Tag: flowers

Wrong Town

It was high noon. The two men faced each other from opposite ends of the long, dusty main road of the little makeshift town. Inside the buildings, the townspeople hid, watching from the edges of the windows and waiting for the outcome of the showdown.

Sheriff Bob narrowed his eyes. “I don’t think this is the right town for you,” he said at last.

Scott rolled his shoulders back and raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t that for me to decide? I think I like it here.”

“And I think you need to find another place you like better. We don’t need your kind of trouble.” Bob’s hand hovered over his holstered gun.

“Everybody needs a little trouble.” Scott smirked and his hand darted to the handle of his pistol.

Bob grabbed his own gun and just as the guns were pointed at each other, there was a bang and a bright light and both men were thrown onto their backs in the dust a good distance away. They lay there blinking up at the sky as a tall pink rabbit dusted off her fur and looked around with a scrunched up nose.

“Am I dead yet?” Scott asked. “I didn’t think it hurt to be dead.”

“I still haven’t figured out where you shot me,” Bob said. He slowly patted down his arms.

“I didn’t shoot yet.”

“Me either.”

They sat up, only to face an annoyed pink rabbit, who was tapping a furry paw and scowling. Scott frantically started patting the dust around him, looking for his gun, but it had landed far away. Sheriff Bob kept blinking and rubbing his eyes.

“Where are all the flowers?” the rabbit asked.

“What flowers?” Sheriff Bob pinched his arm and winced. “There haven’t ever been flowers here this time of year. You need to come back in the spring to see flowers.”

Scott finally located his pistol and dove for it. Unfortunately, it had broken into pieces. Scott wailed as he tried to fit the pieces together and it became obvious it was unfixable. “My gun! What happened to my gun?”

Hearing this, Sheriff Bob ignored the rabbit and looked around for his own gun. He was relieved to find it nearby and in one piece. He hastily crawled over to retrieve it. Then he sat back on his heels with a groan.

“Your energy is low because of the lack of flowers. I don’t know who came and drained the color and life and flowers and glitter and rainbows from this town, but I promise you that I will bring them back, or my name isn’t Princess Isabella Longhair of the Fluffy Paws!” The rabbit raised a glowing paw in the air.

Scott dropped the worthless pieces of metal on the ground and backed away. “What…?”

The rabbit pointed her paw at the general store. In a burst of light, the previously sun-bleached storefront gleamed in a rainbow of colors, as though it had been made from some strange sort of neon mother of pearl. Vines burst from the ground and wrapped themselves around the edges of the boards. Brightly colored daisies the size of dinner plates bloomed in unison.

The bunny turned towards the saloon behind Scott. Eyes wide, Scott scrambled out of the way and hid behind Sheriff Bob. “What are you doing?” Bob hissed.

“Aren’t you the sheriff? Shouldn’t you be protecting the town or something? Shoot it!” Scott hissed back.

The bunny turned to look at him with narrowed eyes. Scott backed up a few steps. “Run!” he shouted.

They ran and hid in the sheriffs office. When all the townspeople finally felt safe enough to emerge from their hiding places hours later, the rabbit was gone. The town was now covered in color and flowers and glitter and rainbows. “I guess her name really was Princess Isabella Longhair of the Fluffy Paws,” the sheriff muttered.

“I guess you were right, sheriff,” Scott said, as he looked around with a grimace of disgust.

“About what?”

“This is not the right town for me. I’m leaving.” Scott took a step and then paused and looked back. “But before I go, could I ask a favor?”

Sheriff Bob folded his arms across his chest and raised an eyebrow.

Scott smiled sheepishly. “Could I borrow a gun?”

Fall Troubles

It is fall, and that means a change of wardrobe for the flower fairies. There are just a lot fewer fresh flower petals to stitch into stylish fairy dresses. And so, they’re left with colorful but stiff and scratchy fall leaves.

Of course, some fairies gather the long blades of grass to weave into lovely gowns. Unfortunately, this means that they are up weaving before dawn to get dressed for the day. Getting up early is difficult when so many fairies stay up late to dance by moonlight.

They know it won’t be long until it’s too cold to be out at all. By winter, the flower fairies will all be burrowed deep in hidden nests to sleep through the winter. The frost fairies will take over their duties while they’re finally able to get some much needed rest.

The flower fairies are so tired in the fall after using their earth magic to help things grow and bloom and painting the world with color and singing with the bird choirs and encouraging baby birds and butterflies to hatch. Tired fairies having to dress up in itchy scratchy leaf dresses means the fairies are very grumpy in the fall. Grumpy fairies often play mean tricks.

This is why you set something down somewhere safe in the fall and you can’t find it again for months and months. You won’t find it. The fairies hid it and won’t give it back until they wake up feeling guilty in the spring.

This is also why your yard is filled with leaves an hour after you finish raking. And why your dog barks at nothing all the time. And why your never-fail cookie recipe goes completely flat when you need the cookies to turn out well.

You may think that this means that grumpy flower fairies are to blame for all of the pranks that happen around Halloween. Actually, they love Halloween when people are happy and sharing with their neighbors. They love the positive energy, and those nice big pumpkins with warm candles inside are the perfect spot to gather and tell stories.

There are also pieces of costume and small candy wrappers left around for a silly evening fashion show. They especially love the shiny metallic wrappers that look like the reflective surface of a perfectly still puddle. It’s even better if the wrappers still smell sweet.

Flower fairies don’t hang on to their treasures. But it is fun to dress up and compare looks and tell stories just for one night. They know that soon, very soon, it will be time to sleep for a season.

Many people put out birdseed for the birds during the cold weather. Some people even put out food for stray cats. But not many people remember the poor flower fairies.

Consider planting some flowers that will bloom late. Sunflowers are a good choice. Some varieties of roses bloom late, too. Do a search and plant some seeds if you are able. The fairies will be grateful, and you may be able to find your car keys when you need them. It’s worth a try.

Flashback Friday: The Rose Prince

This story was originally posted on May 11, 2017. I like this story. It’s one I can imagine telling as a bedtime story and then turning it into a series of stories as the characters have further adventures. That’s the kind of story my kids like best.

One day, Princess Matilda cut through a rarely used courtyard in the older part of the castle. She was late to archery practice, so she was taking the shortcut.   Most people didn’t use the short cut, because there was a tall fence with spikes along the top at the end of the courtyard.

However, Princess Matilda wasn’t most people, and she knew the trick to climbing the fence. There were chips in a few of the stones in the wall of the castle next to the fence. If she ran straight at the wall and jumped, she could use the chipped spots as toeholds. If she climbed quickly enough and turned and jumped just right, she could sail right over the fence.

Of course this meant she had to tuck and roll to survive the fall without breaking anything, but that was part of the fun.   As long as she shook the dust and bits of grass out of her hair, no one had to know.

Halfway through the courtyard, Matilda paused.   There in a corner of the courtyard where some weeds had sprung up in cracks in the stonework, a little rosebush was growing. She would come back later. Matilda secretly loved roses. For now, she raced ahead, then turned and ran straight at the wall.

The next day she returned with tools she’d borrowed from a gardener. She cleared away the weeds and then sat by it. It looked so lonely standing by itself in the corner.   She told it a little about her day, and placed some pebbles around it in a ring. When she left, she promised to come back.

She came back often to clear away weeds or water the rosebush when it hadn’t rained in a while. She brought pretty pebbles or bits of wood that caught her eye and added them to the ring around the bush. Every time she came, she stopped to talk to the rose bush for a little while.

The rose bush grew and branched out. After several weeks, it sprouted a single bud.   Matilda began visiting more often, hoping to see what the blossom would look like once it bloomed. One day, she came to the courtyard early for archery class so that she had time to check in with her rosebush.

The flower had bloomed. It was a simple rose, but the fragrance filled the courtyard. It was lovely. Matilda leaned in closer and smelled the rose. It was wonderful. “You’re perfect!” she said. Then she kissed the soft petals.

The rosebush began to sparkle. It grew brighter and brighter until Matilda had to squint to look at it. Then there was a flash of light. Matilda blinked the stars from her vision, while holding her bow at the ready.

There was a young man standing where the rosebush had been. He was wearing glasses and his clothes were well made but practical. He was smiling. Princess Matilda frowned. “Who are you?” she asked.

He opened his mouth to speak, when there was another flash of light from the opposite side of the courtyard. Matilda turned, bow up and arrow notched, while stepping back so that the strange man was at her side rather than her back.

A young woman dressed in black was pointing a stick at her. Matilda’s eyes narrowed.   That was no ordinary stick. The woman raised her eyebrows and scowled.   “You broke my enchantment. You had no right to do that. I shall turn you both into frogs and let my cat chase you.”

Matilda shot an arrow through the top of the woman’s tall black hat. “Put your stick down,” she said. “Or next time I wont miss.” She notched her arrow. The woman lowered her wand.

“Hide here all you want, little prince,” the woman said.   “If you ever come back home, I’ll get you.” There was another flash of light and she was gone.

“So, you’re a prince who was turned into a rose bush?” Matilda asked.

“Well, I was turned into a seed that grew into a rosebush,” the prince said. “But otherwise, yes.”

“Why did she do it? Did she steal your kingdom or something?” Matilda asked.

“I have three older brothers. As far as I know, the kingdom is fine,” the prince said. “However, that woman was responsible for killing thousands of striped gilkie birds. She used their tongues in a hair removal potion. When I submitted a proposal to the court that the birds should be protected so that they didn’t all disappear, she got angry.”

“Hair removal potion? Do people like the bald look where you’re from?” the princess asked.

“No, they don’t like leg hair,” he said.

“Weird.”

“I know, right? Besides, if she hunted until the birds were all gone, she wouldn’t be able to make her potion anyway,” the prince said.

“That makes sense,” the princess said. “Did you explain it to her?”

“Sometimes people don’t want to listen. I tried to explain how everything is interconnected and everything relies on other things for survival. If you take out a link in the chain, you could have dangerous consequences. She muttered something about how the strong survive and that I’d see that nature wasn’t gentle.”

“Then she turned you into a seed?” Matilda asked.

“And tossed me into the wind,” the prince said.

“So, what’s your name,” Matilda asked.

“Frank. I’m sorry I hadn’t introduced myself, I feel like I know you so well after all your visits,” Frank said.

“Then I guess it’s my turn to get to know you better,” Matilda said. She smiled.   “I know something already.”

“What?”

“You still smell like roses. It’s nice.” She laughed as Frank tried sniffing his arm.

“I do?” he asked.

“Yes. Would you like to come in for sandwiches?” Matilda asked.

“Don’t you have archery class?” Frank asked.

“Oh, you’re right. Sandwiches can wait. Come cheer me on,” Matilda said. She stooped to pick up the black hat and pulled the arrow out of it. “Do you think she’ll come back for this?”

“I guess it depends on whether she needs it back or not,” Frank said.

“You’re probably right,” Matilda said. She stuffed it into her quiver. “Well, let’s go. I hate being late.”

Charlie’s Room: A Handkerchief

“It’s almost valentine’s day,” Charlie said one afternoon. “Mom’s at a workshop, so you can tell me what you got her and she won’t hear.”

Isaac smiled. “I got her a handkerchief. It’s that really bright green like her favorite shirt. She always gets a cold this time of year, so an extra handkerchief will be handy.”

“You can’t get her a handkerchief.” Charlie looked horrified. “You’re supposed to give people flowers and candy. Everybody knows that.”

“But the handkerchief is useful, and it will last longer than flowers and candy. And I think it will make her smile. Your mom has the prettiest smile of anyone I know.” Isaac thought for a moment. “She does like flowers, though. Would you like to go to the store with me and help me pick some out? They can be from both of us.”

Charlie grinned. “Of course I will. I know all the flowers Mom likes best. I help her in the garden, you know.”

“Sounds great. Let’s go.” Isaac set down the crossword book and stood up. “Don’t forget your coat. It’s cold outside.”

As Charlie put his arm in the sleeve of his coat, he paused. “Could we get ingredients for cookies? Maybe we could take some to the neighbors. They need valentines, too. Cookies are good neighbor valentines.”

Isaac zipped up his coat. “That’s a great idea. You could make cards to go with them. Homemade cards are good valentines for anyone, including neighbors.”

“Are they good for parents, too?” Charlie looked hopeful. “I didn’t have any extras of my cards from the store. There was just enough for my class at school.”

“I love homemade cards. Your mom does too. I think they show that you spent time on trying to make something that someone would like, and that you were thinking of them. That’s nice.” Isaac made sure Charlie was all the way in the car and closed the door.

“Maybe I could make dinosaur valentines! Do we have green paper? And googly eyes, the kind that you glue on and they move around when you shake the paper?” Charlie held out his arms, hands wide apart. “Googly eyes will make my cards this much better.”

Isaac laughed. “Let’s see what we can find at the store. I think we have a busy afternoon ahead of us.”

They found everything they needed. Charlie picked out a lovely bunch of pink and red and white carnations. “Mom likes the smell, and these look like valentine’s day,” he said. There were craft supplies and baking supplies, and Charlie even got a new pencil sharpener when they were looking at the craft paper nearby. “I lost mine, so it’s good they have some here.”

At home, they put the flowers in water. “Won’t your mom see them before valentine’s day if we leave them on the counter?” Isaac asked.

Charlie thought for a moment. “You could hide them inside the curtains by the window in my room. Maybe she won’t see them.”

Flowers well-hidden, they started on the cookies. While they baked, Charlie made cards. He drew all sorts of dinosaur shapes on the paper, and Isaac helped him cut them out. Then Charlie decorated them and glued on googly eyes.

When the cookies were cool and packaged with paper plates and plastic wrap, and the cards were all made (and a few of them hidden for later), Isaac and Charlie looked at the clock.

“Mom will be here soon,” Charlie said. “Do you think she’ll want to deliver the valentines to the neighbors with us?”

“But it’s not valentine’s day yet. Shouldn’t we wait?” Isaac asked.

“You can deliver neighbor valentines early,” Charlie said. “It’s like Christmas cookies. We delivered those weeks before Christmas.”

“I think you’re right.” Isaac nodded. “Let’s wait for your mom.”

When Marianne came home, they delivered the cookies. “No caroling,” Charlie said before they left. “That’s only for Christmas.”

Marianne admired the dinosaur cards. “I hope you made me one,” she said. “I think they’re great.”

Charlie grinned. “You’ll have to wait and see.” He turned to Isaac. “I told you googly eyes would make them better.”

The neighbors loved the valentines. A few days later, Charlie helped Isaac give Marianne the flowers. She loved them. “My favorites,” she said happily, and smelled the carnations.

Isaac and Marianne loved the dinosaur cards, of course. And Marianne smiled when she opened the handkerchief. “It’s just what I needed,” she said happily.

Charlie looked confused and turned to Isaac. “You were right. I wouldn’t want a handkerchief for a gift, though.”

Isaac handed him a small package. “It’s a good thing I didn’t get you one,” he said.

Charlie tore open the wrapping paper. “A dinosaur eraser? Wow!” He smiled.

Marianne hugged them both at once. “I made us a chocolate cake. Who wants to eat cake and watch a movie?”

That night at bedtime, after Isaac read a bedtime story and listened to Charlie’s prayers, he got up to turn off the light. “Dad,” Charlie said, just as he turned off the light. “It wasn’t really about the handkerchief, was it? Mom was happy because you were thinking of her, right?”

“That’s right. Like the cards you spent so much time on.”

“And Mom’s chocolate cake she made.”

Isaac nodded. “That’s right.”

“That’s what I thought,” Charlie said. “The flowers were good though, because I know Mom’s favorites.”

“That shows you were thinking about her, too.”

“I guess you’re right. Valentine’s day is more complicated than I thought.”

Isaac laughed. “Don’t worry. You have plenty of time to figure it out.”

“I guess there’s one every year.” Charlie yawned. “Goodnight, Dad. I love you.”

“Goodnight, Charlie. I love you too.”

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