December 11, 2018

No News from Doodlebug Island . . . by William F. Jordan

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Christmas on Doodlebug Island got off to a promising start this year when Gustave Fleming began decorating his store—Gustave’s Candy Kitchen—with lights, ribbons, ornaments, figures, tinsel, and wreathes in honor of the season. No religious recognition this! All was fantasy, and his plan was that he would be the center of it! He looked forward to the day before Christmas when he would sit ensconced in a wicker chair surrounded by figures of elves and gnomes, dispensing candy canes and other confections to passers-by and ho-hoing in tones loud enough to be heard a block away.

He rather figured that children would at first be afraid of a small Santa padded to look larger, but he suspected they would soon recognize him, or that the offer of sweets would help them overcome any apprehensions. This would be his gift to the community, and would be in recognition of the ‘warm fuzzies’ Islanders felt for him and his business, and the way he felt about them.

Besides, he genuinely likes kids, and he relished the idea he would soon find himself beset with glutinous little heathens who would appreciate a soft touch when they found one.

But life wouldn’t be life without a few hurdles, and, in this case, the hurdles came in the form of several of Gustave’s friends and business associates who watched through the days leading up to Christmas as Gustave busied himself stringing lights and placing figures. Now, these ‘friends,’ Benny Lucero, Claude Roche, and Robert Hilton, just happened to be on hand when Gustave, dressed appropriately, took his place in the wicker and was about to begin dispensing treats.

“Why, I rather thought ideas pertaining to sequestration applied only to government entities,” said Benny in obvious reference to a diminutive Santa, “but apparently not so. How else could we account for this perceived need to do more with less!”

“Oh, I think there’s an explanation why Santa here isn’t his robust, well-rounded self,” chipped in Robert, “ He’s been genetically modified!”
“One thing’s certain,” said Claude, “a bionically-challenged Santa with a physiognomy no pharmaceutical could enhance isn’t going to attract much attention. We need to report this one to the Santa’s Union and maybe the SPPA—the Small People’s Protection Association.”

But, as if to test the old maxim, ‘a soft answer turneth away wrath,’ Gustave, his face wreathed in a happy smile, simply thanked them for their attention and for their friendship. The surprised friends stayed to pass out treats.

In other Island news, the Upshars continued their tradition of giving each other odd-ball presents. Niki gave Sandy a book entitled, “Assessing And Remediating Your Own Personality Disorders. She received in return a beautifully wrapped and monogrammed package containing a bottle of Dr. Dimsworthy’s hydroxalated wart remover, formulated in 1878 in Fevertick, Lousiana, and which bore the testimonial of a fellow townsman who claimed it also cured his dog’s mange. “Oh, I like this much better than last year’s gift!” she cried. “I didn’t get all that much use from the booklet you gave me, ‘The Benefits and Advantages of Fungal Infections’.”

“Well,” he replied, “the DNA testing you arranged for me was thoughtful. But are you sure the people at the ‘Primates and Arboreal Ancestors Agency’ should be the ones to conduct the tests?”

An incident at the Doodlebug Methodist Church was heralded the length of the Island, and it left everyone laughing. For Christmas eve services, one of the young mothers had trained her four-year-old son and five-year-old daughter to recite the lines from “The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore. The little girl was to take the first two lines, the little boy the second two, and so on. She finished her two and he followed with his, but then, in his excitement, he recited the next two lines that properly belonged to her. Placing her hands on her hips in a just anger, the little girl exclaimed, “Damn you, you took my part!” Amid the hilarity, the mother snatched up her children and took them home, and parishioners heard no more of that delightful work.

All in all, it was a good Christmas, marked by festive parties and friendly visits, and was made memorable by the similarity it bore to past celebrations in which we wished well for each other and the rest of the world.

And, as marks of our sincerity and generous natures, we came very close to including Republicans!

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