I did my first readings at Vaughn Elementary school on Thursday night. Schools aren’t what schools used to be….they are fun, teachers are huggable, the headmistress had a huge smile not a twelve inch ruler and the library like the children was bright and welcoming. It was a pizza and pyjama party for starters, I was the entrees and as a wave of RSVP’s came through the door, as little pink blue and yellow fleecy pyjamas perched on the uniform rows of miniature blue plastic seats, I wondered fleetingly how on earth I had found myself being introduced as Mrs. Sikora, guest author then, in panic forgot what it was I was wondering. The first reading to the first batch of my pizza stuffed audience was hesitant. I heard my voice quiver and wondered if my knees were shaking as much as my hands were trembling. I concluded…they were, maybe worse. The first showing of Gertie and Quest the video was received with audible “oohs”, “aahs” and gasps, the photos of baby Quest asleep in a bed of straw got even more “oohs” and “aahs” and by the time we reached desolate Gertie all alone on the farm road, the “oohs” and “aahs” were back and I was in my element ! By the third reading, there was no nerves (there wasn’t much voice either) my feet were numb and we were having fun !!. Little voices asked totally relevant questions…like “do horses eat hay ?” and “ why do they have big feet ?” little hands clapped and little faces smiled. It was a memorable night and our thanks go out to the wonderful staff at Vaughn Elementary for inviting us and the little artists that created the beautiful welcome poster that met us at the door.
There were petticoats like big fluffy meringues littering the floor, somewhere in the battered well travelled cardboard box there was a pair of utilitarian cotton pantaloons but where ? Time was running out, it was early Saturday afternoon, I had three hours to transform from poop scooper extraordinaire to Southern Belle, I couldn’t find my bloomers, my ringlets were lying on the bed looking like a scruffy persian cat and my own hair hastily twisted up into hot rollers, kept falling out ( the rollers that is, not my hair !!!) . What sort of self respecting Scarlett O’hare would I be without my ringlets and appropriate undergarments. …”I do declare, I have a touch of the vapours coming on”. Greg and I had a hot date, we were going out together, just us and it WASN’T farm related. Ok….in a sort of convoluted roundabout way, I guess it was. We were off to join the amazing Fort Nisqually ( Living History Museum) volunteer group for their Burns Night Celebration as honorary invited guests…why honorary ? without THE most important component of the most essential item at the celebration, the HAGGIS it wouldn’t have been authentic. Karen’s haggis was authentic, we can vouch for that and we know that the giver of those ingredients had the best life a pasture maggot (sheep) could have had. By five o’clock, the pantaloons had been located ( goodness knows how Scarlet ever stirred the passion of Rhett Butler wearing those !) the fake jewellery glittered, the dead cat was firmly pinned over my own unruly curls and I was trying to pack me, a halo of fluffy meringue petticoats and one huge dress into the old farm Chevy…. and find the seat belt !!!. (Scarlet never had this problem). Self-consciously trying hard NOT to catch the eye of drivers on the freeway who were clearly trying hard to figure out what was poured into the passenger seat we headed off to Tacoma and an amazing night with a group of amazing volunteers. It was immediately apparent that there was a distinctly North South divide as Greg in his Stetson looking every inch my handsome beau and me in my baubles and satin walked into the hall. It was like stepping back into time, a time when clothes were basic, fashion accessories were “things of purpose” and jewellery adornments were mostly beads. It was the Hudson Bay Company and we were back in the 19th Century. Fort Nisqually was the first European settlement on Puget Sound and these amazing people volunteer their hours to help us experience how life would have been for those early settlers. Clearly I WASN’T authentic, there was a zip in my dress, faux ringlets and nylon lace but those lovely people made us SO welcome and no one seemed to notice ( well, if they did they were very polite about it !). Our donated sheep body parts had morphed into a very tasty haggis. I confess haggis never was on my list of “must eats” and I would still prefer a good juicy steak but thank you Karen, it was really good and we had a wonderful time. Thank you for inviting us and thank you Fort Nisqually volunteers for your energy vision and friendliness.
Back to the farm, ringlets petticoats and glass jewellery all packed away and it was time to say goodbye to the “boys”. Michael and Andrew have both moved on and as we reflect on their visit we thank them both for being here. We don’t “do” (discuss) religion or politics here on the ranch as clearly everyone has different (or no) beliefs or loyalties and we believe that avoids confrontation….HOWEVER we seem to have had several good in depth discussions about both and we really enjoyed our time with you . Thank you for all your dedication, we will miss you.
Time to go, the cuckoo has spoken. Take care, keep safe and warm, M