to do this, she is now serving Tea at Two in her little diner, hoping that the Herbs in the tea will let some of the most adamant citizens heal and relax into a new way of thinking. Lulu and her friends are about to undertake a difficult afternoon in hopes of achieving Lulu’s goal.
Ernest “Ernie” Earp-(EE) – Local Businessman at Earp Logging, former La Pine mayor and now, the new candidate for Deschutes County Commissioner. Old friend to Lulu, he wants the conservative new city council to “settle down” and he sees the need to provide services to all citizens. He and his wife are in the café to help Lulu.
Evelyn Earp-(EV) – Wife of Ernie and one of Lulu’s former employees. Like half of the women in La Pine, she was employed by one of the “normal employers for women.” Ernie and she had a long courtship and now they run their business, stay active in community activities and keep their old and new friendships a priority.
Mayor Michael “Mike” Magill-(MMM) – New mayor and owner of the La Pine first National Bank. Active in all things conservative, his church, school and now the city council, he dreams of a time when all conflict will be in the past and the community starts running smoothly, and if there was one special dream he could live out- he’d go fishing, without his wife!
Mary Magill- (MM) – Women’s Club secretary, volunteer in several community activities and a conduit for all that is wrong in La Pine. She and her closest friends recently influenced the town council in shutting down the Morson House. Now, armed with a significant win, she is ready to relax until her club takes on their next big project!
Phoebe Newberry-(PN) – Single schoolmarm and President of the Women’s Club. She records everything she does, hears and dreams in her private journal and she has a list of things she would like to accomplish. She keeps so busy, that she has never even thought about anything besides creating a “good example for other young ladies in the community”. She has been very tense lately and hears that the tea in Lulu’s café may help her to ease her tension while she visits with her close friends.
Cecelia Sutton- (CS) – Wife of a local minister, she has become a crusader for anti-anything that she does not condone. “If you can’t be proper, you can’t be in La pine” is her motto. She is a huge influence on her two friends, but, being of a delicate nature, she is not always consistent, and definitely not thoughtful!
Robbie Roberts- (RR) – Ranch hand that is new to La Pine. He is handsome, dashing, strong and loves the ladies. He works at the Earp ranch outside of town and comes in to town as often as possible to recharge himself while getting the errands done. He recently went to Morson House and found himself out on the porch until a passerby told him to check with Miss Lulu over at the café. He wants to help her, too!
Old Trapper- (OT) – All the appearance of one of the line trappers from out in the forest near La Pine, he has a secret and is ready to help Miss Lulu get to the crux of the matter.
Firemen- (Fire) – 4 of the local volunteers who spend all of their time at Lulu’s café instead of at the firehouse or- the Morson House. They would like to stop playing cards and put out the fire, so they are here to help Lulu in any way they can.
Young couple who are in the restaurant eating lunch. Others????
Posted in Original Stories by Teri Myers with no comments yet.
The Revenge of the “Recipe”
Stage directions: Lunch rush is over and it is almost 2o’clock in the afternoon. We see a young couple sitting stage right finishing their lunch. There is also an old trapper with all of his equipment sitting UR. His head is bent over his coffee cup and he seems to be almost asleep. On the other side of the café, a table with four firefighters are busy playing cards and drinking coffee. Lulu and the firemen keep looking at the clock periodically as though they are waiting for something to happen. She moves through the restaurant checking the tables and then goes to the sign stand by the door to change the Blue Plate special sign for the Tea Time at Two sign. People start to enter and she seems relieved to see her friends come in.
LL: Oh, Ernie, thank goodness you are here. I was hoping you would be early enough to go over everything. (X to shake hands and show them to a SR table. Man hangs coats on rack and settles the woman into a chair)
EE: Don’t you worry, Lulu. We all know what we have to do.
EV: We’ve got everything ready. You better turn on the radio, Lulu, so we have some music in here when they arrive. It wouldn’t do to have them feel uncomfortable if songs just start playing!
LL: Thanks for the reminder, Evelyn. (Checks with the young couple and clears a dish) I want to thank everyone. It is important to get hold of the journal. I have got to find out what Phoebe Newberry has in mind for me next.
Fire #1: (Speaking from his card game) We’ve got it covered !
LL: (cross to Old Trapper poised with coffee pot) More coffee sir?
OT: You betcha, Missy.
LL: Call me Lulu.
OT: All right Miss Lulu. And what is that I see on your sign about fresh pie? I love sweet potato pie. Do you have any? (LL fills his cup)
LL: Yup, old timer we have pie, cookies and everything is homemade fresh every morning! ( She sees that her new customers are settled) Be right with you two. (X to EE and EV) Now what will you have?
EE: Two coffees with cream and two apple pies. Do you want ala mode, Evvy?
EV: Just plain today Ernie dear. You go ahead though. You do love Lulu’s ice cream!
EE: (Pulls Lulu close and looks around the room, waving at the table of firemen) Are you ready?
LL: I have enough of the “recipe” to knock over a horse, Ernie! I have got to find out if the women’s club ladies are the ones who turned my girls into the town council. If they are, we can help them readjust their attitudes sure enough! (Speaks to everyone) Now remember, if I can get a look at Phoebe’s journal, I am sure that I will be able to tell if she and her friends are involved. (Everyone says “Hear! Hear!”) I hope this works. Four of my girls are out of work and it is hard to babysit all of these fellas all of the time! Right boys? (The men laugh and Lulu X to get the Earp’s order))
EV: What makes you think Miss Newberry will have it with her?
EE: The Journal?
LL: She carries it with her all of the time. I have seen her write things in it when she was eating lunch even!
EE: It is definitely one of those Women’s Clubbers who came up with the idea. And the three ladies are always together. As soon as school lets out, they are out on the boardwalk for their look about, as they call it.
LL: They don’t miss a thing do they? But I can’t tell which one of them is holding the reins.
EV: I think Mrs. Sutton says that her husband and the congregation would never allow it, Phoebe decides how it should be and then Mary Magill goes to her husband until he helps all of them!
LL: I don’t have a chance if we don’t act soon. I know that they have been coming in every day, so I hope that my new “recipe” does the trick. (She looks outside ands sees four people coming) Here they are!
Stage: (Lulu X US. Mayor and Mrs. Magill enter removing their coats. Phoebe and Cecelia are right behind them. All X to DSL tables after they hang up their coats.)
Fire #1: I’m out! Count the cards______!
Fire#2: I swear you are cheatin’! Hey Lulu, this calls for more coffee.
Stage: (All four new customers are acting better than everyone else with facial expressions to match! Lulu X to their table)
LL: How may I help you today, ladies? Mr. Mayor? Will you have some tea?
CS: (Looking around she talks loud enough to have the entire restaurant hear her) I have been satisfied with your herbal tea, Miss La Deux. I think it is helping my rheumatism. So I would like to try some more today, please.
LL: I hear tell from those who use it regularly, that it gives one a lot of relief. Would you like pie with that?
CS: Apple, if you have it and toppings?
LL: Yes, Ma’am. And what about you, Miss Newberry?
PN: (to CS) You know, Cecelia, my right shoulder is of some concern these days. All of that writing on the board, you know. I would like the same, Miss La Deux. Wait. How about you bring us a big pot and we share it, Cecelia. I would like pie, too, of course. A little something sweet now and I can skip dinner tonight.
CS: That sounds like a good idea, Phoebe. One large pot to share please. And two pies.
LL: Let me get an order from the Mayor and his wife and I’ll have your order in a few minutes. (Knowing that the ladies will be paying attention to what the Mayor does, she does thumbs up to the firemen)
Fire all: (hoot and holler and complain. One stands and X to CS and takes a grand bow. LL nods to another who quickly moves in a crawl to Miss Newberry’s bag and lifts the journal from it throwing it to the fellow at the table who waits for a second and then sneaks it to Lulu’s counter. The fireman returns to his place while the men continue to be boisterous.)
LL: I am so sorry Mr. Mayor. (To firemen) Hey, fellas. Please. We have some real customers here. (We hear them say sorry Miss Lulu and return to their next hand of cards) Go ahead Mr. Mayor. What can I get you?
MMM: You know, Mary, dear. I am feeling a little peekish. I have been out of sorts all day. (We hear a Soto voce from EV “more like a few weeks, if you know what I mean!”) I think it would be best if we were to try a big pot of the herbal recipe today. What do you think, Mary?
MM: That would be suitable. I do want you to feel your best, Michael. Do you have enough pie for us, too? I am watching my waistline, but I think with a good walk later this afternoon, a piece of pie would be fine.
MMM: I think you are fine the way you are, my dear. So, Lulu please bring us two of your delicious pieces of pie, will you? Mary raises her eyebrows and looks over to her friends when the mayor uses the familiar greeting to Lulu.)
LL: (announcing to the group) The “recipe” tea is almost through brewing everyone. I will go over and start getting everyone’s orders ready for you. (Lulu crosses to the couple and leaves a check and a thank you at the couple’s table. She taps EV and they X US to counter to get the trays ready for the Mayor’s group. Lulu moves the journal over to where they are prepping the order)
EV: (loudly) You sure are busy today, Miss Lulu.
LL: (LL winks at EV and she starts to paw through the journal while EV helps set out pie and cups.) Would you take that to their two tables? (EV X with set-ups)
EV: I will be back in a jiffy. (LL holds up open page to EE and the firemen and shows an ok sign to all)
Stage: (The mayor’s group talks about whatever as EV sets their things on the tables.)
LL: Thanks for you help, Evelyn. (LL pulls out a large bottle of brown liquid and pours a healthy dollop into each pot and EV fills them with hot tea) I can take these if you can help get the old timer some more coffee.
CS: To her friends) Looks like old habits die hard? Evelyn? Miss Lulu?
PN: You would think that Evelyn would be very careful who she lends a hand to, especially with her husband going back into politics.
CS: If women had the vote, her husband would never have a chance of winning!
PN: My point exactly. Maybe we should put the woman on our list and…..
MMM: (interrupting) Well, ladies, it is busy in here. Lulu looks like she needs Mrs. Earp’s help.
MM: How dare you side with Lulu again? You told me that you don’t even talk to the woman, and here you are calling her by her first name. (The other two women move their chairs closer to hear everything.
MMM: Mary, my dear. Lulu has the only luncheonette in La Pine. I talk to her everyday-nearly every day. When I come in for lunch. As far as Evelyn goes, she has always helped Lulu. So settle down!
MM: There you go again. Coming to the defense of…of… Maybe we can “remedy” that! (The two friends agree with her.)
CS: Remedy? Good one, Mary! (They all three laugh)
PN: Mary, sitting way over here is uncomfortable. Do you mind if we join you?
MM: That would be lovely, and ever so much more intimate.
MMM: Come on ladies; let me help you scoot closer.
Stage: (the four are settling in while Lulu and EZ X and pour tea in their cups. All four stop talking and drink their cups to the bottom on the first draught. Lulu and EV look at each other and smile to see what is happening.
CS: This is such tasty tea.
PN: Quite unusual- and so sort of warming…
MM: I wonder what herbs she uses. I just love it!
MMM: ( reaches for pot #1 And drains it into the first cup and picks up the other pot and fills the other cups again. He has a big grin on his face.) Lulu, you had better make us another pot- no, on second thought, make it two. We want to enjoy a little time together.
LL: (X to get pots and then to EV and EE to check their table) Right away Mr. Mayor. (To Earps) How are you doing? Need more coffee?
EE: You got the journal? (EE looks over at the Old trapper who is sitting upright again and looking around. We see him futz with a tripod and bag.) Did you find where they went to the city council?
LL: Yes. I read the page where Phoebe said that Mary told the mayor “No more!”
EV: I saw it, too. Phoebe Newberry documented every single word of what Mary told the three of them.
Stage: (the loving couple get’s up and X to door while saying “Money’s on the table. Keep the change and we’ll be back”. The Four marks are having a great old time by now. The tea is taking affect and they are laughing and sharing a muffled conversation)
LL: Thank you folks. See you next time. (X UR to clear table then US to set the dishes down and turn up the radio a little more.) As soon as the couple leaves, a tall handsome man enters with a swagger. As he surveys the room, he nods to EE and EV, then, taking his time he moves through the restaurant tipping his hat to each lady and then he smiles at them. They react strongly to him. His matinee idol appearance is overwhelming and the tea has them all warmed up. Anything could happen)
LL: Welcome stranger. (flirty) What can I do you for today?
RR: Howdy Ma’am. Is it too late for me to get a hamburger or something hot? (On the stretched out word HOT, he turns to be sure that the ladies are watching him and hearing him say the word. To EE) Hello, Boss. I got everything on the list.
LL: (loudly) he name is Lulu, handsome. I can cook you up anything you want, handsome! Do you think that a little bitty hamburger will be all that you need?
Stage: (The ladies are beside themselves. The open flirting and innuendo have pushed their buttons and at the same time they lean together to talk about what is happening with the handsome stranger and Lulu, they are pinching their cheeks, checking their hair and adjusting their clothing)
RR: Aw Shucks, Miss Lulu. I think a tasty hamburger and some good coffee will do me fine. Make sure that the coffee is really hot ‘cause that’s the way I drink it. He notices the ladies again.
LL: Okey dokey, then. Coming right up. (She turns to make his burger, but also turns up the music a little more)
EE: (stands up and motions RR towards him) Join us will you, Robbie?
Stage: (the three women all look at each other and mouth “Robbie”. The mayor drinks more tea and fill their cups again. He checks the pot to see how much more there is and then he sits back and smiles. PN has made eye contact with the ranch hand and does not want to let go)
RR: Thanks, boss. (Tips his hat to Mrs. Earp) ma’am.
EV: (Music is changing the atmosphere and the plan goes forward) Good music, isn’t it? Do you dance Mr. Roberts?
RR: I love to dance. That one on the radio is one of my favorites, Mrs. Earp. (Loudly)You askin’? There isn’t anything that I would rather do than wrap my arms around some pretty gall and whirl her around the dance floor!
Stage: (Jaws are starting to drop and tension is building)
PN: Is Evelyn flirting with that poor young man? (sips tea)
CS: How dare she? I mean with proper ladies on the premises? It is bad enough that Lulu is openly flirting with that… that… cowboy, but it looks like Mrs. Earp is making suggestions, too. (sips tea)
MMM: Don’t you know that Mrs. Earp used to work for Lulu? (sips tea)
MM: Mr. Mayor! Quiet! (sips tea)
PN & CS: You mean that Evelyn Earp is a …? (sips tea and fans herself)
MMM: Piano Player? She was her piano player and she stayed in the front parlor. (Mary whacks him) Ow! What was that for? (sips tea)
MM: You know! (Indignantly sips tea)
PN: (RR starts to sway and move in time with the music) He sure is cute! (sips tea)
CS: I’ll say he is! (sips tea. Lulu brings a fresh pot to the mayors table and the mayor lights up. LL X back to OT and while the two of them are concentrating on the journal)
EE: (as if on cue) Evelyn, my sweet, would you care to dance?
EV: Wonderful idea! (He leads her to the floor and they begin)
Stage: (The firemen watch until RR approaches PN then one of them asks CS to dance. Soon Mary and the Mayor join the throng. Robbie keeps his partner front and center while the OT and LL comb through the rest of the journal pages until LL spots the page she needs and marks it with a table check. The dancers relax into the music until they one by one start to dance cheek to cheek).
EE: (leaning in to the mayor) I sure wish we knew who told the town council that Lulus ladies were still working. Any ideas, Mike?
MMM: (looking stunned but afraid to break his wife’s good mood) Where did that come from?
EV: (leans in, too) Who snitched?
MM: (Snapping out of her dance trance) Michael believes that the Morson House is not an appropriate business for a decent town. Right, Snookums?
EV: (to Mary) That is interesting!
EE: I always saw Mike coming out of the side door of Lulu’s every other day or so. Late afternoons, mostly!
MMM: Hold on there, Earp!
MM: What is he talking about, Michael?
EV: Ernie would know.
LL: It’s true Mrs. Magill. If it weren’t for Michael, …Well let’s just say he singlehandedly supported at least two of the ladies all by himself! (X to mayor table and asks who wants more tea)
MMM: I do, Lulu. (He plunks down and so does MM)
OT: (He pulls off a covering revealing a camera on the tripod) Everyone ready for their close-up?
Stage: (The music comes to a stop while RR swoops PN into a dip and he ends the dance with a peck on the lips. Everyone else comes to a stop so they can see PN react to the kiss. )
OT: (Flash) Got it! Let’s try another! (Flash again. PN snaps out of it)
PN: Let me go you lothario!
RR: You betcha’, Miss Newberry. (RR drops her down on the floor as the flash goes off again. CS leaves her fireman and helps PN up and to the table)
CS: Are you all right, Phoebe?
PN: (point to RR) Masher! That man is nothing but a masher!
MM: (Comes out of her thoughts) What is going on here? What is that flashing light?
LL: (Steps up) It says here in this journal that Mary found out that the Mayor was frequently frequenting the Morson house and she asked the two of you to help convince him to shut it down. It goes on and I quote: “We want to get rid of Lulu La Deux and her ladies.” It also says that your plan was to go to the mayor without telling him that you knew, right Mrs. Magill?
MM: How did you get that journal?
MMM: (realizing the tables are turning) Mary? You are going to have to explain yourself!
PN: (reaching for the journal) You took that from me!
LL: I would never do anything so underhanded, Phoebe. Not even to you!
CS: (starts laughing and pointing) I told you that keeping a complete journal of women’s club details would bite you back!
PN: (ignoring CS) Of course you would be underhanded, Lulu La Deux!
EE: Not really, Miss Newberry. The really funny thing about you coming in to the café today is that there is a new man in town (points to RR who takes a bow and winks at PN), Robbie Roberts is his name. And even more than that, there is another new man here today, too. (Everyone looks around)
CS: Not Mr. Roberts?
LL: No, not Robbie Roberts.
PN: Who are you talking about?
EE&LL: We’d like you to meet, Buck Harrison. (OT stands and tips his hat them snaps another pic) He is the new owner of the Intermountain News!
3 Ladies: What?
MM: Did he take our picture just now?
PN: What about while we were Dancing?
CS: But I wasn’t dancing. I’m a Baptist!
LL: We all know that La pine is changing. Not everything can go on the way it always has.
PN: I’ll say not!
LL: Please, let me finish. I have lived here for a long time. I have some ideas about what would be good for La Pine, too.
EE: What she’s trying to say is that even though it hasn’t always been a town full of families and churches and schools for our children, it has always been a good place to live. This is a small town with a bright future!
LL: What you all need to know is that if you don’t want to play fair and let the town grow up with everyone giving their ideas about growth, I can guarantee that I have ways to influence the City council, too. And I don’t really want to go there!
3Ladies: You can’t be serious. It sounds like Blackmail!
LL: I am very serious, Ladies. Just look at yourselves. You three are so wound up that the minute you give yourself a chance to relax; you fit right in to the friendly side of La Pine. You had some tea, you relaxed, you laughed, you danced, and no one was hurt!
PN: This is ridiculous! We have a mission to…
LL: (interrupting) you have a mission to start changing for the good. If not, some of here in the café are ready to help you change!
OT: The front page article will read something like this: “Entertainment problem in La Pine reconsidered by local school marm, Phoebe Newberry, the Reverend Sutton’s wife, Cecelia, and Mayor Magill’ wife Mary. All three met with Mayor and others at Lulu’s Luncheonette over several cups of what ails them. See Photo. That should do it, don’t you think?
MMM: If it doesn’t do me first!
Stage: (3 ladies are in shock at first, and then they shrug and look around at all of their audience.
MM: What happened to the radio?
CS: Mary? (Lulu X US to turn the music on)
PN: (stands deliberately straight and X to RR) Want to dance, cowboy?
LL: (to OT and the Earps) Hmmmmm. If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. Looks like the school marm and her pals can learn to take as much as they give, huh?
EV: That teacher can dance, Huh?
OT: Smile. (Everyone, cheek to cheek smiles at the camera. There is a flash) Got it!
Posted in Original Stories by Teri Myers with no comments yet.
You can’t fool Lulu!
A One Act play by: T. Myers
Written as part two of
Lulu’s Luncheonette: The Revenge of the Recipe
100th birthday of La Pine, OR
Sept 24-25th 2010
Act II- Three scenes Women’s Club Meeting, the Dance, after the fire
Lulu LeDeux, our heroine, Café owner and entrepreneur in other areas.
Robbie Roberts, Ranch Boss at the Earp’s Ranch the Flying EEE!
Phoebe Newberry, School marm and social activist
Ernie Earp, County Commissioner Candidate ready to face the election in a month.
Evelyn Earp, Lulu’s best friend and former employee
Mikey the Kid
Vance, the other kid
Trapper/Intermountain News Newspaper Editor
Winnie Huhckorn, reporter
Fireman 1 Art
Mable Uecker, Lulu’s girl
Fireman 2 Dan
Gladys Varcoe, Lulu’s girl
Fireman 3 Darrell
Ingebord McAllister, café counter girl
Rev. Jeremiah Sutton
Mike Magill, Mayor
Mary Magill, Women’s Club President
Tom, the newcomer
Martha, his wife
Dr. Bert “Bones” Swendsen
Mrs. Bertha Swendsen
Ralph Garrett, President of the Ist. National Bank of La Pine.
Act II Scene 1-
A Women’s Club planning meeting is taking place on the lawn of the Rosland Campground on a Sunday after church. It is the weekly Sunday Social and the ladies are meeting to plan the fall social that they will be told about: A Sadie Hawkins Dance at the Grange Hall on Morson Street. We see that there have been a few membership changes to the group. After a revealing afternoon at the luncheonette in March, Lulu and some of her employees have joined the ranks of the WCOLP.
The meeting is about to heat up when long-time member and ousted Entertainment Chairman voices her concern about what is happening to the WCOLP membership and her strong concern over the scandalous idea of what she considers a ‘Christian’ group sponsoring 1., a dance, 2., where women ask men, 3., where people dress up in costumes, 4., that the WCOLP will use the money to have another party at Christmas and the worst thing, -5., there has been a request to serve tea at the dance!
Lulu is about to explain how the fall social will raise money for the town Christmas party and that it will be the beginning of many fun occasions in the area. With her planning, she will be able to make a dollar or two while the WCOLP
Women’s club president, Mary Magill, has completely endorsed all of Lulu’s, (our heroine and new Entertainment Chairman), ideas because she is excited to change the way the WCOLP operates in the township. Now that women all over the country can vote, Mary would like to be sure that women in her town vote about everything, and she asks for a vote whenever she can. Mike Magill has straightened up a bit and he spends more time in his council chambers these days. When Mike speaks about issues, Mary is much more cooperative. She is his biggest supporter.
Phoebe Newberry is now the political committee chairman and she could care less about anything political if it interrupts her time with her beau, Robbie Roberts.
Robbie has turned into a really important man in town. He manages the Earp ranch, has joined the volunteer firefighters and has organized several children’s recreational events. He even coaches an adult sports program at the White School.
Cecelia Sutton has convinced her Baptist Reverend husband, Jeremiah, that dancing is a great way to stay healthy and fit. He will not endorse the dance from the pulpit, but does everything he can to keep his wife happy and will be the first one through the doors, dressed as a biblical character- but whom will he choose? Cecelia is beside herself with glee about choosing a costume as a surprise for everyone. She is not thinking of a biblical character for herself.
Ralph Garrett, the local banker, is a hard-working fellow who works just as hard in the community to promote La Pine and its assets. Ralph loves his wife, Inez Garrett. Inez has a mean streak when she is on a tear. He wants to help her and keep her happy, but he thinks she is overboard on her anger towards Lulu. He constantly tries to calm her and distract her from her ire. Inez just wants things to go back to the way they were before the WCOLP admitted trash to their club.
The Intermountain News Editor has hired a lady reporter to work undercover in the WCOLP. He feels that something is just ready to blow and he wants the article to be a scoop for his paper. Winnie Huhckorn is more than equal to the task, and has made great friends with the ladies. They tell her everything and she writes about all of La Pine Society.
Ernie Earp is never around because he is campaigning for a seat on the Crook County Commission. His wife Evelyn Earp is now a silent partner in the Luncheonette and she has taken Lulu under her wing to teach her the ins and outs of being part of La Pine Society.
Mikey, the Kid, is now a busboy at the restaurant and he and his best friend Vance, the other kid, have started singing on Fridays after school to entertain the older kids who come into Lulu’s. They aspire to be part of the local band so they can play and sing at all of the dances. (That is the way they can get the 411 on everything that happens when the adults are out)
Several Months ago, when newcomer, Tom Gates, and his wife Martha, were eating in the luncheonette they were mesmerized by the events and Lulu’s friendliness and promised they’d be back. They have moved to La Pine full time from a place in northern California where Tom installed a telephone system. Turns out Martha is pretty handy herself. She is teaching all of the ladies how to use the latest bicycling exercise equipment to trim down and get fit. She even has designed a new costume that all of the ladies wear so they can ride bikes on the road, too.
Dr. Bert “Bones Swendsen has been delivering babies, treating the normal maladies, working on pets and livestock when he’s needed- and as he always says, “The more babies that you have, the more friends I have!” Bertha Swendsen is a lovely woman who is plagued with a case of incurable shyness. She does nothing to attract attention, but she supports many charities and events with her quiet reputation and her standing in La Pine Society. Lulu and her girls are going to surprise her for the Dance with what we call a makeover in today’s vernacular.
Mabel Uecker is now the manager of the Morson House and she fills in for Lulu when Lulu goes to Portland or San Francisco. She sings in the Choir at church and is amazingly talented at all manner of things that entertain. Gladys Varcoe plays piano for Lulu and she makes candy to sell at the restaurant. Ingebord McAllister is Lulu’s counter girl and also cooks. All three of them love Lulu and depend on her for their living.
Is there a storm brewing? Will the Women of La Pine raise the funds they need for a Christmas party for the entire town? Will Inez Garrett settle down and let things take their course? Is there a twist in the plot? Watch Lulu II for the answers to life’s questions.
Setting: The ladies are gathered at the end of summer at one end of Rosland Park for a planning session after lunch. (SL) There is a table covered with the remains of a potluck and a mean gavel to pound when Mary Magill wants to get everyone’s attention. The ladies are dressed in their summer attire, generally enjoying the last few days before school goes back into session. We see a couple of boys playing catch and a cluster of men talking together on the other side of the stage. (SR)
Mary M: I call this special meeting to order. Cecelia will you call roll? We don’t have minutes because Sarah could not come today. So if everyone is present, we can move on to new business. ( Inez starts grumbling and Mary shoots her a glance)
Cecelia: Oh, of course, dear. (As the names are called each lady replies.) Mary Magill? Phoebe Newberry? Lulu Ladeux? Bertha Swendsen? Evelyn Earp? Mabel Uecker? Inez Garrett? Ingebord McAllister? Gladys Varcoe? Wendy Huhckorn? Martha Gates? And, of course, I am also here. We have a quorum Mary!
Mary: Let’s get to it then, ladies. With the election of Lulu Ladeux at last month’s meeting to Entertainment Committee Chairwoman, we decided that she would present a plan for the Fall Social over at the Grange next month. Lulu are you ready?
Inez: Point of order, Mary. We do have old business to discuss first, please.
Mary: This is a special meeting that we called just for the planning of the Fall Social. Talk to me later so I can be sure your old business is on the agenda for the monthly meeting. Will that be all right?
Inez: (disheartened) All right. But I don’t want to go much longer without clearing up the membership matters.
Cecelia: What membership matters? We don’t have any membership matters, do we, Mary?
Mary: Not that I can think of.
Inez: Well, (looking at Lulu and her friends) we do have a few problems and I think they need to be addressed before the Fall Social.
Mary: Let’s go on everyone. Lulu, can you give us a report on what your committee has decided so far?
Lulu: Absolutely, Mary. Ladies, I am so excited about the committee’s recommendations. We hope you will love the ideas, too. First, we are going to try one of those new fangled Sadie Hawkins Dances!
(All the ladies look around mumbling, Especially Inez, who begins her routine of attention getting with a series of stretches, weird utterances and wiggles.)
Lulu: (Savvy to the way the women operate) Now ladies, let’s just figure this out. We need to have a fun event and this one lets the ladies ask the fellas and that way everyone gets a chance to come without the worries of being left out! Besides that, it is a chance to wear costumes and pretend we are someone else for the evening. (She notices that the women are paying close attention, now and she hits them with her best idea) You know how much money we could raise if half the town showed up at $.50/couple? Around $100.00! Think about it. We create a potluck buffet and the ladies decorate. We bring in some hay bales for atmosphere and make it look like a barn dance. We get the Armadillos to play music and we all have a great time while we raise enough money to foot the bill for the Christmas Program!
(The grumbling is turning to happy chatter and nodding heads)
Mary: (Raps her gavel for attention) Ladies, let’s listen to the menu for refreshments. What do your committee members propose, Lulu?
Lulu: We thought we would ask folks to bring casseroles, and desserts that are served in the fall. Sort of a harvest menu? That way we could use a cornucopia theme for table decorations. Hot apple cider would be good, and we could make coffee.
Gladys: How about some of your recipe tea? (All the ladies-except Inez- get very excited about the idea of having the tea)
Mary: I think that would be a splendid idea, Lulu! (Inez is ready to jump out of her chair. Mary puts her hand up- looks at Inez and continues) Lulu we love your idea of a Sadie Hawkins Dance, don’t we girls? (There is audible agreement)
Lulu: (Knowing how she is often judged, she uses her best manners) Thanks Mrs. Magill.
(There is visible excitement. The ladies are all talking about costumes and how the unmarried women will ask men to the dance. Inez is doing a slow burn)
Cecelia: Are we going to vote, Mary?
Mary: Of course we are going to vote, Cecelia. Do I have a motion? (Several women say I move that we- and break down with laughter) One at a time, please.
Ingebord: I move that we have a Sadie Hawkins Dance.
Mabel: I second it.
Mary: Is there any more discussion?
Inez: We cannot serve that tea at the dance. It is too…to…. Questionable. And a Dance? Really! We cannot sponsor a dance. It isn’t Christian. The fact that women ask men is too scandalous to think about. It is not proper!
Phoebe: Any punchbowl we have ever filled is questionable! As far as women dancing and asking their fellas, is a modern approach and we need to embrace the changes! You are just…
Inez: (Indignantly) You, of all people should know what I am talking about. Phoebe Newberry!
(The ladies get absolutely quiet)
Phoebe: I believe I do know what you are talking about. Are you trying to make a point, Inez?
Inez: The point was made over at Lulu’s Luncheonette earlier this year!
The ladies are ready for Phoebe to blow when Cecelia stands up just in time and innocently speaks)
Cecelia: (Dreamily, and without any sarcasm) I just cannot wait to dress up for the dance! I think I want to be Cleopatra or someone powerful like her.
Mary: (rapping her gavel again) There will time to sort out the details later. We have a motion on the table. Read the motion please, Cecelia.
Cecelia: Oh, yes, of course! Ingebord moved and Mabel seconded that we have a Sadie Hawkins Dance.
Bertha Swendsen: (shyly, softly) That is exactly correct.
Cecelia: What, dear?
Bertha: (A touch louder) I said that you were correct.
Mary: Is there any more discussion. (She doesn’t wait for another word) O. K. All in favor raise your hands. (One by one each lady at the meeting raises her hand except Inez, who folds her arms as closely as she can to her body.) Motion passes. (She bangs her gavel) Lulu when is your next planning meeting?
Lulu: What do you think ladies, How about tomorrow afternoon at the luncheonette for tea at two? (All the ladies jump up excitedly and call to their spouses to come and escort them away.)
Mary: (Bangs her gavel) Meeting adjourned. See you all tomorrow!
Inez: I am not through……….
Mary: You are for now, Inez.
(The war is now raging. And we see the couples leaning into each other chatting and pointing fingers towards Inez and Lulu-obviously discussing the clash. Lulu has walked over to Bertha and we see them talking before Dr Swendsen escorts his wife away. Lulu is left standing alone when the stage is empty. We see her thinking, writing something down and then she winks at the audience and walks away grinning BIG!)
Act II Scene 2 -We change to the night of the dance:
Scene 2: (The ladies have put the final touches on the decorations, filled the potluck table and are parading in their costumes. Everyone is very festive and happy. The hall fills as the music starts and we see the first dance- a lady’s choice. Several groups have formed, The volunteer firefighters, the Lulu Ladies, the church ladies, The Mayor and his wife, Rev and Mrs. Sutton, the newspaper people, and a couple of nosy boys who are there to help Lulu keep things organized. Each couple is announced and others try to guess the characters. The first song stops and people stop to talk with each other)
Rev. Sutton: (To the crowd gathered close to him) I did not know what I wanted to be. The idea of a costume is rather exciting, isn’t it? Does anyone recognize me?
Mike Magill: Are you a man from the Holy Book?
Rev: Good guess, Mike. But, who?
Ralph Garrett: Inez said you were going to try to be David as a young man. Where’s your slingshot?
Rev: I am not trying to be David! Try again.
Bones Swendsen: H-m-m-m. Let me see. (He rubs his chin in thoughtful consideration) Are you a disciple?
Ernie Earp: (Just arriving with his wife) I see that you brought your son tonight. Are you Abraham?
Rev: What has my boy got to do with Abraham? (He realizes that Abraham almost sacrificed his son on the altar and he starts laughing hard) Good one, Ernie! No I will not be roasting the boy later this evening! But, I am not Abraham, either!
Dan Varcoe: (A little sloshed already walks right into the middle of the group and asks) -Who are you, Reverend Sutton, Moses?
Rev: (A bit peeved at this raucous reveal) Well, actually, Dan my son, I am.
Bones: (Patting Dan on the back) Good job, Dan. We couldn’t figure it out.
Dan: (feeling a little proud) Well I just thought that Rev. Sutton would want to be a big character and he looks like a Moses to me. See you later, men. I have a dance coming up and I got get loosened up. (Dan saunters across the floor, does a couple of turns and walks to his date for the evening, the lovely Gladys.)
(On the other side of the floor we see a few ladies talking. All of them have a dance card and small pencil hanging from their wrist)
Cecelia: You know if anyone figures out who Jeremiah is he will be very disappointed. He wants to announce his character when he says the prayer before dinner. (She looks over at the men and sees her husband looking deflated) Oh, well. (She sighs) It looks like someone named him and the cat is out of the bag.
Mary: Why do some people get upset about things like that? Oh look, here comes Robbie Roberts and Phoebe. Aren’t they a handsome couple? (We see the handsome ranch hand and his date dressed up like a couple of high school kids ready for the cotillion) Good evening, Mr. Roberts. Phoebe. How lovely to see you.
Robbie: Howdy Ma’am. It is always a pleasure when we get to socialize a bit. (He leans in) Is your dance card full yet, Miss Mary?
Mary:(flirty) Robbie Roberts! You are shameless! I can put you down for the 3rd dance after the break, if you are so inclined!
Robbie: I would never think of missing out on a dance with you Miss Magill. And, Miss Sutton? When will I have the pleasure of dancing with you?
Cecelia: My card is empty. The reverend won’t dance. He’s a Baptist, you know.
Robbie: Then how about number five after the break? (Cecelia hands him her card and he pencils in his name.) See you gals later. Come on Phoebe girl. They are revving up for a two-step.
Phoebe: I’m ready if you are! (Robbie whirls her around and the couple leaves for the dance floor)
Cecelia: Aren’t they sweet? At least I will get to dance this evening.
Inez: (She works her way into the middle of the group between Cecelia and Mary) You are not going to dance! You are the Minister’s wife, for heaven’s sake!
(Lulu has come to see what is going on. With her is the newly made over Mrs. Bertha Swendsen. She looks mui caliente!))
Lulu: Of course she will dance, and so will the rest of us. It is healthy and lots of fun. I don’t know how this no dancing thing started with some of you. Look over there. Even the Reverend himself is dressed up for a fun evening. Can’t we just stop all of this pettiness and enjoy the evening?
Mary: Right. (Knowing how to push the right buttons) Inez, maybe a nice cup of tea would make you feel more relaxed. I want one myself. Come with me. (She holds Inez’s arm and starts to move her over towards the refreshments)
Inez: (Pulling away) Don’t worry, Mary. I am perfectly relaxed. I am just looking forward to what happens next! I am sure this will be an eventful evening and I am here for the long haul, ladies. You go ahead with whatever you want to do. I have business to take care of! (Inez turns and walks away towards her husband, but turns and goes outside instead.)
Lulu: I wonder what she means by that?
Evelyn: (Joining her friend) Me, too. She’s got her claws sharpened, for sure.
Lulu: Well, keep your eyes open, Evvy. You too, Bertha!
Evelyn: I will, Lulu. (Bertha nods her agreement)
Editor: How are you ladies this evening?
Lulu: I guess we are doing fine. How about you?
Editor: I just have the feeling that there is a story waiting to be discovered, if you know what I mean.
Lulu: I do know what you mead. We were just talking about how Inez Garrett is behaving a little superior tonight.
Editor: More than usual?
Evelyn: I reckon so. She seems ready to explode. She was very unhappy when she lost her Entertainment Chairmanship with the WCOLP. And, she has been after Lulu since!
Editor: Ralph? (He calls the banker over) Is Inez doing well this evening?
Ralph: I never know with her. But she has a bee in her bonnet about something tonight. I am fixing to stay busy as long as I can- if you know what I mean?
Lulu: Try to get her to loosen up a little, Ralph. She needs to relax.
Editor and Ralph: (together) Tell us about it!
Ralph: She is a little high strung, you know!
Editor: I will have Wendy watch her, okay? Maybe there is a story after all!
(Inez comes back in after a few minutes. The boys almost knock her to the floor as they run out the door. The music plays and we hear (directed and planned) impromptu comments from the actors about this and that as they dance and pretend to hide their drinking. Inez plants herself on Stage left and is watching. Her hubby sips a little of the recipe with the boys and for a couple of minutes and tries to stay under the radar. Inez has collected herself nicely and looks splendid in the role of queen bee. Bertha has worked herself across the stage and takes up residence next to Inez. She is gorgeous. The two take sideways glances at each other. We see the judgment going on. The reporter has situated herself by the two ladies and is busy taking notes. Everyone appears to be enjoying the dance when the boys rush in and cross to LULU.)
Mikey: (DC) Lulu, something’s burning outside. We could smell it in the air.
Lulu: What do you mean fellas?
Vance: (Running across to Mikey and Lulu) There is a fire somewhere. You can smell it as soon as you walk outside. What do you want us to do?
Lulu: Find Art and the boys and send them to me, and then you go back out to scout for whatever is burning. It has been dry this summer, and if there is a fire near here, it’ll be dangerous.
Mikey and Vance: We’ve got it Lulu! (They take off around the room and then go out the door. The firemen arrive from different sides of the room and Lulu fills them in)
Lulu: Hey fellas, we may have a little problem on our hands. The boys went outside and they smell fire in the air. I had them go back and scout it out. They will be back in a couple of minutes.
Art: Dan, did you fill the tanker after the practice meeting last Saturday?
Dan: Sure thing, Art. You can count on, (hiccup) me.
Darrell: I checked the hoses, too. We have everything ready, all we have to do is hook up the horses and get her going to the site of a fire, Art.
Art: Good job fellas. Now, quietly walk around the room and let the men know what is happening. Dan you take that side, and Darrell you start over there. (Pointing)
(The boys rush in again. This time they don’t hold back)
Mikey: Fire! There are a couple of fires!
Vance: There’s fire at Lulu’s Luncheonette. The wall is on fire in the back of the building- what’s worse? There is another one down the block at the Morson House. Lulu’s is really on fire.
Mikey: Right now it is just in the shed in back. So if we hurry we can get that one put out.
Mike Magill: We need to organize. Rev., Can you collect the buckets and take a couple of fellas to the Morson House? Art, you take the men and get the fire tanker and meet the rest of us over at Lulu’s. Boys, you need to be our communication and run back and forth with news. Ladies, we will need you, too. Get ready to pass buckets of water.
(The town knows how to work together to put out fires. The people start to leave to their assignments.)
Mike: Mary, I need you to help here. Keep Lulu with you. We’ll take care of it.
Lulu: But I have to go and help. It’s my place going up in smoke. (She notices that Inez is still sitting across the room. Lulu watches her stand and slowly move towards the door)
Mary: Stay with me, Lulu. It will be fine. We may need to help in different ways. You are the only lady here that can help Doc Swendsen if anyone gets hurt. We need to be ready because they will bring the injured here.
Lulu: Mary, why is Inez here?
Mary: She probably wants to keep her dress clean. I don’t really know. Come on. Let’s make more tea and get the food ready. If the men and ladies are working hard, they will need some food. If anyone gets hurt, they will need you!
Inez: (Approaches them) This is a fine kettle of fish isn’t it?
Mary: You need to go out and help the others.
Inez: Why isn’t Lulu going? It is her property after all.
Lulu: Doc Swendsen asked me to be here to help with taking care of the firefighters.
Inez: That’s just like you. You have turned into a real helpful woman. Well, I guess I’ll be off if the two of you have it handled.
Mary: We’re fine. Inez.
Lulu: Where did you go earlier? I see that you have some pumice dust on your dress. It was not there when we talked a while ago?
Inez: Who me? I was outside in the front for a while, that’s all! (She leaves)
Lulu: Mary, that red dust on Inez’ skirt hem is only found down on the lot next to Morson House. Everyone else has gray pumice and cinders. I have to go tell the mayor.
Mary: Get going, Lulu. I’ll hold down the fort.
(Fade to black)
Act II Scene 3: It is nearly dawn. The fires are out and everyone is coming back into the Grange Hall. There were no injuries and the dancers are now a charcoal covered/dirty bunch of worn out firefighters. The people are trying to figure out why and how such a terrible thing happened. They talk as they enter then quiet down to match the tone of the room. Lulu and her friends enter. She is looking for someone and spots Inez Garrett sitting with her cronies. She walks over to a new man who turns around when she taps on his shoulder and we see that he is a lawman.
Sheriff: How are you Lulu? Looks like they caught the fire in time to save your business. (She nods but is clearly watching Inez Garrett)) The other fire was not very threatening, but you are one lucky gal. If we needed any more water, we would be cooking over the coals by now!
Lulu: Right Sheriff. I need to tell you something. Can we speak more privately?
Sheriff: I reckon so, Miss Lulu. Let’s go over there (pointing to a clear spot on the other side of the stage.) All right now. What seems to be the problem?
Lulu: (quietly) I think that I know who set those fires.
Sheriff: I do, too. Someone told me that there are two boys running around here that are the likely suspects. They were probably trying to smoke and set fire by accident.
Lulu: Wait a minute Sheriff. This was no accident and the boys are not the suspects. (Mary and the Mayor walk up) I saw someone leave the dance and come back in before the boys ever went outside. Before and after that, all the boys did was help all of us.
Mary: That’s right sheriff! They came in and told us there was smoke in the air and then they went out and helped find the fires.
Lulu: (Secretive) That same person showed up with red pumice dust on the hem of her clothes and you know where that comes from, don’t you? It is the only place downtown that has a red road. And I know for a fact that the dust was not there earlier in the evening.
Mayor and Mary: That’s right, Sheriff!
Sheriff: So you are all saying that one of the ladies started the fire?
Lulu: Started it and came back to watch what happened!
Sheriff: Let me investigate a little and I will get back to you. Who do you think it is? (Lulu leans over and whispers in his ear.) I’ll be back soon. (To mayor) Mike get Robbie Roberts and Ernie to help you keep…(leans in close to talk privately)
(On other side of the stage, Inez is busy talking about how she passed the buckets along as fast as a man)
Inez: And as far as I know, if they had not put the fire out, they would have run out of water and the restaurant would have burned to the ground. Ralph will have to get money for Lulu to repair the walls. And that is going to be difficult, what with money being so tight. I guess we’ll have to say goodbye to Miss Ladeux. Too Bad!
Cecelia: That will be too bad! Maybe the women’s Club can help her.
Inez: (Registering anger) I don’t think that would be a good idea!
Evelyn: Of course not, Inez. That would ruin your plans to get rid of Lulu, wouldn’t it? (Lulu crosses to Evelyn)
Lulu: I’m not going anywhere. (Editor, reporter and others gather up around her and give a little hoo-ray!) The luncheonette will open Monday on Schedule. By then I will have fresh supplies and the storage area will be on its way to gettin’ fixed!
Inez: (Sticks nose in air) Not my concern.
Sheriff: But it was your concern early in the evening, wasn’t it Mrs. Garrett?
Inez: (Looking for her husband) Ralph? -What are you saying, Sheriff?
Sheriff: First, let me ask you to come out here in front and show me that splendid costume you have on.
Inez: With pleasure, Sheriff. (Succumbing to the Sheriff’s charms. Robbie quickly takes her hand and spins her around onto the empty floor. Inez is taken with the idea of Robert’s paying attention to her and does not realize what the Sheriff has up his sleeve)
Sheriff: (With Ernie at his side) That is one fine dress Mrs. Garrett.
(Robbie stops her and does his famous dip, throwing Inez off balance then he steadies her and stops her in front of the crowd. Lulu moves in from the other side and the Sheriff walks around her one more time. By now the crowd is passing the word that the Sheriff is going to arrest her. They all anticipate the next move.)
Sheriff: Well, Mrs. Garret. I am certainly in an awkward position here. It seems that earlier this evening you left the dance and came back a little while later. Is that correct?
Inez: No. I did not leave.
Lulu: there are witnesses who saw you leave and when you came back in, the boys nearly sideswiped you.
Inez: Well, it’s true I took a breath of fresh air. The dance hall was getting too hot and a lady never perspires. It just is not done. I had to cool off.
Sheriff: When you came in your dress hem was covered in red dust, Mrs. Garrett. In fact, it is still very visible right there. (Pointing)
Inez: I thought I brushed that off. (Covers her mouth with her hand like an OOPS!)
Lulu: You started those fires tonight Inez. (Inez says No) Then you came back. You did not know that I was letting the boys off for a little break before they went to serving, did you? (Inez shakes her head no)
Ralph: (Standing next to Lulu and the news editor) Inez Fowler Garrett! What have you done?
Sheriff: She committed arson, Ralph.
Mary: All over the fact that she did not want Lulu to run the dance?
Inez: No that’s not it, I did not want Lulu to belong to our wonderful club. She’s not our kind. She doesn’t belong here with polite society. If I burned her out, she’d have to leave! You know what she is, Mary. Don’t you see?
Cecelia: So you were saving us from her? You are the one who is criminal here, Inez Garrett.
Rev: Don’t be too harsh, Cecelia. What is going to happen here Sheriff?
Sheriff: I can take her over to Prineville and lock her up or Mayor, you can lock her up here until we can have the judge come down.
Lulu: Wait, Sheriff! I have a better idea. I won’t press charges if she pays for the damages to my buildings and does some projects for the community.
Ralph: Of course she will pay for the damages, won’t you Inez? Sheriff, she will also do whatever it takes to pay the citizens back for missing their dance and working to save those buildings. Right, Snookums?
Inez: Whatever you say, dear
Editor: We need someone who will take care of the 4th of July Celebration every year!
Robbie: And the Rodeo!
Wendy the reporter: And the Summer Fair!
Bertha Swendsen: And the fundraising for the new clinic!
(Inez is starting to shrink visibly)
Lulu: I know how you operate, Inez. You plan down to the tiniest detail and work hard until everything is perfect. Don’t you? (Inez nods yes) I think Inez should create a big celebration and call it something- something Frontier Days. She could work hard on it all year and with Ralph, she could put on La Pine’s best party yet! And pay for the fireworks, too.
(The entire town has sparked up and comment in the affirmative)
Sheriff: Do we have a deal? (Inez shakes her head yes. Ralph and she walk to the side)
Lulu: What we need now is some good food, some good music and some good dancing. What do you say, everyone?
Editor: Don’t move. We need a picture, first! (Snap. Snap. Snap) Wendy, you get interviews for the paper, and I will get our two heroes on stage for a song!
Wendy: Right, Boss!
(The couples take up positions for the two-step while Mikey and Vance get ready to sing a song. Lulu stands with her hands on her hips and steps forward to speak to the audience Everything comes to a stop while she talks.)
Lulu: Here we are, folks. You just never know what will happen when a woman gets a bee in her bonnet! (Chuckles) Sometimes you have a nice dance, the town catches fire and when the fire is out, everyone goes home feeling satisfied and happy. Sometimes you lose an enemy and gain a slave. Sometimes a person makes an error in judgment and it causes a chain reaction of events that results in a good thing for everyone involved. That’s what happened tonight. Looks like La Pine will just keep growing and going forward. We are going to get our representation on the county commission next month and business is better than ever. I think I’ll sit and relax for a while. Any one want a cup of tea? (Music plays, Lulu pours herself as big cup of the recipe and puts her feet up and the people dance while the two boys sing us out….)
Posted in Original Stories by Teri Myers with no comments yet.
The Baker’s Club
By T. Myers
This is a two act play with four characters: 2-3 women and/or 1-2 men (Chris can be played either way)
Evelyn “Eve”: 40-50 Hippie/Earth muffin type who dropped back in and is a lawyer, but constantly reverts to her liberal ideas.
Sam: 40-50 Small business owner, bachelor who is domestically challenged but incredible with mechanical things. Dabbles in every new age thing that comes down the pike, always looking for Mrs. Right
Janet: 30-40 The perfect single mom who works as a painter. She started teaching and found that it cut into her personal schedule as an artist.
Chris: 50-60 Perpetually unemployed between big career breaks. Has experienced flashes of greatness and equal amounts of failure.
Staging: The play takes place in a big kitchen/dining room with plenty of room for the four friends to sit and visit or work to bake/cook. There needs to be a large dining table and chairs for their meals and basic visits on stage right. A long counter for them to stand behind while they mix their food items in center stage and the supplies, oven, sink, fridge go from up center to stage left. The counter and table area must be situated for easy movement around the areas and between the two. Everything must be dressed appropriately. The stage must be big enough for dance and movement.
The scenario/set-up: These friends have been meeting for several years and have fine-tuned their times together to take on learning a new cuisine for each monthly meeting. They bake and cook a meal for the family/friends that join them at the end of the day and they have morphed as a group to accommodate the changes in their lives and relationships. They are fast friends that never let anything get in the way of their Baker’s Club meetings and occasionally will set up a special meeting to cook up the solution to a personal crisis. It is a contract that, unlike most social obligations, takes precedence in each of their minds as they meet today for the latest session.
(Enter the group into the kitchen where they will spend the day)
Sam: I’ll get the lights (crosses to turn on lights and then he goes to the coffee pot and starts the coffee
Eve: Looks like we won’t have to do much cleaning before we start. It was a good idea getting the cleaning service to come in last night. (she packs some things over to the back counter and sets them out)
Chris: I don’t see why it gets so dirty between meetings, but the grit just filters in. You know? If I don’t find a job soon, I might reopen the place. Espresso bar this time? What do you guys think? (starts walking through the room looking at the possibilities and finally sits at the table)
Sam: Coffee will be ready in a minute. How about one of those fancy dinner places, Chris? Where they make reservations for seatings and you serve them what you want to cook that night? I went to a couple of them up in Portland and I always had a good time.
Chris: I’ll think about it. That might work here. Bend had one of those places a few years ago. I wonder what happened to it? (Janet shrugs her shoulders)
Janet: (Hands back on hips she examines the table) I’m hungry! Should I set the table for breakfast? What are we having today, Evelyn?
Eve: I brought croissants, fancy butter, jam and cheese and some fruit. French!
Janet: So we‘ll need the big au lait cups and some milk heated up, too. I’ll get it. (Music: Janet goes to the cupboard to get the table items and Sam moves from the coffee pot to the center and hands her a pan, Eve moves from the back counter to get the milk and continues around the front of the baking counter with an armful of breakfast items for the table while Chris moves to the opposite side of the counter and gets the coffee cups. NOTE: every time one of them moves, the others adjust like clockwork to create ongoing movement on the set. Ike a clock ticking. Through the rest of this part of the scene, they are setting the table, setting up the baking chore and getting things ready for the rest of the work- the patterning continues)
Sam: Are we going to start the bread before we eat?
Chris: We better get that out of the way and let it rise while we visit.
(This is an ad lib cooking class on bread making led by Chris and followed by the others at there usual places around the counter. As soon as the bread is mixed, covered and set on the back counter, they clean up and then to the food)
Janet: Sam? Did you bring your diet Dr. Pepper?
Sam: Right here! (Hands her the pop for the table and heads to the kitchen fridge to put the others away)
Eve: This reminds me of when we first started meeting! (She has a pitcher full of OJ) Do you guys remember what it was like when we started the club? Our first real meeting?
Janet: I do! I came the first couple of times and I had to buy my first freezer. And we filled it up so fast that I needed more room!
Sam: After the third month I bought a second freezer and it still wasn’t enough! At first I thought that I would be able to cook enough food every month, so that I would have something to pull out if I brought a girl home for dinner, but I could never find anything because there was too much stuff on the freezer shelves, so I kept it in my fridge, or took it to my folks’.
Eve: It was when I bought my third freezer at the end of the ninth monthly meeting, that I called that first “special” meeting. Midnight Margaritas Meeting number one!
Chris: An official off shoot of the Baker’s Club to discuss an emergency situation, if I recall correctly! How many pitchers did we drink that night? I remember that I was working the following Monday and I still felt shaky. It’s probably why I opened the restaurant. Besides, I had all of those meals and desserts in my three freezers- Oh God! Remember that salesman at Johnson Brothers Appliance Store? He thought we were crazy. We came in two times and bought freezers for everyone- on the fleet plan!
Janet: I remember the night we drank at least four pitchers of those deluxe margaritas. And, while we hammered out how to keep US together and not cook our way straight to heaven, we decided to meet for holiday baking, but with no meal preparation! We held our second margarita meeting that night!
Sam: (Dreaming about the first cooking extravaganzas) Sometimes I miss having to get a hold of the Tupperware lady, though. She was hot!
Eve: Everyone is hot, Sammy. All they have to do is move in a semi-upright fashion and you start assessing whether they have the potential to mother your progeny!
Chris: That’s not fair! I know that Sam doesn’t want children!
Janet: I hate to stop the nostalgia, but I’m hungry.
Sam: Coffee’s ready, too.
Eve: Is the milk hot? The food is ready.
Chris: Looks like its time to eat.(Everyone sits at the table and pours coffee drinks, Dr. Pepper, and grabs rolls and starts the meal. During the course of the conversation they talk about who’s coming to dinner, what they are cooking and …)
Janet: Remember when we went to Paris the first time? We stayed in that little hotel on the RUE DE PASPAIL and we got up and went down for the continental breakfast. All those Swedish female tennis players were filling the dining room. We were eating the very same thing that day, too.
Sam: Really? I don’t remember much about what we had for breakfast until we went to Chartres and Versailles. I loved those little cheese shops. Fromageries! It’s where I learned how to say fourteen in French! Catorce, monsieur.
Eve: What about Brunhilde the Alsacian Chef? We wanted to learn nouvelle French Cuisine and she taught German cooking.
Chris: Alsace Lorraine was occupied by both Germany and France. She was the German part.
Eve: But we were there for classes in French cooking!
Janet: And you got some personal instruction, didn’t you?
Eve: Yeah, but not about cooking!
Janet: It was French wasn’t it?
Eve: Oh yes, indeed-y!
Chris: Sam, do you need another Dr. Pepper? ( He shakes his head yes) How does that stuff go with cognac?
Eve: I thought we were cooking Greek food!
Janet: We are. But, were having French food for breakfast! (She pulls a big bottle of cognac out from under the table and she pours each of them a small snifter to drink while they discuss the dinner menu)
Sam: Did we decide who was coming to dinner? I invited two new friends I met at the video store. They’re both hot- one lady, and one guy, for you Janet! By the way who is doing the salad course?
Janet: I am.
Sam: I brought some fresh mint and dill weed from the greenhouse.
Janet: Great! Thanks. It’ll be so much better than the dry stuff. I think I have everything else for the best salad ever! I invited that couple from the construction business that I told you about. They both love to travel and just got back from Greece in December. Should be able to critique the food, don’t you think?
Sam: I’ve got the meat course and we’re having chicken in the style of Mikos. We need to get it into the oven ASAP if we want to do the two stages around bread baking. Is Jerry coming tonight, Eve?
Eve: No, not tonight. He’s off channeling wind or something. I asked that Rasta kid that I defended for selling pot. He is bringing his guitarist and his drum so we can have some music. Back to the food, we ought to have a good rice dish, but I decided we’ll make tabouleh and I brought some baba ganoush and humuus for appetizers- with some of that great pita bread from Nature’s. I want to do a bed of freshly steamed spinach and oranges for the base, too.
Chris: I have two friends from Reiki class that swear they were trojan soldiers in a past life. That ought to be interesting, huh? And I have the philo dough and almonds for my rendition of baklava. Is anyone bringing Ouzo and Retsina to the dinner tonight?
Sam: I didn’t know the plan, so I picked up a half case of white Retsina and one bottle of Ouzo for the toasts!
Janet: That‘ll do Pig! Well, are we ready?
(Everyone raises their glasses, clink them and toast together)
All: Let’s get cooking!
(Each of them takes out a little journal/cookbook they all carry, so they can write the menu and preparation directions for all of the dishes. They move to the bread bowls and do the bread kneading to music and dance, shaping the dough and putting it on the big pans assembly line fashion, each doing their part to get it to the final raised stage. Then Sam takes center and starts over for the chicken recipe. As each person does his/her specialty, they move to the center and the others rotate into place)
Sam: (Sam brings on the chicken) Make sure that the chicken is completely dry. Okay. Take your extra virgin olive oil and rub it all over both sides. Not too heavy. Think glistening. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and put it on the baking sheet. 350 degrees for an hour with four bastings and a final heat-up before dinner. (He slides it right into the oven)
Janet: Why are we using chicken quarters instead of breasts?
Sam: The meat needs to be juicy and this way it will have a better flavor and cook more evenly. Besides it is all I could afford! Are you ready to make the brush on marinade?
All: Let’s do it. (they grab their pencils and record the recipe)
Sam: In a bowl I mix the marinade. I’ll give you the basic, okay? Use about ½ cup fresh orange juice and 3 Tablespoons of good oil. I usually break 3 cloves of garlic and slice it thinly. I like 1 white onion, but any will do. As long as you mince it finely it will cook up and brown as you brush the sauce on the meat during cooking- every fifteen minutes or less, depending on the size of the legs. Into the oil and juice, add a teaspoon of dill weed and salt and pepper to make it savory. Remember to double it for every four people because you really need to. I have a triple recipe here. It might take longer than an hour for so much meat so check it. Take it out and pour off the juice and cool it down Heat it again right before serving and the flavors intensify. I add fresh dill tonight when I serve it. (He directs the cleanup and starts to make coffee again)
Eve: Good job! My turn? We need to steam the spinach right before the meal is served so I’ll use 2 large bags in the steamer for ten minutes and then I’ll sprinkle on the juice of a lemon mixed with juice of an orange and we’ll grate zest of both on the bed of spinach we put under the chicken. It goes great with chicken or fish!
Chris: Do we put butter on it?
Eve: No oil or butter. Just the spinach. If you’ll all help do that later, for now, let’s make the tabouleh. Janet will you start the bulghar wheat? We’ll need 6-8 cups. Chris, grab the tomatoes and parsley. Janet, be sure to use a little extra salt. And rinse it with the coldest tap water to reduce the temp quickly. Sam, I need you to juice some lemons, 4 probably and zest them first so we have plenty of flavoring for later. I’ll get the garlic ready. I will put it all in the big silver bowl, here. Okay, we need to dice the tomatoes and rough chop the two bunches of parsley. Make sure its flat leafed parsley. The other kind tastes like you want to make tea out of it. Eve, we need equal tomatoes and wheat. So 6-8 cups diced. So we get all of it together and add the dressing and put it in the fridge for marrying. (They work at it until it is ready to go. Then Eve adds the last ingredients) Mix everything up add the parsley and a diced white onion and pour some olive oil on it and mix it until it glistens. Add the lemon juice a little at a time and sprinkle on the salt and pepper. It should be slightly sour, but not puckery, okay?
Chris: Here are the rest of the tomatoes, Eve. So that’s how you do it. I love this stuff. Anything with fresh lemon juice is great. Did you taste this? (Passes a spoon to everyone) Yummy!
Janet: Am I next? (They clean up and switch places while they keep going)
Chris: Can I wait until later? Because my baklava has to be crispy and we still need to bake the bread first.
Janet: Okay, then. I’m on! I am doing the Greek Salad. I knew you were doing the tabouleh, Eve, so I thought that I’d do a sweet and sour dish. Here are the ingredients for a salad for a crowd. 3-5 containers of grape tomatoes- its important to use grape tomatoes because cherry tomatoes are too big and if you use the kind you have to cut, you can’t make them ahead of time and the leftovers will turn to mush. So 3-5 containers of grape tomatoes, a really big sweet onion sliced in thin, tiny strips, a pound of mixed Greek olives, a pound of green seedless grapes, 2 pounds of red seedless grapes, 4-5 ribs of celery, diced into ½ inch cubes, a turnip, a rutabaga, a parsnip, a yam, any other root vegetable all diced to ½ cubes, 1-2 zucchini, sliced or diced, and then make the dressing: ( Everyone chops and adds to the second bowl) I like light olive oil and fresh lemon juice or a flavored fruit vinegar as the base. Add a handful of dill weed, a bunch of fresh mint- spearmint if possible, but peppermint will do, and make it into a schiffenade. 4-5 garlic cloves or a Tablespoon of the jar kind and a dash of oregano. Mix it all together and add a little sugar at a time until you get the sweet and sour taste just right. Pour it on, mix it up taste it to adjust the flavorings- nothing should overpower the other- and chill it. We’ll use the bread with it and the dinner entrée.
Sam: I have to brush the chicken! And then it’s time for a coffee break.
(Music again: They do the cleanup thing and Chris sets up the baklava supplies and all of them head for the table for “Coffee”)
All: Coffee talk!
Janet: It is time for Bailey’s and coffee. (she pulls a second bottle out. And pours some into her coffee and passes it on)
Eve: What do you think? Baileys and Dr. Pepper? (She pours a glass for Sam. She generously adds to her coffee)
Sam: It’s good with coke, why not? (He takes a big shlurg and wipes his happy mouth- evidence of his satisfaction that Dr. Pepper is the all time drink of choice.)
Chris: No thanks, I’m watching my blood sugar. My Diabetes is under control and I don’t want to screw up so early in the day.
Janet: How does it work for you, being a gourmet and all?
Chris: I test my blood a couple of times every day and I take medicine in the morning and at night. Most of the time, it works pretty well for me. I eat and drink normally and just watch the times when I add sugar, so that I can increase my exercising to compensate.
Eve: So, if you were to say, drink a glass of Bailey’s with us, what would you have to do?
Chris: I could walk in place for a few minute- 20, and that would level it down.
Janet: Come on, everyone off their duffs! We’re having a Baileys with Chris. (They pour a glass and all start walking in place to music while they drink and chat)
Chris: What the heck! Follow me!
All: Let’s keep cooking! (Begin a walk-talk that is like a vaudeville presentation- each one of them will check the basting and baking tasks as they continue through the process)
Chris: Say Janet, did you see that show on Dr. Phil, about women who can’t keep a man?
Janet: No, Chris. What was it about?
Chris: A bunch of women and their old boyfriends who autopsied their broken relationships.
Janet: What did they find out?
Chris: That they could learn from what went wrong before and try it again with someone else! (Janet thinks about it and floats back, checks the baking- Chris moves over and Eve moves forward)
Eve: Oprah was talking about depression again last Monday.
Chris: That’s a good day to talk about depression- Monday!
Eve: I was wondering how you were doing. Looking for work is always such a hard thing to do.
Chris: Not finding a job id what I do best. I’ve had so much practice, I’m thinking of writing my own book…Depending on the Kindness of Strangers and other things that make Blanche tick! (Chris moves back, checks the baking and Sam comes forward)
Sam: How many years have you been talking about dumping your husband, Evelyn?
Eve: How many years have I known you?
Eve: I’ve been married for twelve years, so- about twelve years!
Sam: Why do you stay with him? I’ve been to Europe with you three times and I still haven’t met him. (loudly) Has anyone here met Jerry?
All: No, we have not met Jerry!
Sam: So, why haven’t we met Jerry, Eve? You always tell us that he is channeling the wind or poking around in the rocks. (Eve stays quiet)
Janet: (moves up to the other side of Eve) Sam is right. You have met our families and friends, yet Jerry never shows up for anything we do- not even Disneyland!
Eve: It’s too hard for him to make it. He’s happy where he is.
Sam: Come on, Eve! We want to meet him.
Janet: I think we should go over there for a Margarita Meeting. We can autopsy their relationship and find out why Jerry doesn’t support his wife. (She moves back and Chris comes forward)
Chris: So why do you stay with him, anyway?
Eve: Don’t have a choice.
Janet: You don’t have a choice?
Sam: Everyone has a choice, Eve.
Eve: Maybe if I forgot about him and moved away.
Sam: Now you’re talking!
Janet: Move away and start a new life, that’s what I always do!
Chris: We can talk about that later! (to Eve) So? Why don’t you leave him?
Eve: Do you remember that Arthur Kopit play, Oh, Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung him in the closet and I’m feeling so sad?
Chris: I do. It was so macabre and so-o-o-o funny.
Eve: The woman’s husband died and she had him stuffed so she could take him everywhere to remind her not to remarry. There was a hitch though,
Chris: Her one night of passion with her husband resulted in a child.
Eve: I really related to that play- on so many levels.
Janet and Sam: So why are you telling us this?
Eve: Jerry died and I stuffed him!
All: You, what?
End act one
(the smells of food are emanating from the kitchen and the four friends are sitting around the table talking over what to do about Eve’s revelation)
Sam: You are a lawyer, Eve. Is it legal to do that sort of thing?
Eve: Sort of. I had the funeral and then I went back to the plot, opened the box and took him up to our shed and started the work. And he looks pretty good if I do say so myself. He was Jewish so he was still fresh- so to speak.
Janet: I don’t get it, Eve. What possessed you to do it?
Eve: We had only been married a few months when he fell out of the tree and broke his neck. Snap! I guess I should say that I was in shock. I was. Anyway- Jerry loved the play, too and I joked about being Mrs. Rosepetal. I just thought that there was a karmic thing about it.
Sam: Does anyone else know?
Chris: Where do you keep him?
Janet: Don’t tell us you hang him in the closet!
Eve: Uh, Huh!
Chris: What was that line? Most of the time everything is fine, but if you open the door up too fast, he’ll fall out and your whole day is shot to hell! (laughs)
Eve: Sort of!
Janet: We’d better get the rest of dinner ready, we’re running out of time. But we’re not through with this conversation yet, Eve.
Eve: I know. We can deal with it later.
Chris: Let’s make the bakalava. (Chris leads them all over to the counter and the three of them stand opposite the Black widow, Eve- acting all booga-booga, then they break into laughter) Do we at least get to see him finally?
Eve: I guess so. You’ll love him! Well -appreciate my artistic talents!
Sam: I don’t see almonds.
Chris: And you won’t. This is my recipe so get ready. You prepare the dough with melted butter, two sheets at a time in the same way, but now is the twist, I am using boysenberries and walnuts instead of the standard honey, lemon juice, almonds and butter mixture. Chop the berries- fresh or frozen- and mix them with the chopped walnuts. Sprinkle the bits thickly all over the prepared sheets of Philo. Mix up the honey, lemon and butter and pour it over the pan of berries nd nuts. Cover it with four or six more sheets of prepared dough and pour more syrup over that and bake at 350 for 20-35 minutes until all of it is browned and puffy. I cut them in diamonds when they cool down. I call them Boysenberry Bobs! What do you think? (Chris slides them into the oven) Oila!
Sam: Okay, Eve. We know what’s hiding in your closet. What about the rest of you? (they start the clean up and Janet moves to set the table)
Janet: How much do you want to know?
Janet: You know my issues about being controlled. Well, I left Mortie because he wouldn’t even let me write a check. And he kicked the dog.
Sam: I can top that. I got a girl pregnant back in high school. My folks made my girlfriend get an abortion when I was sixteen years old. I never got a chance to see her again. She left me and the area. It’s all I ever think about. My kid would be grown up with babies of his own by now. I guess that is why I want kids and why I don’t deserve any.
Chris: So we are exposing skeletons, are we?
Eve: Your turn!
Chris: (Table setting rag)
I got somethin’ to tell ya’
I got somethin’ bigger than life to tell ya’
I got somethin’ more important than anythin’ you ever heard to tell ya’
All: So tell us. (Using utensils and dinnerware to emphasize words/points)
Chris and company: (Bette Midler’s Friends)
You’ve got to have friends
All: friends (revival style)
To see you through this life,
Yes, you’ve got to have friends
They’ll stick with you for life!
Cause when you’ve got friends
They will let you make your choice
They’ll mock your strife.
Get going on your life
They see you through the toughest times
And even let you change your mind
And when the push becomes a shove
They’ll meet you to unwind
Eve: You still didn’t say what was in your closet.
Chris: It doesn’t matter, because you guys would love me anyway.
Janet: I can’t stay married, but I love spending time with you.
Sam: I can’t find a girl to settle down with because she’d have to be a combination of all of you to make me happy.
Eve: I only hang out with you guys because you never wanted to meet Jerry!
Chris: Life’s full of changes!
All: We’re friends!
Eve: Maybe we should bury Jerry!
Sam: We could have a sunset burial and follow it with a feast!
Janet: A Viking burial where we set the boat on fire and push it out onto the lake. And follow it with a feast!
Chris: We could all dress up like Mrs. Rosepetal and caravan the stuffed body into the desert where we did a burning bush scenario…
All: Followed by a feast!
Eve: How about we bury him on the top of my mountain where he fell from the tree. Jerry was only up there to shape it because he loved the damn thing so much! I think that’s doable.
All: Followed by a feast?
Eve: Followed by a big feast- brunch, where we invite everyone we know to celebrate friendship and what it can do for you.
All: We’ll bury Jerry at dawn!
Janet: Followed by a heart healthy breakfast- with friends.
Chris: Look at the time. Boysenberry Bobs! I’ll cut them and we can cool them ‘til dessert.
Sam: I’ll make more coffee. Is it time to reheat the chicken?
Janet: We have twenty minutes. Let’s get dressed for dinner! (One by one they disappear and come back made over. They each stop and set out their specialities and create the buffet)
Eve: Here they come, Hurry! (they buzz around frantically)
All: (One more toast) Friends to the end?
Chris: No, I have a better one- Long live the dead!
All: Long Live the dead!
Posted in Original Stories by Teri Myers with no comments yet.
By T. Myers
Twelve blocks from where I watch from my high Hotel windows, a small patch of empty ground is catching snowflakes. Below me, on the street, I see the world get whiter. Quiet. No cars move quickly. There is no push to arrive at their Holiday destinations, now. It is too early. It is not even time to go to work yet, but soon the morning traffic will slide over the slick snowy roads into downtown. It seems strange to be here, in a Hotel, instead of waking up in the room my Grandpa never finished. The place where dreams were hatched and family found a place to nurture themselves.
In its restful state, the ground dreams about the house that used to stand above its broken heart. The small empty lot stirs to the sounds that the automobiles make this morning. It listens, longingly. It waits for a car to slow down and pull up on the back slab of driveway next to Tinker’s big brick house- and then fall open to the sweet song of voiced greetings followed by hugs and warm kisses.
Blanketed by snow, the city lot dreams.
“How long ago?” the ground tries to recall the last time the family was home. There is so much to remember: The people, the house, – laughter and the tears. Too many years.
The traffic is moving thickly, if not quickly, through the intersections. The cold SpokaneRiver moves slowly. It looks like a ribbon of molten pewter against a dove-wing gray sky. Tiny flakes of snow have started to filter out sound. More quiet. White winter quiet. Christmas Eve is here and all the wishes for a White Christmas have been granted. It couldn’t be a more joyous gift!
My thoughts travel to when I drove by the snow covered lot. I was amazed that the trees were gone – and it seemed so tiny! Without my family living there, somehow, it must have withered to its diminutive size with disuse and neglect. It was so big when I was small! How sad we are not there.
The small patch of ground stirs for a moment and returns to its Christmas-time dreaming. Tears work their way out of the corners of its thoughtful little eyes. It remembers the colorful Grandfather starting the day.
The sound of a shovel scrapes across the floor of the old, wood, coal-bin. The man lifts one- two big shovel loads of coal into the waiting fire. The green furnace is stoked and the warmth fills the dark cellar. The gray haired man sets the shovel down and grabs a hidden bottle of brown liquid from behind the old gray coal bucket. He drinks one, then two swigs. He returns the bottle and speaks under his breath, “Rhubarb, cherries, beans…and what else?”
The canning jars filling the pantry shelves clink together when the old fellow rummages through them to find what he needs to carry up to the kitchen.
“Gud!” says the Norwegian. It is all he utters. He moves up the stairs.
The dim cellar light is turned off. The door shuts. There are no sounds in the cellar except for the sputter and hiss of the coal burning hot in the boiler.
New activity upstairs steals attention from life in the cellar. The relatives have started to pour into the house to get ready for the traditions they all share. From this point on, the rest of the day will be busy. There will be so much going on above ground level that it will be hard to imagine everything that will be done in one day. It will be hard to remember how quiet the morning was.
In the middle of the house, women fill the cheery yellow kitchen. The back door bursts open to reveal two rosy cheeked children. The snow makes them so excited that they enter with their sleds behind them. The ladies rush to pull off mittens, hats, and gloves. They call for help and a laughing Uncle picks up the snowy sleds and, with a big swoop, he has the sleds outside. The little sleds will be just outside the back door where they await the next ‘kiddy play-fest’.
The children warm themselves in the heat from the oven where the sweet bread is baking. Hot milk is poured by a tall Auntie. Ground almonds and honey is added to the waiting mugs and the little ones start to sip the toddies.
When the gray-haired, plumpish Grandmother who lives here, speaks
sweetly to the little girls, “How about cookies?”, only toothless smiles and wide eyes answer. She hands them each a lebkuchen and puts a handful of pfeffernussen in each child’s pocket. The children are warm and happy in the center of their holiday world.
Through the door to the dining room, the men are visiting and playing the card game, Whist. There is much laughter! They talk about life, people they all know and what they dream for the New Year. This is where the men seem to share their time. Some of the older nieces and nephews sit on the stairs and listen to the sage wisdom that is dispensed with each new hand of cards.
One of the Aunts has a dust cloth and lemon oil in her strong hands. She is going through the first floor, one room at a time, and polishing every wooden surface. The rose wood furniture: table and chairs, buffet, piano and bench, – all proudly support the holiday visitors, foods and family life, that, at this moment, seems like it could last forever. It is a happy place to celebrate!
In the living room, the overstuffed green sofas have been moved aside to make room for the big fir Christmas tree. Packages fill the space below the branches and lights fill the room with a lovely glow. Two cousins gaze dreamily at the gifts and tell each other the stories of the time they got their best present ever! The room is where people will sit on the two green couches and cover the floor with the wrapping paper they pull off their packages, but now, it is time to dream.
Upstairs, the sleeping quarters for the few returning adult children, holds the wrapping paper, bows, scotch tape, suitcases and beds. It is home for the holidays! No child will venture up the stairs past the bathroom during the sacred wrapping time. Never.
Instead, the children- who for years did sleep next to their parents on the floor, now gather together in a big unfinished room that has been added on to the house by the old Grandfather. Lined up, in sleeping bags, they will wait for Santa’s arrival. They are Santa’s Posse. During the dark hours of the coming night, they will giggle, laugh, exchange stories and invade the big brass cookie cans that have been left to the unfinished coolness of the room and the warmth of many hungry little hands. Life is often delicious!
As Christmas Eve Day passes through the hours of activity and anticipation, the final touches are put on the food and the serving area in the yellow kitchen. Then it is time to get ready for evening.
The night has fallen, bringing lots more snow. Its white purity adds credibility to the reason there is a celebration this white night. It is time for the little Lucia Brides of the household to put on headdresses of candles and straighten stiff, starched, white costumes to wear outside to sing carols in the neighborhood. They are marking the trip to the old stable in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. But so far it is too much fun to bother with deep meaning.
The beliefs that the family shares are lodged deep in the heart of the family. It is the real reason for gathering together. And soon they all will come, on their many personal journeys, to get to the place they call home on time. Before the traditional supper is served. They come to make new memories. It is a beautiful time for the members of the family to live and love together.
The occasion becomes an American gathering; representing mountains, Great Plains, valleys, deltas, various metropolitan communities, farms and villages all over the nation.
Each part of the family, though larger every year, has left behind a part of themselves to keep the lamplight lit for their return to home.
But where is home? The family is here!
Church bells peel out into the winter night. The Lucia Brides join others on the streets. Carols sing out in the snowy night. Their songs come through in the bell tones, sharp, bright and clear. The bells say it all:
The small empty lot is blanketed with a new layer of heavy snow. Hush! The dream of Hanson Mansion continues. The cold ground trembles slightly, with its own soft chuckling.
The mixed smells permeate the air throughout the family’s house.
Women laugh as they take the soaked codfish out of the lye baths. They put it in the salted water-bath and work just as hard to prepare all favorite family foods. There are foods to be roasted, boiled, sautéed and mashed. And Baked! The things that are baked bring the most o-ohs and a-ahs!
It is a lovely thing to hear. A better thing to watch. There is a rhythm to the kitchen women; each task done knowingly and lovingly.
What do the men do?
The dreamy little lot can’t recall.
Closer to the time of the feast, the rest of the family and friends arrive from many other places. Older and younger faces are aglow with the anticipation of the events to follow: visiting, Santa Claus, midnight services and the traditional Lutefisk and Lefse meal that feeds their identity and reminds them of their culture.
The old folks find an early place at the table. They will visit until dinner. Comparing notes on life’s successes and losses
The children head to the unfinished room where they will prepare to present themselves: clean clothes, clean hands, clean faces and best smiles.
The kitchen women wind down. But they will not rest. Last minute platters of Lefse and home baked goodies are set out on the L-shaped counter for the waiting assembly line of eaters.
The rhythm of the kitchen women will peak during the serving of the meal. All the dishes will be carried forth to the massive table, and as in a factory, they will be used by the family members to concoct such heaping platters of delicious offerings that they will appear to be food sculpture!
Everyone gathers. There is a hush. In moments, there will be silence for prayer. This will be followed by a fury of o-o-ohs, a-a-ahs, clinking silverware and the sounds of satiation.
The heaping bowls of Lutefisk, Swedish meatballs, paradise pudding, salads, mashed potatoes, and white gravy, Jell-O, Lefse and butter, will be consumed. Talking will slow down.
After the meal, chairs will scrape, belts will be loosened, praise will be given and it will be time for coffee and clean up.
“What did the men do?” a little boy asked a lady who was praising the Grandparents for preparing the meal.
“The women do all the work to put things right and get dessert ready.”
Is there room for dessert? Full tummies make the eyes roll up with the thought of more food!
The children switch immediately to sugarplum thoughts. Santa will be here in a few hours. The waiting is so exciting!
The little piece of ground remembers what the men do! The men finally move to warm up the cars! They will transport everyone to the church.
The commotion that follows dinner is surely designed to burn off the odd cookie!
The cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, moms, dads and family friends forget about Santa Claus and turn their attention to religion. They will remember the Christmas birth of Jesus by going to church! There will be music and songs to enjoy, fir boughs and a manger will play out the Christmas miracle to the congregation. Everyone will sing, pray and share the common beliefs.
After the proud family watches their aunt play the part of Mary in the pageant, the men will warm up the cars for the journey home and back to the Mansion the family will go.
Plates of cookies, milk and strong coffee will fill the overfull bellies of the family. Everyone squeezes into the living room. Each face lights up with childlike brilliance as presents are distributed to all. It is a time for more o-o-ohs and a-a-ahs-and thanks.
Excited children gather to fix Santa a plate of cookies. They add carrots for Santa’s famous Reindeer, and address a last minute note to him. In the morning the present he brings to each of them will complete the Christmas Eve traditions.
Like the whirlwind that will soon invade the skies, the children are whisked away to sleep. But, they don’t. They whisper to each other in hushed tones.
“Santa is coming!”
“D o you hear bells?”
Then it is over. The night claims its last hold out and the house is still.
Even the ground is too tired to stay awake and it drifts in and out of the dream.
In my hotel room, my family is slow to wake up. We traveled far to come here and we are all tired. It is the second day of the Hanson Family Christmas Reunion. I woke up early though because of the hotel heat, the light of a new day and the smell of coffee. I can sit for a bit, by the big window and reflect on how I feel. More snow has fallen through the quiet night. It is Christmas Day. I see the strangers drive slowly on the slippery streets. Carefully, they drive along.
Last night, one of the cousins hosted the traditional feast. Today, there will be much to do with the added snowfall hampering our travel. I will need to change cars at the rental place, have brunch with a niece, and join with the rest of the relatives to share another evening meal. Tonight we all will celebrate the continuing life of the clan who came to gather here.
I think about the changes. Celebrating is more complex when you juggle places and times instead of staying in one place. Making each different connection is the challenge of the day.
Why do we come? It’s Christmas. We all want to regain a piece or two of what we once had. Youth! Acceptance! By uniting across time, we renew. On these special occasions, we are ‘re-bonded’.
As I watch from my vantage point above the city, I decide to take my children to see the place where I had all of my Christmas memories. I will show them where the HansonMansion stood and explain how happy we were when we lived there.
The remnants of the Christmas dream from the day before re-play for the small patch of ground. It is nearly over. It is time to wake up. It tries to finish the dream.
The children have been asleep for over an hour. It is late when the adults go to bed. It is just a while before kids are up to see the wonders of the night when reindeer fly and Old Saint Nick visits every boy and girl between dark and dawn.
Wind blows the snow into drifts. The small lot hears the dreamy sounds of children waking to their gifts mixed with the sounds of snow- ploughs on Howard Street. Groggy from the desire to stay asleep, it is time to come back to the saddest realization. The Hansons are gone. The lot is empty. It is alone. All alone.
I open the doors of the big Lincoln. My two daughters and my future son-in-law get out to walk the lot. It is small, bare and cold. But it feels like magic to me. I move over every inch of ground and tell my story to my children.
“Here is where the locust trees were all planted,” I point to the side of the yard. “There were mother hens and chicks along here.”
I point out every nook and cranny.
“The front of the house was facing Carlisle Street,” I continue. “There was a wooden porch with creaky steps. We played in the side yard by Mrs. Palmquist’s house. And this is where Grandpa added a new kitchen.”
I walked to the center of the empty lot, measuring twenty-seven steps.
“And right here was the unfinished room we all loved to stay in on Christmas Eve. Over there was Grandpa’s shop. Did I tell you he made cabinets?”
I want to tell them everything. Now!
“Christmas is always white here in Spokane. Just like today. You guys would have loved it back then.”
I am feeling like I don’t want to leave this tiny lot. This is such a special part of how we all were. The words stop coming easily. A tear rolls down my cheek and falls to the ground. I fight to keep from crying. All I want is to try to make my children understand that this is an important place to me. I don’t know if they do.
“And even though we aren’t in the old house, we can remember.”
The tears fill my eyes. We go back to the car and leave.
The steps of people above draw the sleepy lot to full cognition. Voices fill the air. The timber of the woman’s voice- her sounds, makes the little lot recall the clip and music of the family who lived in the old house.
They called it
They are gone, but not forgotten.
Posted in Original Stories by Teri Myers with no comments yet.
By: Lady Bug
A story about a bug and a girl.
For: Morgan Russell and the rest of my little bug friends from: Aunt T
Junebug’s Birthday in story and verse:
Bugs grow up quickly and the time flies by in minutes, hours and days….
When little Junebug started asking her Mommy and Daddy all kinds of questions about birthdays:
“What is a birthday?”
“Why do they put fire on the top of the round thing?”
“Why do all those people come to watch them put out the fire?”
“What is a cake, anyway?”
“Could I have a birthday party?”
Well! You can just imagine that Mommy and Daddy thought that it was high time to talk with little Junebug about what little bugs do when they celebrate.
“Bugs don’t celebrate things like birthdays or holidays,” Mommy said.
“They celebrate seasons, and harvest time,” Daddy added, “And, the day their babies hatch.”
“And when they find their mate?” asked Junebug.
“Right you are, Junebug,” Daddy answered.
It was very simple for Junebug’s parents to understand. Bugs do this and people do that, But, Mr. and Mrs. Bug were very proud of their little Junebug. She was a wonderful, hard-working, obedient, well-trained bug who worked hard at her dancing, buzzing, singing, antennae flipping, flying and wing tucking. She could even take a scary looking defensive stance and click a warning as well as any adult!
“Let’s talk more about this before bedtime, Junebug,” said Mommy. “Your Daddy and I will discuss the idea.”
“All right,” replied Junebug. “I am sure that you know best!”
Junebug left the house to meet her friends out in the garden and Mommy and Daddy got on the phone to ask their closest friends to fly around and spy on a few people parties.
“Don’t ask why, but can you do a little recon for me, Hairy?” asked Daddy when Hairy Spider answered the phone.
“Sounds like fun!” Hairy said.
Some of their friends said they would creep up and see what crumbs were falling and watch to see what the people did at a Birthday party. Others, who were airborne, decided that they would get aerial pictures of different kinds of out door parties. They were all delighted to help the Bugs get secret information.
Little Junebug had a great imagination and loved to play pretend with her friends. Nearly everyday she wanted to play Birthday party. She would have all of her little pals pretend to surprise her and then they would play games like put the petal on the daisy, hide and seek, and they would finish their playtime by wrapping up pretty stones or other objects in large leaves and then put them on the hollow log that served as a party room. Each little bug would unwrap a present and they would all laugh and exclaim how lovely their Birthday presents were! When Junebug and her friends had cleaned up, everyone went home- all tuckered out from playing so hard.
After the garden had quieted, Mommy and Daddy wandered out to the hollow log and after they talked for a while, they decided that they would have a surprise party for their sweet little Junebug!
The next morning at breakfast, Junebug was drinking her nectar when Mommy and Daddy told her to make a list of friends she would like to invite to a very special party. Junebug got very excited! She did not even want to go to school, but her parents insisted that she needed to give herself time to think about the list she needed to make. Mommy promised that when Junebug came home after school, they would write and invite her friends, together.
“Oh, and one more thing, little bug,” said Mommy. “You cannot tell a single bug about this. That way it will be a surprise for everyone!”
“All right, Mommy,” Junebug replied. From then on, for the rest of the day, all she could think about was telling her secret to everyone. But, she didn’t, because she couldn’t. She had promised!
During school, Junebug was extra fidgety, even cross with everyone. She hurried through her schoolwork so she could sit and daydream about the upcoming celebration. At recess she spent her time climbing a big rosebush that was all by itself away from her friends. She was afraid she would spill the secret accidentally and figured she better stay away from the others to be sure.
What happens when someone is mean to you and doesn’t speak to you or play with you? You get your feelings hurt and get mad. That is what happened with Junebug’s friends. By the end of the school day, several of them called her a stuck up. Others were angry and ignored her on the walk home. Junebug was so sad when she got home, that she did not want to work on the invitations with Mommy. Not for her ungrateful, mean friends!
Mommy gave Junebug a big bowl of flower petals for a snack and Junebug started to feel better. She decided not to tell her Mommy about her awful day and instead, she helped her Mommy after all. The two of them addressed the pretty little cards that Mommy had all ready to send and little Junebug got to carry them to the mailbox. It was done!
Now, Junebug only had to wait until the day of the party- or so she thought!
The next day at school was very difficult for Junebug. Her friends ignored her, so, she played alone with her marbles. She ate lunch with her teacher and thanked her lunch companion by cleaning the blackboards after school. Junebug ran all the way home- all by herself!
That evening, after dinner, the phone started ringing.
“Mommy,” Junebug hollered, “Mrs. Mayfly would like to speak to you.”
“Oh, my goodness,” said Mommy as she ran in from the porch to get the phone.
Again and again the phone rang and Junebug noticed that her Mommy was getting more and more flustered. After seven, no, eight calls, Junebug’s Mommy picked up a copy of the invitation card they had sent out to each of her friends. Mommy put on her reading glasses and examined it carefully- peering at the writing and what it said:
We’re having a Birthday Party!
Come to Junebug’s house by Bugswell Park Garden
June 7th at 2pm
We’ll meet at the old Maple Stump.
You and your family are invited to share a meal
And Birthday Cake with Junebug!
Mother sat down at the table and clutched her antennae at the roots!
“What’s wrong, Mommy?” Junebug asked. “Aren’t they coming?”
“Oh, my goodness! Oh, my goodness!” said Mommy over and over. “I thought the invitation said ‘you and your parents are invited’, but it says ‘you and your family are invited’. What will I do now? Everyone is coming and some of your friends have hundreds of brothers and sisters!”
Daddy walked in and heard what Mommy said. “No one has ever had a Bug Birthday and no one wants to miss it!”
Now it just so happened that on the other side of Bugswell Garden, a little girl named Morgan was planning a birthday of her own, and as luck would have it, Morgan’s party was about to take place on June 7th at the same time and in same location!
Back at Junebug’s house, the shock of thousands of guests coming to their party was starting to wear off. Mommy and Daddy sent out messages to their own family members to come to a pow-wow to help plan for the large numbers of guests. Mommy was very anxious because the party was two days away. Daddy seemed calm and ready to strategize with his relatives. They worked until late at night and fell asleep with a plan!
Early the next morning, Uncle Jack Bug dropped in with some interesting news.
“Suppose I tell you that the little girl that lives in the big house across the garden is having her Birthday party at the same time as yours!” informed Uncle Jack. “It is an out door party and there will be a big cake, all kinds of picnic foods and tubs full of iced soda pop!”
Uncle Jack loved sweet drinks and he started to click when he mentioned the soda pop. All Bugs clicked when they got excited about food!
“An out door picnic Birthday party?” asked Mommy.
“Really?” asked Daddy. “Then we will have to cancel our party, won’t we?”
“What are you thinking?” asked Uncle Jack.
“We can’t have those human giants running around all over the garden stepping on our cousins,” Mommy exclaimed. “Oh, my goodness. What a pickle!”
“Pickle?” said Uncle Jack. “There will be lots of pickles at the little girl’s picnic.”
Uncle Jack took Mommy’s hands and sat her down. “Don’t you remember who I am talking about? The little bug loving girl who lives in the big house? She is a legend!”
“Oh, her,” said Mommy.
“That’s right, she loves bugs!” said Daddy.
“Last year,” Jack went on, “she made little treat jars and boxes of seeds and nets full of fruit and she put them all over the garden. She made them for us, her little bug friends. I just know she will do it again this year. Remember, not only does she feed us, but she keeps her friends and family far away from us. We’ll all be safe and have a free feast!”
“It sounds too good to be true,” Mommy said.
“If everything goes the same as last year, that little girl should start her preparations soon and we’ll have time to cancel the party if it looks dangerous!” Jack reassured the family.
“Let’s see what happens,” Daddy added.
Sure enough, at two o’clock, the back door of the big house opened and out of the door emerged a pretty little red-haired girl carrying a large flat box. She walked towards the edge of the grass and she set down her parcel on top of the big maple stump.
Uncle Jack and Daddy took flight and saw what was in the box. It was full of small jars, hanging boxes and seed and fruit filled hanging nets. One after the other, the little girl placed them in every nook and cranny all over BugswellParkGarden. She talked out loud to the different places while she worked.
“Hello,” she said. “My name is Morgan. Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”
She worked hard and soon all of the little bottles dishes, boxes and sugar water containers were placed throughout the garden. When she was satisfied with the job she did, she added,” Tomorrow, I will bring a special yummy bug friendly cake and set it on the big stump where you all play. I want to share my birthday with all of you.”
The Bug family was overwhelmed- and relieved. Especially little Junebug! She had been listening to the grownups discuss the dilemma and now was thrilled that the little girl was solving all of their worries. It was a miracle!
With the party a day away the rest of the day was spent getting games ready, putting up bug signs and decorating the buggy part of BugswellPark. The people were doing the same thing over on the yard by the big house. Both families worked happily to provide a special celebration for the wonderful girls having birthday parties!
The morning of her party, Junebug had a healthy breakfast and then she took a long luxurious dust bath before she got ready. She looked marvelous!
At one o’clock the noisy partygoers began to arrive at both parties! Children played games while parents relaxed in the shade. Everyone was having a marvelous time. They were eating and drinking at the little bug stations whenever they were hungry or thirsty. But, at two o’clock everyone in both parties became very quiet when Morgan’s mother came out of the big house carrying a huge fire-topped round cake, which she set carefully on a picnic table by the patio.
The people at Morgan’s Birthday party started speaking. They said ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ and ‘look at that!” The bugs at Junebug’s party studied the people and remained very quiet- waiting to see what happened next.
The people sang a song called Happy Birthday and when it was over, Morgan put her face down by the fire and blew on it until the fire was gone. There were little pink poles standing all over the top of the round cake and they were stuck in soft white sugary frosting. (The bugs were all drooling to think about the sweet treats that would be stuck in the grass after the people left Morgan’s party.) Then a strange thing happened.
The little girl, Morgan, and her mother came away from the big cake and walked straight over to the big maple stump. All of the bugs who had been sitting on top of the stump scattered. Then Morgan put a large round surprise on top of the stump.
“This is for all of my tiny friends,” said Morgan and she got down on her knees to look closely at the stump.
Junebug was so excited that she began to flap her wings. She flapped her wings so hard that she flew all the way from the side of the stump to the arm of the little girl, herself!
“Why look at you,” Morgan said to little Junebug. “What a brave little bug you are! I hear it is your birthday today, too. Is that right? After all you are a Junebug and it is June!”
Junebug was thrilled. How did Morgan know that it was her birthday? Suddenly, all of the bugs crawled and flew out of hiding to get a better look. Junebug crawled towards Morgan’s hand and sat up on her back legs to get a good look at Morgan- up close! Morgan reached over with her other hand to pick Junebug up but, it scared the little bug. Junebug swished her antennae and clicked loudly then hissed, warning Morgan not to touch her.
Morgan giggled and then made her face look sympathetic.
“It is all right Junebug!” Morgan spoke softly. “I just wanted to see what a lovely bug you are and wish you a Happy Birthday!”
Junebug relaxed and moved her head to the side while she looked hard at Morgan. She clicked at the girl as if to say thank you and them she scooted around in a circle while she waved her antennae back and forth.
“Look, Mom,” said Morgan. “She is saying Happy Birthday back to me!”
Junebug stopped and sat up again.
“I hope you enjoy your cake. I have to go back to my guests,” said Morgan. See you tomorrow?”
Junebug clicked a yes and flapped her wings lifting off Morgan’s arm and flying directly to the center of her cake.
“Yum,” said Junebug. And as Morgan returned to the cake on the picnic table, Junebug’s friends started to join her on top of the tasty bug Birthday cake. It would take them the rest of the summer to eat their way through such a masterpiece!
As the guests left the parties, the birthday girls looked at each other from across the yard and thought what a wonderful day it was. The Bug family had hosted a historic event and Morgan had made friends out of all of the bugs in BugswellParkGarden. Yes, it had been a great day! But why not? After all it was Junebug’s Birthday!
Junebug’s Birthday in verse:
On a late spring day
In the month of May
A little bug named, June
Decided that she, unlike her friends
Would have a birthday soon
“I’ve read,” said the bug,
To her mom and her dad,
“That a birthday is special indeed!
There’ll be presents of course,
And food, and pink punch,
And a great big cake for me!”
“A Cake?” said her mom.
“What on earth is a cake?”
“A round thing you eat with a fork!”
“I’m surprised,” Junebug said,
“We’ve waited so long.
It seems like a marvelous sport!”
“There are lights on the top
For each year of your life.
Then you blow them all off
And you get to make wishes.
Then you cut up the cake
And plate it on dishes.”
“Oh, my goodness,” Dad said.
“We’ll need to think hard.
About when- even if,
This is possible June.”
“You see,” said June’s mom,
“The day that you’ve picked,
Is only a short time away.
Even if we all work incredibly hard
It still might be too soon!”
Now, June was the best little bug
Two parents could ever hatch out.
They knew she deserved her big day.
And the thought that they might disappoint little June
Made them worry and feel great dismay.
“Is it possible, Mom?” asked June’s big strong dad.
“That we can get ready for such an event?”
“Well, maybe,” Mom said. She was echoed by June.
“I’m certain we can use BugswellParkGarden.
It’s big and it’s free and it’s close as can be
And it won’t cost us one single cent!”
June looked at her folks with her bright buggy eyes.
Then she smiled her “June buggy” smile.
June lifted her wings and clicked a few sounds
While watching her folks standing there on the ground.
Her parents thought long about what they would do.
Then Dad looked at Junebug and said with a nod,
“This sounds like a wonderful plan Little June!”
He took out some paper and pens from his pod
And he started to write out some notes.
“Give me a minute to figure things out
And then set a guest list for you.”
Dad wrote for a time
And he drew several pictures
Then tapped on the pod-desk with
His long buggy fingers.
“Mother?” said Dad. “Listen to this!
“We have plenty of time if everyone helps.
And I know it will be a success.
We’ll ask the whole family to
Help with the chores
And we’ll do what ever is left.”
Mom was uncertain that Dad’s plan would work,
But, Dad winked his great Daddy wink
He went to the phone and started to call
All the relatives listed in pink!
The pinks were their favorites-
The ones who would help anytime with a job,
A kind word or a meal
They were the best- The most “favorite-ist ones”
They were the “very real deal”!
After the calls and commitments were made
The date at the park was all set.
The thousands of invites were buzzed all around
While relatives all did their bit!
Mother was busy with food stuffs and drinks
Dad handled the games, the music and nets.
(The nets were important to keep away Wasps
Who were always a problem at parties.
They drank too much nectar and wanted to fight
And in general acted like smarty-s!)
Junebug was a very happy girl!
On the other side of the park
A strange thing was happening at the same time
With a nice human girl named Morgan.
She lived at the edge of BugswellParkGarden
Right next to the big, tall green forest.
Her Mom and her Dad were planning a fete
And the seventh of June was the day
They wanted a special event to take place
To celebrate Morgan’s Birthday.
Morgan was one of those real special kids
She loved everything out-of-doors.
But her passion for bugs was on top of her list.
Yes, sweet little Morgan soon realized she
Only ever-forever- wanted to be
An Entomologist! (That’s a fancy word for Bug Doctor!)
When Morgan grew up and went off to college
She wanted to be ready with all kinds of knowledge
So she studied and read and searched through the books
Until she knew how each different bug looked.
Morgan found out that the more that she learned,
The more that she wanted to know.
She tenaciously tried to attract insect friends.
And her efforts paid off in the Park
She was genius-an expert -in bug habitat,
And she worked on creating a place
A lab-if you will-for study and learning
About bugs in daylight and dark
Morgan recognized well that she needed to make
BugswellParkGarden the safest of places.
Where all her bug friends could live there,
Together with their families in small cozy spaces.
“They need sheltered spots with water and food that is
Protected from the weather,” declared the young maven.
She took on the task at age five, six and seven.
By the time she was eight, BugswellPark was like heaven!
(For a bug, that is!)
“What to do? What to do? “
Asked her Mom and her Dad.
But, Morgan? She knew right away!
A great Bug-filled Birthday
Is what she would have.
She’d fill up the park with friends and with food
And teach her friends things to make small bug friends good!
The she’d offer her tiny friends tidbits to eat
And try not to squish any bugs with her feet.
(That is sometimes a difficult task when you surround yourself with insects.)
So, the three humans planned how they’d work out a party
That featured bug friends– and wasn’t too artsy.
In old BugswellPark there were lots of great places
To set up food feeders for little bug faces.
There’d be folks of all ages to come to her party
And some would be weak and some would be hearty.
Morgan ventured into all of the park’s nooks and crannies
Deciding which spots would be best for her grannies!
(She had two regular grannies and three great grannies)
And which spots would be best for the rest
Of her 7th of June (special Birthday) party guests?
Before long the two Birthday ladies were ready
For birthday cake, party guests, music and eats.
Junebug and her guests filled the bushes and trees
And Morgan’s friends wandered around with bug treats.
Everywhere that you looked in OldBugswellParkGarden
Were revelers adding fun to the mix.
They walked and they talked and they even did tricks!
The bugs circled the garden with rapid wings flying
The two legged guests looked for bugs-or were trying!
Together the parties progressed with great ease
When suddenly Morgan said, “Hush, if you please!”
“With all these bugs moving around us out here
I’m sure they are gathered for their own special day.
Just look at them flying and creeping and crawling
It’s thrilling to see how they all want to play!”
A Katydid wiggled its head with a hiss
Then plopped onto Morgan’s right hand with a list.
She looked at the page of bug scratches with glee
And danced a fine jig for what she could see.
“It’s just what I thought”, she declared with one breath.
“There’s a tiny bug birthday happening now.
And it’s written in June bug would be my best guess!”
The girl scratched her head and said,
“Gee whiz!” and “Wow!”
She looked high then low for a big June bug nest.
At the old maple stump in the clearing she saw
Just what she was seeking- a June bug Doo-Dah!
“This is a first”, Morgan said with a giggle.
“A June bug is having a Big Birthday Wiggle!
With all kinds of friends and relations in tow
That sweet little bug is ready to blow
Out some candles on some little cake.
Hurry up friends, we have pictures to take.
Morgan’s friends delivered a cake to the stump
And set it down hard with a great huge bug thump!
Then they stepped back a moment to look at the scene
And waited to see how the bugs would react.
Little Junebug was watching from under a ledge.
There were lots of big people surrounding her house.
She decided that she’d sneak a peek at the cake,
And scrambled, with stealth, to the maple stump’s edge.
Junebug’s eyes bugged out at the sight that she saw
A big round bug yummy thing there on a plate.
If it weren’t for the girl sitting right on the stump
Opposite Junebug! She’d just have to wait.
Then the two legged human girl started to speak,
“Hello, little June bug. This cake is for you.
If I’m not mistaken, it’s your Birthday, too!”
Junebug was brave and created a stance
For warning off enemies with her brave dance.
Morgan, delighted with what the bug tried
Bowed low to her enemy and carefully sighed.
She sighed a big sigh that went out on the air
To reassure bugs that she would be fair.
Then Morgan held out her small hand toward the bug
And pulled off a piece of the cake with a tug.
She waited to see what the June bug would do
And the bug looked right back at the big human, too.
Then Junebug twirled round in great June bug fashion,
Then, stood on her hind legs with antennae flashing.
Morgan mimicked the little bug’s pose
By standing the same way and touching her nose.
(She’d seen it before when two bugs were hissing:
They stood up real fast with antennae twitching)
Then the birthday girls settled back down to their seats
And looked at each other and then at the treat.
The big girl waved “Bye!” and she rose to her feet
The snapping photographer guests were complete
In their photo fest session of a bug and a girl
And Morgan walked quickly away with a swirl.
She looked back at Junebug, over her shoulder
And Junebug waved “Bye!” too-feeling much bolder.
The two legged people cleared out of the park
And the rest of the bugs played and danced until dark.
At the end of the big day, all snuggled in bed
Unbeknownst to the other each birthday girl said,
“What a wonderful party- a solid occasion!
The people were happy and so were the bugs.
I met a girl with a Birthday like mine
And now it is over. I feel like some hugs.”
The moms and the dads leaned over their daughters
And kissed them good-night and turned out the lights.
“We know that you loved your time out in the Park.
You’re a sweet little lady- so fine and so bright.”
Each girl beamed back love to her Mom and her Dad
And closed up her eyes and seemed very glad
To experience something that turned out that way
But then “why not?” they each dreamily thought
After all, it wasn’t just any old day of the year
For two little girls it was Junebug’s birthday!
Posted in Original Stories by Teri Myers with no comments yet.
By: Lady Bug
A story in prose and verse
Butterfly’s Belly Dance
Every year the Monarch Butterflies make their way (migrate) through the skies to winter in their southern home in a specific section of special pine trees in the Angangueo, Mexico region and others travel to southern California.
The lovely orange butterflies fill the air with color, stopping along the way on their long tiresome journey for the occasional rest and to take a drink or grab a few drops of sweet nectar to sustain themselves for the many miles they need to fly.
They want to make it to their breeding grounds to mate and lay eggs that will become new butterflies that fly back for the summer and then start the process all over again! Nature makes it a beautiful spectacle to watch and some people are lucky enough to be a part of the process.
So it was with our young hero, Holland. Before one short day had passed, Holland would experience a delightful, magical time with the wondrous creatures, the Monarch Butterflies that migrated close to his home. Here is the story of how it all happened!
Sunlight filled Holland’s back yard and he was outside enjoying the day. Usually Holland would pretend to be a character from a book or a comic book like Batman or an archeologist who hunted for dinosaur bones. Other times he pretended to be an animal like a tiger or a giant tyrannosaurus rex who hunted through the many plant borders and bamboo groves that grew in the lush back yard searching for unsuspecting prey!
When his Dad and Mom helped to build him a play dome, he used his fertile imagination to play make believe in his Dome Home and it became the center of most of his solitary playtime. A sunny day was always a reason to celebrate and today was no exception. Although none of his young friends were over to have a play date, Holland decided to play some music. He was from a very musical family and it was something he enjoyed doing by himself and with his more musical friends. Today he would play his Arabic belly dance drum and enjoy the sounds and the sunshine.
“I have a great idea,” Holland told his Dad through the screen door. “ I am going to get my drum and play for awhile.”
“Great idea, Holland,” Dad replied. “I will be right in here. I am sorting through some things for work and I would like to hear some drumming, too.”
Holland wasted no time getting his little ceramic drum called a Tablah. It is double sided, made from pottery and on one side you play it with your hands and on the other, you can beat it with a wooden stick. He sat down in front of his little Dome Home and started to play his favorite rhythms. He played and he swayed and the sounds of the Middle East filled the air. Holland was very skilled and he enjoyed the drumming so much he could play for hours. And he did play for a long time when he suddenly realized his thumb was hurting and more than that, he was hungry.
This day was really special, however and when he opened his eyes he looked around in the yard and saw a blanket of orange covering everything, including his Dome! Monarch butterflies were settled in on every bush, tree and hard surface.
Holland stood up slowly, realizing that something magic was happening. He moved just as slowly as he could towards the deck. He stepped over and around the gathering Monarchs until he reached the screen door- now an orange mass of beating wings and he stepped inside.
He used his voice soto voce (that means he whispered loudly) to get his Dad’s attention.
“Dad, you have to see this,” Holland said. “There are butterflies everywhere!”
Dad came right away to look outside. Holland stuck out his thumb pointing to his blister so his Dad could grab a Band-aid on his way by the first aid kit on the kitchen counter. Then Holland lifted his other hand to his lips motioning to be quiet and hush his Dad.
The two of them, the men of the house, stood by the screen looking at the field of orange while Dad wrapped the band-aid around his thumb. Both of them filled with wonder!
“You better get the camera, Dad,” Holland suggested. Then he took a couple of bites out of a juicy apple he took from the fruit bowl. He stood looking out between the orange wings at the rest of the yard and saw even more Monarchs arriving.
“Why are they here, son,” asked Dad softly.
“I think they like the drumming,” Holland answered.
“I’ll say!” Dad said excitedly. “You go back outside and play some more rhythms and I will get Mom from the studio to join us. I will be out in a minute with the camera. I am going to tell Mom to figure out some snacks for the butterflies. She is good at that type of thing.”
Holland carefully opened the door, dropping his half eaten apple on the counter. He made his way back to the bottom of the deck where he skooched the little Monarchs off the top of his drum and then carefully- and softly, he started playing his drum again.
Dad came out of the back door and he started snapping pictures of their new orange yard moving through every corner of the flowerbeds and grass areas so he could get good pictures of all of their visitors as they rested in the yard.
Holland’s eyes were wide open now and he noticed that the wings of the butterflies were moving in time to the drumbeats.
They were even moving their little butterfly feet in time to the music that the drums created.
Holland watched Dad move back to the deck and open the screen for Mother. She came out with a big tray of fruit drizzled with honey and set it in the middle of the yard. She went back inside and a minute later, wonderful Arabic inspired music filled the yard through the outdoor speakers that the family had in the yard. The strains of music took over the air space and Holland stopped drumming to watch what happened next!
The butterflies lifted up from their perches and flew around the yard. They drifted, and they dipped, and stopped for a bite of honeyed fruit and then back to the bushes. It was more than real- adults called it surreal. The butterflies were dancing to the music.
When Dad turned on the water misters that were placed on the far end of the yard, a rainbow appeared and the butterflies flew through it and over it and under it drinking the water droplets that formed on the grass below.
Mother came back out of the house and she was dressed in one of her most beautiful purple, red and orange belly dancing costumes. It was a particular favorite of Holland’s and when he saw how the butterflies loved it too, he was even more excited. She was even wearing her full compliment of bells and hip chains and the bell that she wore on her nose when she performed. The subtle movements of Mother’s body as she came towards him made the little bells play softly and Holland and the butterflies enjoyed it very much.
Mother presented Holland a long purple Jalaba that he usually wore when he performed with Mother’s Belly Dance Troup and he put it on. Without her saying anything Holland knew that she meant for him to join her in a dance. She handed Dad his favorite Red turban and brightly colored vest and in a second, the three of them were decked out to dance on the deck. The butterflies were attracted to the three new colorfully attired dancing flowers that appeared in the yard. Butterflies are attracted to the colors the back yard dancers donned and they came right up to the three humans
The stereo played the soulful sounds of the Casbah and the three of them moved sinuously and sensually in time to the music swirling and turning together with the accompaniment of thousands of monarch wings. There were so many butterflies dancing with them that the air filled with sounds that mimicked falling rain!
It was glorious! It was beautiful! It was splendiferous! An event to beat all events!
Dad continued to snap pictures. Mom danced. Holland danced. The Butterflies drank water and ate from the honey drizzled fruit platter and floated around the yard for hours.
As the sunset changed the day to evening, the solar lights turned on. The monarchs slowly settled into their sleep mode and cleared out of the air for the night.
The music was still playing and the humans began thinking about going inside to retire for the night. They were tired from all of the excitement, but it would be hard to fall asleep just the same!
Holland picked up his Tablah and turned to go inside when a single little monarch flew around his head. Mom and Dad watched as he stood very still then started to sway gently in time to the music as the little lady Butterfly danced with him. She flew out in big circles and then back to the boy. She opened her wing wide, then darted towards the bushes as if to hide, back into the air above Holland and she landed softly on his chin. She walked across his face until she sat perched on the top of his round little cheek, then she kissed him. A butterfly kiss! She fluttered her wings against his tan little nose then she lifted off slowly on butterfly toes.
Dad captured the picture of this wonderful gift- a butterfly dance and a butterfly kiss. This would be a picture for their best picture collection of wonderful family experiences.
When the little monarch finally left to rest for the night, the three tired humans went inside to eat a late supper and go to sleep.
The warm summer night was quiet and deep- and over too soon for the people inside. They woke up very early to watch the departure of their visitors as morning dawned.
The butterflies flew upwards in beautiful fast moving swirls of brilliant orange while Holland and his parents sipped their morning cocoa; each dazzled by the beauty of the sunrise reflected on the wings of the monarchs leaving the back yard. It seemed to all of the humans that the sweet creatures were gone too soon.
When the last little lady took flight, there was a noticeable pause when she circled above Holland’s head and then dipped to touch his tan young face with her wings- a butterfly goodbye that Holland would remember all of his life.
Later, when the family took turns choosing the picture images they would put in their treasured family album, each of them recalled the day and the events the way that they remembered them. Mom used calligraphy to highlight the titles of each picture. Dad made sure that he edited each frame and Holland held each picture carefully until it was secured for all to see.
On a special day like that the memories would last forever. For Holland, nothing would be quite as special as the day he drummed up a Butterfly ballet in his back yard and the family had a chance to enjoy a wonderful occasion: a Butterfly Belly Dance!
Here is the verse version:
Butterfly’s Belly Dance
By: Lady Bug
Have you ever seen them fly-?
Onward- up- into the sky?
So many numbers flying there
That wing-flapped rain sounds fill the air?
Everywhere you look
Is like a picture from a book.
The branches fill with nature’s wonder
Through childlike eyes we see the colors.
So it was that time of year
That Holland went out back to
Play the drums that made him dream of dance.
Where pretty ladies swirled and pranced
And people watched and listened, too
To see and hear the dancing crew!
The small strong hands beat out a tune
That kept him busy well past noon
He finally broke to grab a snack.
Returning to his little “shack”
A backyard shelter called a dome
That Holland fixed up like a home.
When suddenly to his surprise
A field of bright orange filled his eyes!
“Hey, Dad,” he whispered as he moved towards the screen.
“Come quickly and look at what I see. No Green!
Stay quiet, too,” the young son added.
“And you better grab your camera first!”
The questions forming in Dad’s head,
Made his growing worries even worse.
“Are you okay?” Dad asked his son.
“Get your camera, please, and run!”
Holland stood beside the door,
Half eaten apple on the floor
One index finger pointed out,
The other “Shushed” Dad with a pout
The two men stood stone still
Eyes open wide, feeling the thrill.
For some unknown incredible reason
The butterflies settled in Holland’s back yard
Sure they migrated overhead every season
But not around houses on their boulevard!
“What brought them?” Dad asked. “All the way over here?”
“I was playing the drum,” the boy offered up.
“I played long and hard and had to give up.
I was too hungry to continue to drum
And I needed a band-aid,” and he stuck out his thumb.
A blister had formed on the end of his digit.
Just then the butterflies started to fig it.
So Holland picked up his drum
And beat it so sweetly
That each monarch butterfly
Settled down neatly
Then the boy played a sinuous Arabic rhythm
And Dad noticed the monarchs had all started moving
Wings opened and closed in time to the drumbeats
While swaying and stepping with tiny bug feet
It was late in the day when the real dance began
Old Dad clicked his camera and waved with his hand
For Mother to join them and bring out some treats
For the boy and the butterflies to drink and to eat.
Mom knew right away just what she must do
And she returned to her kitchen to cook and to stew
As long as the drumbeats were steady and strong
The butterflies seemed to respond to the songs
There were speakers outside and when Mother was ready
She played soulful sweet sounds of an old Casbah medley
The music drifted out through the back yard real softly
The butterflies flitted, landing gently on bushes
Their wings flapping wildly like wind through the rushes
Mother moved quietly with her fruit laden trays.
She set them down carefully in a lovely display
Mom asked for Dad’s help to get them all water
Filling cookie sheets, pans and trays made by a potter.
Then Mom went inside one last time for some clothes
Returning in costume with bells on her nose!
The music was swelling, the butterflies feasting
Dad took the pictures while Holland was watching.
Mom handed her son a long purple Jalaba
And Dad topped off his head with a turban of red!
Soon Mother was swirling across the deck slowly
Holland joined with his Mom and they danced oh so joyfully
As the butterflies moved from the feast to the air
Attracted by purple and red flowers there
They added the orange of thousands of wings
To the swirls and the colorful steps dancers bring
Each moment was precious as the three humans pranced
With monarchs creating a bug Belly dance.
As the sunset drew closer, dancers paused for a rest
The butterflies ready for their next morning’s quest
The yard lights were solar and they softly shone
Mom, Dad and young Holland were about to go home
The music was playing a “one last request”
When to their delight they saw one little guest
A lone little Monarch flew up to one side
And she dipped and she flitted with wings open wide
She circled while the humans danced one sweet last dance
The kind of last song filled with love and romance
The monarch, she readied herself to depart,
Then she landed on Holland- right next to his heart.
It seemed that the back yard was magic just then
Those two had a moment when a miracle happened!
The monarch moved up to Holland’s round cheeks
And she butterfly kissed him for what seemed like weeks!
Dad captured this picture-an expression not missed:
Of the boy and the monarch and the Butterfly kiss
Then Dad stepped towards his wife to consider the drift
Of a Butterfly’s Belly dance, their son and this “gift”!
They thought of the day with the monarchs in flight,
The little boy, Holland, who drummed with such might
Monarch butterflies danced and then feasted with joy,
Because of the music that filled the young boy.
The darkness brought silence with movement suspended
The rapture of wings and the dancing had ended
They all slept for hours between dusk and dawn
Returning to help the departure along
One after another the monarchs took flight
The sun rising brightly- an end to the night
They swooped for some water or a sweet fruity bite
And winged themselves upward prepared for their flight.
The three humans stood as a family -together
Feeling a sense of loss and of sadness.
The brief bit of time when they bonded with nature
Was over so soon. It all felt like madness!
Humans can feel, when they share themselves freely,
Like magical beings with magical feelings
A day when a young man drummed up an adventure
A reminder to all of the wonders of nature
When sounds, food and monarchs joined by love and romance
An event that created a butterfly’s Belly Dance.
Posted in Original Stories by Teri Myers with no comments yet.
By Lady Bug
Dedicated to Lucelle -The story version followed by the verse version.
Little Bug opened her eyes and looked around at her hundreds of relations. She wanted to leave the dark little saw dusty box, but, she had no idea what she would find after she left the hatchery.
“I am in a real quandary,” she told one of her many siblings. “I feel like it is time to go, but everyone is just crawling around. Is someone in charge? Is Mother here?”
Her little sisters and brothers all looked at her as if there was something really wrong with her and then a bug that seemed more orange than red moved in her direction. She seemed older and wiser to Little Bug, so when the orange cousin said, “If you feel like it is time to leave- you leave.” Little Bug was happy to try out her wings and fly towards the sunlight at the end of the carton.
You can imagine what it was like for a tiny little bug like our little lady to fly into the air and see sunshine, blue sky, green grass and a virtual forest of plants in front of her. She knew that she would have to get serious about finding a place to call home pretty soon, but for a little bit of time, she decided to explore her ability to take wing and discover her surroundings. She glanced back to the open carton she was born in only once. From here on out, she was a free spirit ready for a new life!
Little Bug was clearly on her way! After a quick look around, she would find a home and figure out what she needed to do to get dinner. Until then, she was taking in all of the sounds, the sights and the many verdant shades of green that surrounded her on all sides as she jetted through the air. She moved so fast for so long a time that she felt tired and decided that she needed a rest. She flew toward a large plant that had big red stems and plenty of shade under its umbrella like leaves and she landed, and then crawled to a shady spot to take a short rest. From her high perch, she could see the surrounding plants easily. She could see something else, too. Only it wasn’t green and it has red eyes and long pointy things on the top of what seemed to be its head. And it was missing two of its legs, but it still was able to move down the row of green plants closer and closer to her, until it stopped right below the big leaf she was sitting on.
She was afraid and her little body began to shake. What happened next would change the lives of these tow creatures forever!
There was dew all over the big leaf. As the Little Bug’s body shook with fear, the dew droplets that were scattered around the leaf began to come together in a big droplet and it began to drain down the valleys in the leaf until a large dewdrop plopped right off the leaf onto the head of the strange white insect below causing it to look skyward at the big leaf above it.
Little Bug saw the red eyes of the big four-legged insect focusing on her and she suddenly stopped shaking! She even got brave enough to raise her front legs in a boxer’s pose, as if she could defend herself against a giant enemy and she stared back at the red eyed monster!
“You are not afraid of me, “The large white thing said. “I don’t eat bugs. I like them.”
“Y-y-y-you aren’t a bug?” asked the tiny little lady.
“Of course not! I am a white rabbit,” answered the rabbit.
“A rabbit, huh?”
“A genuine, hopper, at your service,” and he bowed just for her. Good manners, she thought.
“Your beautiful eyes are the color of my exoskeleton.”
“I believe you are correct, little bug. The color is red,” the rabbit told her. “And my fur is snowy white. Do you know what snow is?”
“Not really,” little bug explained. “This is my first day out of the hatchery and I have many things to learn before I find my new home and get my dinner.”
“Well, little one, Snow is the same color as my fur and it comes out of the sky every winter and covers the ground with cold little frozen flakes of snow. It makes everything look clean and fresh, but it is very cold. It would not be good for your kind, at all!”
“How do you know about it?” she asked.
“I learned about it shortly after I was born last fall. My mother did her level best to keep us all warm and she explained how the cold was pretty, but hard on all of the creatures that tried to live through a winter. Luckily,” he went on, “She was able to set up housekeeping in the corner of a storage cellar where there were lots of root vegetables to eat during the cold spell. We made it through just fine.”
“Wow. That is some story!”
“Do you have a home?” asked the rabbit.
“Not yet. I must find one soon, though and I will need a drink before that.”
“I can certainly help you with that part,” the rabbit quipped. “Jump down on top of my head and I will hop right over to the fountain where you can find water. And a few other places that might suit you for a home.”
“Everyone in the hatchery said I needed to find roses. Do you know what those are?”
“There is a big rose garden that surrounds one half of the fountain area and it is a short flight over to the water when you are thirsty.”
“Can you take me there, now?” Little Bug asked.
With that, the little bug jumped from the edge of the big leaf and landed on the rabbit’s head. She turned so she could see frontward and they were off!
“Hold onto my ears if you need to.”
“The long, white pointy things on the top of my head are my ears.”
“My goodness. They are so large. I don’t even see mine. Can you hear well?” she asked as they hopped along the vegetable row.
“I have big ears so I can hear the wolf when it tries to creep up on me.” Since she had no idea what a wolf was, and she was finding it hard to hang on to the silky fur without being blown backward by the rabbit’s fast pace, she did not ask anything more. She did find a good place to hang on to the rabbit’s ear, though and then she felt more comfortable.
In the blink of an eye, they were in a round open area that was covered by little round brown rocks. In the center of the circle was a big cascading water fountain surrounded by rocks and pretty flowers and plants. The water came from somewhere up on top and formed pools of water as it spilled down the rocks. At the bottom, the falling water splashed into the biggest pool and formed a mist that made a beautiful rainbow over the water.
No one in her family had prepared Little Bug to expect something this lovely. As she surveyed the fountain, she took flight and landed where she could drink her fill. Rabbit watched proudly before turning towards a lettuce row nearby.
When the tiny bug was finished drinking, she looked for her friend and for a moment was lost to think that he might have disappeared. She saw him munching on leaves and heard her tiny tummy growl with hunger, but she needed to talk to the rabbit and flew to say thank you.
“What do they call you?” she asked him after she let him know how much she appreciated his ride to the fountain.
“I am just Rabbit. My Mom used to call me Bunny, though and I did like that.”
“Well, I shall also call you Bunny,” the bug responded. “I should like a name as well. But our kind does not really go in for names- we mostly look at each other’s spots to identify one from the other.”
“Since you are a pretty little Lady, why don’t we call you Lady Bug?”
“That sounds wonderful!”
Just them her tummy growled and the rabbit rushed her towards some beautiful flowery green plants on the other side of the fountain. “Try those roses, they are loaded with aphids. I think that is what you eat for dinner, isn’t it?”
“I hear that they are nutritious and delicious,” Lady Bug said. “Yum!”
“After you eat, fly over there,” and he wiggled his pink nose towards the lettuce rows. “I shall look forward to your report about your first dinner!”
“Thank you again kind, Bunny. See you later,” and she was in the air.
The sun was beginning to set in the west when a full little Lady Bug rejoined her new friend in a tall, silvery green stand of artichokes. She landed on his head and crawled down his nose so she could see his gorgeous red eyes when they conversed. They spent the time until it was dark talking about their lives, their families and the garden amenities they would start to explore together.
“Aphids are sweet, you know. The ants told me that is why they herd them. They love the taste of a delicious little green aphid when it explodes in their mandibles,” Lady Bug told Bunny.
“We rabbits don’t go into eating anything with face- only green plants and crunchy carrots and other wonderful fruits and vegetables. I especially love a well turned red radish!”
“If you don’t eat meat, how do you get your protein?”
“I get everything I need from plants.”
“Oh,” Little Bug said. “You told me about wolves. Do wolves eat meat?”
“Yes they do. And I happen to be their favorite kind of meat, too. But if I stay here, the wolves do not like to come into this garden. Maybe, because there are people here. People brought your hatchery box in here. The people always take care of the plants and the fountain, too. Wolves don’t like them, so it is safe.”
“Do you mean that I did not come from this garden?” asked Little Bug.
“I don’t think so, little lady! Hey! Hold on! I know what I am going to call you! Lady Bug! It is perfect! Lady Bug!” the rabbit was so excited that he nearly jumped Lady Bug off of his nose.
“It sounds very nice, Bunny! I believe it will do nicely, thank you!” Lady Bug recovered from the near fall from Bunny’s head. “But, now I am wondering if you changed the subject from wolves to names because you do not want to talk about wolves.”
“We were talking about you coming from another place. Not wolves when I figured out your new name, Lady Bug. I think that you seem so curious, that tomorrow we shall go back to the little carton hatchery you flew out of and see what we can find out about your birthplace. Are you interested?”
“It is a wonderful idea, Bunny. We can find out together and come back for a big drink at the fountain before lunch.”
With that, the two friends said goodnight. Bug’s Bunny nestled into the artichokes and Lady Bug fund the bottom side of a leaf that was half way up the plants and settled in right above Bunny’s soft white head. If she were to lose her grip on the bottom of the leaf, she would fall onto Bunny’s fur and be perfectly safe. The last thing she remembered before drifting off was the sound of tree frogs ribbeting to the rhythm of the crickets’ chirps and the soft wind blowing through the garden creating a very zen-like sleeping area for all of the creatures.
The sun rose early during the summer months and Lady Bug woke up hungry. Bunny was still snoring when she flew off to see about breakfast. The sleepy little ants who were sheparding the aphids were not even awake after Lady Bug finished her repast and returned to find Bunny munching the tender leaves of a large parsnip. Lady Bug thought how pretty the tops of many of the vegetables were. Bunny certainly had many choices when it came to eating!
“Are you ready to go over to the barn to find your family home?” Bunny asked her.
“I sure am,” she replied as she settled down by one of the long bunny ears and held on tight. Bunny hopped down the row to the far side of the garden and then to the grassy area beside the giant red barn. The little white carton she flew out of was lying by a water pump and some tools were stacked next to it. Bunny stopped and Lady Bug flew over to the box. No one was inside. There was a pile of sawdust and two sticks in the carton.
“Looks like the family is out working in the garden,” Bunny said. “Here is the label we are looking for right on the side of the carton.”
He examined it and hopped around the carton several times. Bunny’s ears twitched and his nose wiggled and he turned to look up at Lady Bug. She was at the top of a shovel handle and seemed to be looking off into the darkness inside the barn door. “You were mailed from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and the postmark says you were shipped here on May 21st. That means you probably hatched around the 14th or 15th of the month of June. There is a label saying that you and your siblings would be ready to release by the 14th.
“I was hatched on June 14th?” asked Lady Bug. “And where is Louisiana?”
“I have no idea, but someday we can look through the windows of the barn tack room and see if we can find it on the picture they call a map. It hangs on the wall across from the window. I know someone who goes in and out of the tack room and I can ask for help if you want me to.”
“I think we should go back to the fountain and get a drink. We can look at the map later. I am so thirsty and my stomach is already growling.” Lady Bug stated with certainty. “Are you thirsty, too?”
Hop on, Little Lady and we will head to the fountain. The circle was filling with all kinds of critters who needed a drink. Lady Bug was introduced to chipmunks and squirrels, different kinds of seed eating birds and a few birds that looked at her sideways as if she might be a meal for them. Bunny whispered about the birds that ate worms and bugs and warned her about the beaks having a long narrow shape that could poke around in tree bark or into the soil for a tasty morsel. Lady Bug shivered and Bunny told her that as long as they were together, they would be all right!
“Watch out for the snakes and frogs and wasps and hornets,” Bunny explained. “They eat everything.”
Lady Bug drank her fill and she agreed that she should go eat lunch and spend some quality time in the roses during the afternoon. Bunny told her where he would be at dinner hour and the two split up for the rest of the day. When Lady Bug returned in late afternoon, she had a full tummy and already enjoyed a nap. Bunny was sleeping in the shade of the rhubarb plant and she watched him dream until he woke up.
Bunny was coming to his senses when there was a loud human shout that filled the air. “Get back over here you sneaky dog! Walter, Cujo is in the garden. Help me get him back in the yard!”
Suddenly, Bunny was very afraid. Cujo was one of the wolves who came into the garden and he chased all of the little creatures and broke plants over and scared everyone who lived here.
“Be very still,” Bunny told Lady Bug. “We must not draw attention to ourselves or that wolf will find me.”
“What does a wolf look like? I can fly into the air and see if he is coming. If he is you can stay here and hide, but if he isn’t, we can go to that warren place you told me about and you will be safe there. I just have to fly into the sky, so it is easy for me,” Lady Bug assured her friend. With that she flew up to have a good look.
There was a shaggy looking hairy beast running right down the row towards the rhubarb patch!
“Is the wolf a big hairy gray, black and white beast?” Lady Bug asked Bunny.
“Uh, huh. Do you see it?”
“It is heading right towards us!”
Bunny froze. He could not move because he was so afraid.
Up in the sky above Lady Bug, a big black bird was circling the garden. “Caw, caw!” the bird vocalized. “Don’t worry rabbit,” the raven called. The bird dove through the air right at the big running beast and attacked the beat’s furry head. The raven flapped its wings and sped off into the sky, cawing loudly as it flew into the air.
Cujo stopped and immediately started barking at the raven and then bounded over the rows of plants to try to catch it. Lady Bug watched as the wolf chased the big black bird farther and farther away, leaving her friend, Bunny, time to catch his breath.
“There are two big pink creatures with lots of colorful material hanging on them and they are about to- they have snared the wolf. Cujo is hanging his head down low and is walking away with the…”
“Humans?” Bunny asked.
“I guess so, if humans are pink and cover themselves with colorful pieces of material.”
“Hooray!” Bunny shouted joyfully. “We are all safe again!”
Raven flew by and winked at the two friends.
“Thanks, Raven,” Bunny said.
“Any time, rabbit! The raven called. “I always enjoy making that beast, Cujo, behave!”
After the most horrible experience either of them would ever have to face, the two bonded forever.
The rest of the day and evening, Lady Bug and her friend Bunny talked about emergency escape plans, how to find a perfect nest for Lady Bug and the proximity of the safe rabbit warren for Bunny. They enjoyed their time together so much that they became fast friends and as time went by, Lady Bug’s family made friends with Bunny’s wife and many children. The garden proved to be the very best place to live in the whole entire world for Lady Bug and of course, for Bug’s Bunny, too!
The verse version of Bug’s Bunny:
On the fourteenth day in the month of June
A tiny bug moved by the light of the moon.
She turned to the left and she turned to the right
Then she opened her eyes in the full moonlight.
“I’m tired,” she said to the bug on the stick
“I’m itchy and scratchy and feel a bit sick.”
The other bug said answered, “We all feel that way.
But things will be better if we don’t stay!”
“Leave here,” she asked. “Go where? Just outside?”
“They’ll pick up the carton if we try to hide.”
The little bug felt sleepy and closed her bug eyes.
She woke up with a start to a great big surprise.
The light from the opening was colorfully grand
And she marched out the door and her feet touched the land
Flapping her wings was her next test of strength
Then, stretching her legs to their fullest long length
She flew up as high as her little wings went
And she flew and she flew ‘til her flappers were spent!
She landed on top of a huge giant leaf
That topped a red stem in the shade underneath.
The little bug looked as she rested a bit
And she suddenly there was a big white rabbit.
It had only four legs-“It’s lost two,” she thought.
“And its eyes are the color of what’s under my spots!”
She crawled to the edge of the leafy umbrella
As the creature came close she saw, “It’s a fella’!”
She shook with the fear that she felt deep inside
And tried as she would, she had no place to hide.
The little bug shook the leaf ‘til the dew gathered up
In a huge great big droplet that fell with a glup.
The rabbit below turned his eyes to the bug
And bug lost her footing and fell into a hug
With a long pointy white thing that came out of its head
Amazed that she landed on such a soft bed!
The wise white rabbit exclaimed “I love flying creatures…
They have everything I don’t have. Extraordinary features!”
Little bug crawled over the fur towards the nose
“I bet you see far with those eyes, I suppose.”
She looked into red eyes so gorgeous and big
That her heart flipped and flopped and she started to jig.
“Calm down little lady. You’re bouncing all over.
You must stay more still or you’ll fall in the clover.”
“I can’t,” said the bug. “I’m way too excited.”
“I’m hoping you’ll join me. I’ll hop. You’re invited.”
“I’m thirsty,” bug said. “I need a long drink.”
“Well hold onto my ear, I’ve the answer I think”
Together they hopped and they thumped down the row
The bug on the top holding tightly-just so!
A large wide circle with a fountain appeared
And the cool clear water tumbled ever so near
To the tiny red bug and her big rabbit friend
Who dipped up a drink from the pool on this end. (Of the fountain- of course!)
Together they drank all the water they could hold
Then the rabbit pointed to flowers the color of gold.
“They are roses,” he told her. “And that’s where you’ll eat”
“Are there aphids to munch on those pretty flowers?”
“Oh, yes,” said the rabbit. “You’ll be eating for hours.”
With that the new friends parted ‘til later.
They met by the Artichoke plants down the row.
They shared stories of life in the rhubarb and tied a red bow
On the tallest of stalks to be sure they could find
The very same spot every night at this time.
“I think I shall call you Lady,” said Rabbit.
Lady Bug’s eyed opened wide at the thought.
“And you will be my best friend, Bunny!”
The two pals had figured it out on the spot!
The next day began with adventure for both
Bug breakfasted early and Bunny played sloth.
The rabbit was still waking up and shouts rang out loud.
A human was warning the entire crowd
Bunny was so still he looked like he’d hardened.
There was terror nearby in the sweet peaceful garden.
Lady Bug, took to the air so high and aloof
And watched as a Raven swooped down to the wolf
In seconds the danger was headed away
And poor Bunny Rabbit was finally okay!
They both thanked the bird and talked through the night
About danger, good fortune and a raven in flight.
Together they bonded, friends through the ages
The Bunny and Lady Bug linked on the pages!
A friendship that lasted until the 14th of never
“cause friends like these two were forever and ever.
Posted in Original Stories by Teri Myers with no comments yet.
I plan to share the stories I publish in papers and magazines on the website for you to read.
Posted in Original Stories by Teri Myers with 2 comments.