The Red Team left The Hill and the Pink Team behind. Skeeter was stomping and steam was practically coming out of his antennae as he thought about the Pink Team winning.
Friday, May 11, 2012
Ellie and The Magic Teapot Off to the Park: May Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi
Hi Ellie Belle!
You have always been a very strong-willed girl but I'm hearing you voice it more these days. "Do it myself" and "not yet" are daily words you say. I so hope that you keep your resolute ways (of course in a very mannerly way) and become a leader. Your determined and persistent demeanor amazes me. You are going places my sweet but very firm daughter! Here are a couple instances of you "doing it yourself!"
And now here is our yearlong bedtime story/stories (with many chapters to write!) for you.
We have specific weekly guidelines. I will write a piece, then your Mimi has to finish it and we will do this every week (your Mimi’s part is in italics and mine is in regular font). The only things your Mimi and I agreed on were the characters- Ellie and a magic teapot. Anything else is fair game. However, we are giving ourselves a time limit (because we know otherwise we will fall in love with this creative writing project and get nothing else done)- 45 minutes for me and 90 minutes for your Mimi (so whether that means 3 sentences or 3 pages, that’s what the other person has to work with). And we each have an additional 30 minutes every week to figure out an illustration to go with our part. Our goal Ellie is to have a beloved bedtime tale for you and future generations.
And so we will continue our second story.
Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Park Part 5
"Uhhhh Skeeter?" Slugger gently probed him out of thought, "What do you think we should find next?"
Skeeter stopped in his tracks and his belly growled loudly with hunger pangs, "I think we should find the fried chicken bone!"
The five ants looked at each other. "Well, does anyone know where we can find one?" Slyguy asked the group.
"Yesterday, I passed by a birthday party for a five year old girl underneath the pavilion. Before they had their strawberry cupcakes, I saw a big carton of fried chicken on the picnic benches that they were eating for lunch," started Shortstop, "Maybe they left some behind?"
"Way to be observant Shortstop! Yes! Now, let's go!" Skeeter called as he was already running ahead toward the pavilion.
The other ants struggled to keep his fast pace. Luckily, the pavilion wasn't far and when they reached it, they split up trying to find any signs of a discarded chicken bone. There were six picnic tables set up in two rows of three. Each table had two balloons tethered to the end. Skeeter climbed up to the top of a purple balloon on the first table to get a better view of the area. The other ants moved around every inch of the tabletops and below on the ground. Their antennae were on high alert but they all met back in the middle empty handed.
Skeeter was starting to panic at the thought of losing again. Speedy noticed Skeeter's escalating emotion so he tried to calm him down, "Now, let's be rational. A family wouldn't take home a container filled with fried chicken bones. That's trash to most humans. The bones have to be here somewhere!"
All of their eyes focused on the round black trash bin that stood in the middle of the picnic benches. They all sprinted toward it and began climbing. When they reached the top, they peered down. There, underneath the pink cupcake wrappers was a full bucket of chicken bones.
"Yahoo!" Slyguy exclaimed excitedly at the sight.
Skeeter glared at him, "And how do you expect us to get that? You need to think Slyguy!"
Slyguy sniffled trying to hide his hurt feelings. Slugger came to the rescue, "Slyguy's right, Skeeter. We should get excited. We just need to lift one chicken bone out and float it over to The Hill." He winked as he turned his gaze toward the very purple balloon that Skeeter was perched on moments ago.
Skeeter became the bossy leader once more, "Alright, Slyguy and Slugger, you stay here on the rim and be ready to steady the balloon down into the trashcan. Shortstop, you climb in and get ready to tie the balloon string to the chicken bone. Speedy, you come with me and help me to untie and fly the balloon over. Let's go!"
Skeeter and Speedy crawled out of the trashcan and scrambled up the picnic table leg. Before Skeeter untied the knotted balloon string, he told Speedy to climb to the top of the balloon. He knew it needed some weight otherwise it would fly high in the sky.
"We have lift-off!" Skeeter yelled warning the ants in the trashcan to be ready.
As the balloon was released it lurched forward and Speedy slipped off the front side. Luckily his ant feet were padded and equipped to climb sideways. But Skeeter realized quickly, there wasn't enough weight. If Skeeter didn't help him soon, Speedy would be taken off into the sky. Skeeter acted quickly and jumped onto the balloon string that was almost out of his reach. He quickly inched his way up the string and helped Speedy back up to the top. With the two of them there now, the balloon dropped down enough under their weight. They glided it toward the trashcan where Slyguy and Slugger grabbed the string. Once everyone was balanced, Slyguy and Slugger jumped into the trashcan with the balloon and landed in a cupcake wrapper that was lined with pink icing.
"Are you guys ok?" Slyguy called up to Speedy as he licked his pink-caked arms clean of the sweetness.
"Yup, don't worry about us. We just want to win. Hurry up and tie the bone to the string Shortstop! As soon as he does, Slyguy and Slugger let go and let us fly toward The Hill!" And then realizing he needed someone to catch them once they reached The Hill, he added, "Slyguy, Slugger, and Shortstop, run as fast as you can to keep up with us so you can untie the bone and get us down when we get to The Hill!"
They all did as they were told only although probably not as fast as Skeeter wanted them to move.
Before long, Skeeter and Speedy were soaring toward The Hill. The other three ants ran underneath them as fast as they could to stay with the balloon but it became more difficult as they climbed the incline. "Hurry!" Skeeter yelled to them.
Just as the balloon was almost over the hill, the three ants jumped onto the chicken bone and stopped it from moving any further.
"On the count of three, untie the bone and we'll jump off," Skeeter bellowed down, "One, two, three!"
Skeeter and Speedy landed on the fried chicken bone and both started eating the leftover fried skin hungrily in their excitement. It wasn't long before Skeeter looked up with his greasy chin and saw that the Pink Team had already left their latest item.
"Ahhhhh!" he screamed angrily hoping that the Pink Team could hear him wherever they were...
“Ellie, I think Skeeter is getting pretty frustrated. I also think he is regretting that you and Lion are on our team. You know, if it weren’t for both of you showing up when you did, we wouldn’t be winning this game. In fact, Abner, Ajax and myself would probably still be looking for the first item and tripping over everything to find it! So thanks! But I’m still a little worried about Skeeter because he’s never lost a competition. In fact, he’s never played against a team that he couldn’t beat,” Alfy said a bit nervously.
“Alfy, stop worrying. You must put those thoughts out of your mind right now because we are still a good ways off from winning the Scavenger Hunt so let’s just concentrate on what item we should look for next. Does anyone have any ideas?” Ellie questioned.
Ajax answered nervously, “Well if you ask me, I think we’ve found all the easy items so from here on out, it’s only going to get harder.”
“Come on Ajax. Don’t turn into a pessimist now… Think!” responded Abner with a bit more courage than he normally had.
Taken aback, Ajax sat staring at Abner impressed that he was finally stepping out of his shy comfort zone when something caught his eye right above Abner’s left shoulder, “Guys, look! Dolly Dove must be on her way home. I bet she can provide us with our next scavenger item… the white feather… although hers look kind of dirty!” Ajax’s tune changed from doubt to excitement to hesitation.
Lion, following Ajax’s gaze and also seeing Dolly Dove took charge of his team and roared out, “Alright then. Let’s go check it out. Who can lead the way to Dolly’s nest?”
“I can Lion!” Stated Abner with greater confidence, “Follow me!” So they each stepped behind him as he marched in the direction of the great Weeping Willow Tree.
As they neared the tree and Dolly’s nest, all the team members heard a faint crying. “Waaaa, waaaa, waaaaaaaaaaa.” Somewhat perplexed, the group looked at each other. Then Lion voiced his thought out loud, “Oh my. I think the Willow Tree is sad for it sounds like it is weeping. Can that really be?”
The rest of the group shrugged their shoulders and slowed their pace, tip-toeing to the tree’s base. “Listen,” Lion whispered. And they heard it again. “Waaaa, waaaa, waaaaaaaaaa.”
It was Ellie who realized that it was not the tree weeping at all, but rather Dolly who was nesting high in the tree and crying softly. So Ellie, using her sweetest voice called up to her, “Dolly Dove… why are you sad? Come down from your perch and talk with us. We are your friends. Please let us try to cheer you up.” And then they waited.
She appeared within moments. “Why do you care about me and if I am sad or not?” Dolly sniffled, “I do not understand. It is not like you are my best friends or a family member for that matter. So why do you care?”
It was Alfy who answered first, “Because you are someone important. You are here for a reason. Dolly… look at me. As you can see I am a bit overweight. And the other ants used to tease me about it. For a long time it hurt my feelings and I would cry. But then I met Abner and Ajax here,” he continued while pointing to his friends, “They never made fun of me. To make a long story short, they listened to me, talked with me, played with me, and now we are the best of friends. Ellie and Lion here are like that too. Please tell us what is wrong so that we can help you.”
Seeing the sincerity in Alfy’s eyes and hearing the kindness in his voice, she broke down and told the Pink Team her woes, “No matter where I go, the Bluejay’s, the Goldfinches, the Cardinals, and all the other birds always pretend not to see me. They treat me like a ‘Plain Jane.’ My feathers are so drab, the color is dull and I look like I’ve been swimming in an oil slick. I am not pretty at all, and I don’t think anyone likes me because of the way I look,” she tearfully cried.
Alfy answered her with compassion, “Dolly, the other birds shouldn’t be judging your outer appearance… they should be looking much deeper, like… at your character. Instead of flying away, make them see you for who you really are. Before you know it, you will have lots of friends.”
And then Ellie was quick to add a bonus. Loving that tutu skirt of hers, she rummaged around until she found another hidden pocket. Reaching inside, she pulled out a tiny green velvet box with a handle and latch. Giving it three slaps on her knee, it grew to the size of a breadbox and popped open revealing equipment used by hairdressers. The group including Dolly took a closer look inside the kit and saw a blow dryer, curling iron, brush and comb set. Attached to its lid was a bottle of water, shampoo and conditioner. Again Lions eyebrows peeked as Ellie and her hidden gadgets continued to enthrall him.
Ellie singled out Dolly and told her to think long and hard about what Alfy had to say because his words rang true. She then told Dolly that she would give her a complete makeover, as it would certainly be a confidence booster. So she had Dolly bend her head down while the trio of ants watered her feathers. Lion squeezed on the shampoo and scrubbed brusquely creating a rich lather. The ants rinsed off her feathers so that Lion could then add the conditioner. Next Ellie combed through its tangled mess so the ants could rinse off her feathers once again. Feeling squeaky clean, Dolly was anxious to see what Ellie would do next. So Ellie pulled out the blow dryer and with a round brush, she styled Dolly’s hair to look like a movie star “doo.” Only twice did Ellie hit a difficult ‘feather’ knot that resulted in one feather falling loose.
Stepping back and looking at Dolly from head to toe, Lion, Alfy, Abner and Ajax were in awe of Ellie’s talents. Seeing their reaction, Dolly herself quickly grabbed the mirror. What she saw made her coo with happiness, for Ellie made Dolly’s outer beauty look like that of a queen. Grateful for their kindness and words of wisdom, Dolly asked the Pink Team how could she repay them. An anxious Ajax replied, “Dolly, we are playing a scavenger hunt game with friends and we need to collect a white feather. Would you mind if we took the feather that Ellie accidentally pulled out while blow-drying and creating your new look?”
“That is all you ask for?” Dolly questioned with surprise, “I would be happy to help you out. Of course…take my feather if it will help your team win the game. I shall never forget this day and how five new friends came into my life. Thank you. But I must fly now as I have many birds to see.”
“That’s ok Dolly,” Ellie smiled, “Lion, Alfy, Abner, Ajax and I have got to run too. We’ve got to make it back to The Hill before the Red Team.”
And with a wave they all yelled out, “Bye Dolly! See you around!” and ran off. Every time Alfy slowed down from being out of breath, Abner would grab his hand and pull him along. Then Ajax would grab Abner’s hand, Lion would grab Ajax’s hand and Ellie would grab Lion’s hand as they marched forward. As they approached The Hill she turned and winked, “I really do think we make a good team guys.” Setting the feather down on their pile of items, they didn’t hesitate to retreat quickly. And it was a good thing too. As the Pink Team disappeared into the tall grass, a familiar sound stopped them for a moment where they stood frozen in their tracks. The Red Team must have returned to The Hill and saw the feather because what came next was Skeeter’s angry and blood curdling scream!
We love you Ellie… until next week!
Mom & Mimi