Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving with Flickertail, Paint, & G.G.

“You’re putting up the tree already! It’s only Thanksgiving,” said G.G. the cat.
“Paint and Paintbrush are visiting for a few days. They should be here any minute and I thought they’d enjoy decorating the tree,” Flickertail the llama said.
“Oh, I can’t wait to see the baby.”
“So, the filly’s name is Paintbrush? That’s cute,” gobbled William the turkey.
“Well, I haven’t heard what the humans named her but our friend, Sheila came up with a few suggestions and Paint liked Brush best, so she calls her Paintbrush or Brush,” explained Flickertail.
“Hi William,” G.G. said. “How come you’re not in hiding?”
“Hi G.G. Didn’t Flickertail tell you? Mary and Tom decided not to have turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas any more because it makes me nervous.”
“It’s a good thing too because Paint and I were running out of ideas and places to hide him,” said Flickertail.
“I remember you turning him into a peacock last year.” G.G. laughed
“That was my favorite disguise.” William smiled.
A movement at the barn door caught Flickertail’s attention. “Come on in Paint. Did you and Paintbrush have a good trip?”
“Fine,” said Paint. “Hi everybody. Happy Thanksgiving.”
“Happy Thanksgiving!”
"Aww! Paintbrush is beautiful,” G.G. exclaimed.
“Thank you. She’s a bit shy, yet,” said Paint as Paintbrush peeked out from behind her mother.
“We were just about to decorate the tree. Want to help?” asked Flickertail.
“Of course.” Paint picked up one of the larger ornaments in her mouth and placed it on an upper branch as high as she could reach.
“Oops,” said Flickertail. “I can see we are going to have a problem. The tree is too big for any of us to reach the top branches.”
“I can climb up with the smaller ornaments,” offered G.G.
“Maybe Paintbrush would like to help decorate some of the lower branches,” suggested Flickertail, “while Paint and I get the middle branches.”
“I can help Paintbrush,” offered William.
When they had placed all the ornaments, Flickertail looked at the top branch and said to Paint, “Well, what do you think, star or angel this year?”
“Star,” decided Paint. “But how are we going to get it up there?”
“Good question. It’s too big for G.G. to carry and we are too heavy to climb the tree.“
“Can you fly, William?” asked G.G.
“Not high enough. You’d need a wild turkey for that,” explained William.
Paintbrush tugged at her mother’s leg. “What, sweetie?”
“Can you lift me high enough?”
“Yes, you clever girl!”
“Hey, look at me,” yelled G.G. from the top branch. “I’m a star!”
“Good thing we didn’t go with the angel this year, then,” Paint whispered to Flickertail.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Flickertail's New Assistant

“Did I tell you Paint is retiring to raise a family?” Flickertail, the llama asked his human, Mary.
“No, but Norma’s daughter, Tracy mentioned that Paint had a filly earlier this year,” said Mary. “Are you going to close your detective business?”
“I thought I’d look for another assistant first. No one can take Paint’s place and she is already missed but I don’t want to work by myself any more either.”
“What about another partner, like Paint was? Why just an assistant?”
“I want to make sure we work well together before I make that kind of commitment again.”
“Do you have anyone in mind?”
“A few friends but they all come with baggage. Snow wants a 6 to 7 month vacation. She can’t handle the warmth. The teenager who helps you and Tom is leaving for college soon. William, the turkey disappears for a few weeks around Thanksgiving and we don’t see hide or feather of him until after Christmas. Sammy, the skunk covers up any scent of the crime scene. The house dogs, Cookie and Coco, while great scent hounds, never saw a body of water they didn’t want to splash around in.”
“What about Alice’s cat, G.G.? She’s helped you and Paint in the past with several of your cases.”
“I actually have been giving her a lot of thought. Her climbing abilities have proven invaluable and her grey fur makes her practically invisible. She does have a lot of cattitude, though.”
“I find her cattitude charming.”
“It can be a bit wearing, but she does make me laugh and nobody’s purrrfect.”
***
“I smell a rat,” said Flickertail’s new assistant G.G., the cat.
“Oh, that’s Randy,” said Flickertail as he spied him in the shadows of the barn. “Come over here Randy and I’ll introduce you to G.G..”
Randy shook his head vigorously and scurried under the barn.
“Can I have him for dinner?” asked G.G..
“You can have him to dinner but not for dinner.”
“Why not?” demanded G.G.
“Because we don’t dine on our friends and that’s not negotiable.”
“Oh, ALRIGHT.”  G.G. stamped her foot petulantly. “Then I want to be your partner like Paint was, not just your assistant and THAT’s not negotiable.”
Flickertail thought for a moment. “Alright, but only because you have proven yourself to be helpful and cooperative on several cases already, not because you just threw a tantrum.”
“It worked,” said G.G. under her breath, but Flickertail’s banana shaped ears heard her. “It won’t work, again,” he warned her.  “Adults work things out. You’ll find me reasonable and fair, if you come to me calmly with your concerns and problems.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again,” said G.G. sheepishly.
“Thank you. Shall we shake on that?”

G.G. grinned and shook her body from her head to her paws, while Flickertail chuckled.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Growing up in the 60s

When I was 13 my foster parents bought a cottage on 120 acres up North. Dad cleared about 5 acres around the cottage and left the rest in trees. We used it as a weekend retreat year round. 
   The deer would come right up to the house because my dad had left a few apple trees in the back yard. 
   I had heard of sightings of black bears and wolves, but I never saw any. The threat of them made some interesting trips to the outhouse in the dark though. I'd go out with a flashlight and imagine every set of eyes belonged to a bear or wolf.
   My teenage years were an interesting mix of the conveniences of city life during the week and a rustic lifestyle on weekends. Eventually we had electricity, a furnace, and running water in the cottage, but at least I can say that I know what life is like without them.
   I have many happy memories of my weekends up North. At the time, it seemed like a lot of work and inconvenience but now I realize that the family was working together toward common goals. 
   Together, we added vegetable and flower gardens, a furnace, kitchen cupboards and sink, a well, running water, a toilet in the basement, and electricity. The apples, blackberries, asparagus, and strawberries that already grew there added to what we produced. During the growing season, we really did live off the land with enough left over to can or freeze.
   My dad taught me how to shoot a rifle, (a skill I haven't used since) how to recognize poison ivy, and how to read animal tracks.          Unfortunately, he didn't teach me how to recognize poison ivy before I got a bad case of it and actually had to be hospitalized for it.
   My mom and I went to flea markets and rummage sales to furnish the place, so I learned frugality and how to decorate on a limited budget. Those lessons still come in handy.
   As you would suppose, my dad loved deer hunting. I still like venison sausage but I'm not a big fan of venison otherwise. 
   Before we got the cottage, we pitched a tent in the summer a few weekends. I liked the cottage much better and so did my mom.

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