October 21, 2018

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

The small crowd gathered in front of Jenkin’s drugstore waiting for it to open had found a source of amusement, and as I approached, I could see that the fun seemed to revolve around a neighbor and friend of mine, John Wetzel. For some reason, John was holding his hand to his face, and I at first thought he must be trying to dull the pain of a toothache, but I shortly learned different. It seems that, unknown to most of us, John wears a bridge, and, on a recent trip to Fort Lauderdale, one of the two teeth on…

Read More

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

Their ranks swollen by the addition of a fourth member as irresolute as themselves, the Geezers, as they are affectionately called by other residents of Doodlebug Island, lolled on the grassy banks of Oak Creek, taking the sun and paying only scant attention to their lines. “Fellows,” said Frank Gadston, “our credit is all used up, Spud’s and Fred’s social security checks aren’t due for a week, and our treasury amounts to little more than these poles and the clothes on our back. We gotta do somethin’ fast!” “We could maybe resurrect that idea you had about starting an escort…

Read More

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

For three men so remarkably different from one another, Nebs Dolfinger, Howard Doaks, and Tracy Burliner were alike in at least one thing. They all wanted to know how the parking meter got from its moorings in front of the First National Bank of Doodlebug into the back of Rick Nesbitt’s truck. And Rick wasn’t saying. Island policeman Nebs Dolfinger rather thought it signaled a new wave of street crime. Prosecuting attorney Howard Doaks was of the opinion Rick had put it there himself, intending to rob it later; while Judge Tracy Burliner thought it could be either of these…

Read More

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

Of all the eloquent speakers who live among the leafy wonders of Doodlebug Island, none is more eloquent than a man who doesn’t speak at all! Struck dumb and with total hearing loss through what his doctors called “brain fever” when he was but a year old—a disease now more familiarly known as scarlet fever—Al Kinesian retained his sight and an inventive mind with which he has developed a language of his own, one that depends on gesture and intuition rather than sound. Furthermore, it is a language filled with more nuances than the average person would deem possible. To…

Read More

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

A peppery centenarian, James Watchkiss, celebrated another birthday this week, and was given a ticker-tape parade through downtown Doodlebug, riding in a rickshaw pulled by barmaids from Barney’s grog shop. “Take me where you will, but I’m like an old library book and must be checked back in for my afternoon nap. Orpheus won’t wait!” Well, the parade ended at the plaza where we gave him a noisy welcome and where someone had arranged a microphone. There were a couple speeches short in length but long in praise, then James was asked to speak. “This has been very nice,” he…

Read More

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

Opening my mail one morning last week, I found what I considered a pointed but rather humorous ‘Letter to the editor’ written by a fellow Islander Monte Mastel, and, after much soul-searching, I created space for it in the next edition of the Doodlebug Run-on, which I edit and publish. The latter comes out weekly although the exact day of the week is something of a crap shoot. Tuesday is the target day, but if nothing newsworthy has announced itself, or if a story is taking its own sweet time coming together, Wednesday or Thursday will do just fine. And,…

Read More

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

When Dylan Thomas wrote: “Do not go gentle into that good night; old age should burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light,” it’s unlikely he had in mind a group of older men meeting to rail against advancing age and its load of ills, but whether or not he did, a group like that has formed here on Doodlebug Island, and they carry on in a fashion that Dylan would most certainly approve. They call themselves, “The Railers,” and they meet the first Wednesday of each month unless one of their number…

Read More

No News From Doodlebug Island…by William F Jordan

A quiet, modest man given to personal reflection, Emerson Godspeed has spent the bulk of his ninety years fixing things for people. Things that clog or break or that won’t work gain new life under his hands; and what is true of physical things is true of people, as well. For, in the calm waters of his presence, troubles seem smaller and more manageable, and those who seek his help seem to come away with a renewed confidence and an ability to deal with their difficulties. “Life is a classroom,” he’s fond of saying, “and we must learn how to…

Read More

Angels of Accord Dwelling Midst Residents

When one is surrounded by the beautiful green trappings of nature and a lovely stream is playing soft music all around, it’s hard to find something about which to be discontented. And with angels of accord dwelling midst residents of this tiny Island nation and salting the very earth with harmony and happiness, it’s difficult to entertain discordant thoughts and negative emotions. Not impossible, understand, just difficult. Seated in my office at the Doodlebug Digest and lulled by nature’s lullaby, I was just nodding off when Pansy Hastings came in twittering about the high school prom held the night before….

Read More

If I Survive This, I’ll Give Up Drinking…

Charlie Huffinger had spent the evening bending an elbow at the Faithless Dog saloon in Clarkdale and arrived back at Doodlebug Island in the not-so-wee hours of morning, driving more by instinct than by regulation. Truthfully, he wasn’t sure which highway he’d taken to get home, and he was only vaguely aware that he’d arrived home at all. His immediate problem was which of the three bridges he saw leading to the Island was the correct one? He debated the issue with himself, then chose the left one and promptly drove off into Oak Creek. Early risers jogging along the…

Read More

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,…

Read More

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….

Read More

“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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More