Sue Ellen skipped into the kitchen, anxious to get her day started. She had marked off the days on her calendar with a large black marker for the last year leading up to today. It was the annual Star Gazer & Rocket Enthusiast Extravaganza and Sue Ellen had attended every event since its inception four years ago. Tonight would be a fun-filled event of food, music, presentations and displays and the grand finale star gazer expo and a mini-launch of several built-to-scale rockets and even a space shuttle. Sue Ellen was more a star gazer than a rocket jockey, but her friend, Dougie, from upstate was practically obsessed with anything to do with rockets or the space shuttle program. It was for him she had scavenged for anything to do with NASA, the shuttles or astronauts who flew them. In all she had collected dozens of stickers, pins, coins and other memorabilia that was snuggly tucked into her backpack. Finding the lunch her mother had carefully packed for her daughter’s day, Sue Ellen smiled as she piled the items into her picnic basket.
Throwing her backpack on and grabbing the basket Sue Ellen left the kitchen and all but ran to her bike waiting in the garage. Strapping the basket securely onto the back, Sue Ellen was about to straddle the bike when she noticed the poor condition of her bike seat. Thinking about the 20 mile haul she was about to embark upon, she glanced at her brothers’ newer, cushier seat with envy. “He won’t mind, he’ll never even notice I bet,” She said to herself. “If he was here, he would insist that I borrow it to save me from discomfort, I’m sure of it,” she continued as she wrenched the seat off his bike and exchanged it for hers.
Taking stock of her now-improved bike, she looked around to make sure she wasn’t forgetting anything. Seeing a beach towel in a clear carry case, complete with strap, she decided to take that along just as a precaution. Slinging the strap over her head and letting it fall diagonally across her chest, she hopped on her bike. Peddling to the front of the house, she was about to be off when, “Sue Ellen! Now I know you weren’t about to leave this house without telling your mother!” her mother stood in the doorway, hands on hips scowling.
“No ma’am,” Sue Ellen mumbled.
“I didn’t think so,” her mother hobbled on her newly broken ankle towards her fourteen-year-old daughter, all the while talking. “Now, I will need you to run a few errands for me on the way to your picnic since your father took the car and I’m stuck hobbling around on this thing,” she tapped her cast with the cane she was using to get around.
“Yes ma’am,” Sue Ellen replied, if not a little impatiently.
“Here,” her mother said as she handed her two boxes of loose tea and a bag full of silver jewelry, “Drop these off with Mr. Burton up the block. I fixed the clasps on his wife’s jewelry and since I know he’s suffering from some terrible indigestion I told him I would send him my best remedy”. Sue Ellen winced in remembrance at that remedy, a most foul concoction of ginger, cinnamon and several other unidentifiable herbs, and stuffed the tea, along with the jewelry in her backpack.
“Ok, mom, I’ll see you tonight around 11pm,” Sue Ellen made to get back on her bike.
“Not so fast young lady. I have a few other things I need you to do for me,” her mother said as she handed her two empty glass bottles with stoppers. “I need you to run these up to Ms. Chow on Harmony Ln. and ask her to fill them both with her orange blossom honey. Remember, orange blossom. That last batch of wildflower didn’t mix well with my tea,” her mother made a sour face. Sue Ellen stuffed the bottles into the top of her picnic basket and fastened it again. Turning from her task, a large, bright aqua paper Mache vase was shoved into her hands.
“I’ll need you to take this to Mrs. Dwinkler on Elm. She purchased it from the shop yesterday and asked to have it delivered today,” her mother seemed to think nothing of her daughter delivering an oversized vase on her bike.
“Mom, there is no way I can carry this!” Sue Ellen protested.
“Oh, rubbish. I bet if you got a bit inventive you could find a spot for it,” her mother waved off her objections.
After a few minutes, Sue Ellen wedged the thankfully light and hopefully indestructible vase in between the two crossbars of her bicycle.
“Just one more thing, darling,” Sue Ellen couldn’t believe her eyes as her mother all but flung a large metal bowl at her. “I need you to return this to Ms. Cheney three doors down. I borrowed it to make some pies last week and she gets a bit piqued when her things aren’t promptly returned,” her mother smiled innocently and disappeared inside (quite quickly, considering her disabled foot).
“Grr… I can’t believe this,” Sue Ellen hissed as she looked for a spot to stick the offending bowl. Nothing worked. The rounded contours and slick surface made the bowl all but impossible to stow. “Ah forget it!” Sue Ellen gritted her teeth and crammed the bowl on top of her head and got on her bike in a huff.
Finally on her way, Sue Ellen tried not to think about how ridiculous she must look and prayed no one would see her. God must have been preoccupied just then for as Sue Ellen approached her first stop, who should she run into but her friend, Dougie.
“Sue Ellen? What are you wearing?!?!” Dougie was almost doubled over in laughter. “You… you look like… you look like you’re a six year old playing dress up… wait, wait, let me guess… you’re an astronaut and that’s your rocket!” Dougie managed to wheeze out in between his raucous bursts of laughter.
“Ha, ha. Very funny, Dougie. Now cut it out, and help me with some of this stuff,” Sue Ellen attempted to sound sullen but didn’t quite pull it off. She knew she looked absurd. “You tell anyone about this, and I swear, you are so dead, Dougie,” Sue Ellen growled as Dougie took the bowl off her head and the vase off the bike.
“Don’t worry… I won’t tell… that’s what YouTube is for!” Dougie flashed his still recording phone at Sue Ellen and before she could snatch it, he took off.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: After a relaxing and fun Sunday date of sampling the brunch at the Taproom at Dubsdread and then taking in a matinée showing of the last Harry Potter flick with my momma, we headed back to her temporary condo so she could give me some random items she no longer wanted. I should preface by saying that for the last several months, my mom, stepdad and youngest brother Taylor have been preparing for their move to the great state of Colorado. Taylor will be attending Colorado State in the fall and mom and Dean will be starting fresh in nearby Loveland, CO. So, for the last six months I have come to inherit quite a bit of my mothers’ possessions. A washer and dryer, a lawn mower, pressure washer, two large pieces of antique furniture, countless decorative and smaller items and a garage full of things I have yet to investigate. Today I came home with a box full of more… stuff. So, I decided to incorporate it all into today’s story, see if you can find these items in the story:
- Picnic Basket
- Glass bottles
- Bike Seat
- NASA souvenirs
- Large metal bowel
- Beach Towel & case
- Bag of random jewelry
- Large paper Mache vase
- Loose Tea
I have no idea what I’m going to do with all this STUFF!!!
Love & Squirrels.