June 28, 2017

The Liberal Use of Coal Oil and Sugar

The Smallwood family has a handsome farm just about where the two branches of Oak Creek pinch Doodlebug Island down to swimming properties, and old man Sedge and his wife Emily have an abundance of children who have known only the care, the tutoring, and the doctoring of their parents. Emily assumes responsibility for the first two, but the doctoring is purely the province of Sedge himself. Not that he’s ever taken training to diagnose illness nor dispense medicine. No, he’s had only the rough experience of farm life with its compilation of bumps, bruises, broken bones, contusions, gorings, maladies,…

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No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

What began among friends as a surprise birthday celebration for a valued member of the Doodlebug Island community, Hazel Britt, became so widely known there was simply no way to keep the secret. The reason was simple; the lady is held in such high esteem among young and old alike, the party should have been announced as a public event to be held in the town plaza! Hazel’s popularity springs from her generosity and willingness to help, but is augmented by a peppery attitude that expresses itself so buoyantly as to lift the spirits of the most dour and pessimistic….

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“Advanced Soul”

Chances were moderately good that had the meeting of the Doodlebug Philosophical Society ended right after it began–or at least soon after the majority of participants agreed that of all living persons having any possible claim they represented a select group of advanced souls–everyone would have gone home highly content with himself and his fellow man, satisfied that the earth is in proper orbit, and the Creator, their only superior, secure upon His throne. But it didn’t end quickly enough. Burwood Fernbaum, apparently not content with the high-level abstraction which assured his membership and that of other society members, asked…

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Family Values

Politically, the verdant acres of Doodlebug Island, surrounded as we are by the lapping waters of Oak Creek, constitute a Democratic stronghold–that is, if we had not already disassociated ourselves from Sedona, Arizona, and the United States. Actually, since our secession exists largely in our minds, we do vote in local, state, and national elections. And we vote Democrat. That is to say, most of us vote in that manner. Bessie Turnbow doesn’t. She slipped into the gentle clutches of dementia about the time George Bush Senior established the family policy of going to war with Iraq whenever he or…

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The Unclaimed Sculpture

Residents of Doodlebug Island were recently surprised to find a new sculpture adorning the plaza, but no one appeared to understand what it was supposed to represent. Some thought it looked like granite flames emerging from a Yule log, while others said it reminded them of the rock-ribbed erosions of Bryce Canyon. Well, if what it was intended to symbolize was a mystery, the question regarding responsibility for its being there in the first place was even more so. Conjecture ran like Spring winds, touching everybody as if to accuse each one of the deed until the real artist could…

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Men Love to Gossip

It is a widely-denied fact that men are equal to women when it comes to gossip, and those given to a troublesome regard for truth say they enjoy a superiority. This is sometimes obfuscated by the nature of the gossip in which men engage–for contrary to women who like to discuss events, men like to discuss their friends and neighbors along topic lines or themes. The general discussion may be structured around domestic disputes, natural disasters, errors of judgment, or physical capabilities, and the men will use their friends, neighbors, fellow workers, or acquaintances to define, illustrate or round out…

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Venus Fly Trap for the Religiously Unwary

While it is clear to those who form the small enclave of agnostics on Doodlebug Island that Christianity is the means by which middle-eastern confusion was introduced to the western world, that same insight hasn’t disturbed the thinking of any of the many denominations to be found here. But something happened recently which did disturb their thinking, and the rippling effect is only now beginning to subside. It seems that an ecumenical spirit, flushed with success among Muslims and Hebrews, found its way here, and it prompted the dog-gondest outpouring of conviviality to be witnessed anywhere. All at once, and…

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Is That You Socrates?

Given the hour and the quiet coziness of my library, it somehow didn’t seem unusual or even startling when an ectoplasmic vapor came in through the keyhole, drifted in leisurely fashion over the bookshelves, and coalesced into a toga-draped figure which seated itself on the couch and settled into the cushions. “You summoned me?” the shadow asked; for it did appear more shadow-like than real. “I was walking in the Elysian Fields discoursing with Asclepious and several of my brighter students when I felt this urgent necessity to skip through time and distance to attend your thoughts.” “Socrates, is that…

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A Man of Parts

Folk wisdom assures us that necessity is the mother of invention, but those of us who live amidst the verdant acres of Doodlebug Island are convinced that the father is as often merely someone single-mindedly given to experimenting with whimsical ideas that float in and out of his consciousness and take root in what thin, fallow layers of gray matter may be found there. Our Loy Lacy Lockhart is such a guy and he’s at it again! Now, if residents hear those words, “He’s at it again!” they know immediately who the “he” is; that ambulance service and medical personnel…

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Quarterly Meeting

The Doodlebug Island Development and Adjudication Board, Bureau of Licensing and Energy recently held their “quarterly” meeting; actually held sporadically and on an unpublished basis–to consider two licensing requests. The first involved the application of Bink Manley to start a fish-food operation; the second, an application to establish a counseling service whose purpose centered around a vortex and crystal recovery program. After the shortest meeting on record (no records are ever kept), members of the licensing bureau approved the first and denied the second. Naturally, Bink was elated while the counseling service people were outraged. “Are we to understand,” they…

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Interview with the Tycoon

At dawn the other morning, just before closing time at the Pink Nectar Cafe, a sleek private jet slithered into the Rimrock International Airport. Surrounded by a battalion of showgirls, who should step out? Fernald Frump, the legendary, the semi-mythical TV star and Eastern land baron. Now it so happened that a Special Excentric Investigative Task Force was also at the airport that morning awaiting a cargo of common sense for local politicians. Sensing a scoop, your intrepid columnist approached the legendary tycoon, and his battalion of barely clothed lollapaloozas. “Get away kid, you’re really starting to bother me,” he…

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No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

In an uneasy truce with cowboy poets of Sedona, I had rather deliberately withheld editorial comments, especially those of a derogatory nature, believing that while no castigation was undeserved there was the slim possibility these folks would either tire of their efforts or pass from the scene entirely. Indeed, the latter appeared possible until one of their number, Spade Hannigan, got himself run over by a logging truck while driving a small herd from one Doodlebug pasture to another. Then, as the expression goes, all hell broke loose. While, the ensuing outpouring of range sentimentality made possible by memories of…

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What Goes Up . . .

Clarence Johanson didn’t mean to start a fire in Doodlebug Island’s back country, and he certainly didn’t plan on a $28,000 bill from the Forest Service for suppressing that fire; and most of all, he didn’t mean to upset and alienate his wife, Sally. But he did all three things through the simple means of acquiring the hot air balloon he’d coveted. Sally had insisted that Doodlebug Island was a poor place from which to launch or land a balloon, but Clarence was listening to the siren voice that spoke of limitless views and of wind-borne pleasure. He fancied himself…

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Dolly’s Argument

Visitors to Dolly Madison Peabody’s home are impressed with the plaques and trophies that overspread her walls and shelves and they are wowed by the autographed pictures of notables that are randomly hung throughout. Indeed, pictures, plaques, and trophies seem to jostle each other for space and, as a result, everything appears to meld together as one giant testimonial to the unusual woman who lives among them and keeps them dusted. Even more striking, however, close attention reveals accomplishment in a staggering variety of fields and testimonials from people from diverse times and backgrounds. A large, bronze plaque, for example,…

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Humorous Mischief Maker, J.C.

J.C. Wrangle is a Doodlebug Island rancher who surrounds his land, cattle, and other holdings with barbed wire and advertises himself as living in a gated community. Claims it’s the finest on the Island. J.C. himself, however, is as open-handed as his property is enclosed, and he has an irrepressible humor about him which bubbles over in his dealings with other ranchers and residents. Now, it happens that part of J.C.’s land lies parallel to the fourteenth fairway of the Doodlebug Island five-star resort golf course, so he finds a good many golf balls lost by players fighting a vicious…

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Phil’s Reasoning

Life-long Doodlebug Island resident Phil Malvern owns and manages a Jeep outfit that offers scenic tours of the Sedona area to visitors. He’s a no-nonsense kind of guy, a straight arrow that sticks to historical fact and accurate topographical information. In this, he is the opposite of his chief driver, Curley Gwelthausen, who holds the patent on storytelling and imaginative labeling. Curley explains that since he generally hauls people who are innocent of any type of Arizona history, and who wouldn’t know a metamorphic rock from a rock by any other name, he feels free to embroider, embellish, and “label…

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No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

How the use of a single word no longer in the written or spoken English lexicon could have launched a tidal wave of interest was nothing short of miraculous, and, though I was initially responsible for it, the gathering effect took on a life of its own, outstripping any idea of ownership. In the manner of a break from editing chores in connection with the paper I own and publish, I began perusing a first-edition pronouncing dictionary given to me by my adorable Granddaughter Joan when I came upon the word ‘fribble,’ and immediately decided to use it on the…

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Amidst The Delightfully Green Foliage

Despite many years of feuding and fussing, their notorious resort to physical mayhem and their penchant for murderous onslaught, the National Association of Grammarians once again held their annual convention amidst the delightfully green foliage of Doodlebug Island. That they were able to do so is a testament to the forgiving nature of local residents who, not too secretly, wish these grammatical storm troopers would conduct their military campaigns elsewhere. The last combatant left yesterday. This year’s outcomes were no different from previous years, though the rancorous disagreements were noticeably louder and more pointed. Delegates appeared to agree upon only…

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Life of Dan

A black sheep, aside from its more utilitarian virtues, serves to reveal just how white white sheep really are. Of course, the thing works in reverse and in other fields, so when we find someone on Doodlebug Island of a virtuous eccentricity, we take note of him. He’s likely to show the rest of us as real oddities. Dan Piedmont, owner of the Doodlebug Hardware Store, is a man whose actions are noteworthy. His life seems to have been cobbled together out of the parts of other lives, yet he is one of the happiest and most exuberant men on the Island….

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Picking a Fight

Thom Swingel’s repeated request for more favorable advertising rates in my newspaper, the Doodlebug Island Run-on, irked my past remembrance of those few religiously induced tolerances suggested to me at my mother’s knee and my father’s woodshed, and I finally told him to take his business elsewhere. Well, he did, but was soon back. “Rates at other Sedona newspapers are no better, Bill. Do you guys get together?” “The truth is we don’t, and actually, there’s no need. Publishing costs are the same for all of us, and that, after all, is what drives prices.” After he left, I got…

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