Friday, June 8, 2012

Ellie and the Magic Teapot Off to the Park: June Blog 2- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Dear Elle-Belle,

It’s officially my summer break and already these past two days have been so wonderful with you.

But to make it even more special, your Mimi and Poppy will be here in 5 days (you are so funny with them over Skype, I can't wait until we pick them up at the airport)!!!
 And yes, this you trying to hug Poppy through the computer...

And now here is our yearlong bedtime story/stories (with many chapters to write!) for you. 

So as for our weekly guidelines: I 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.  We also need 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 9

Skeeter (after returning back to The Hill since rinsing himself off) was stomping around.  He was increasingly becoming more irate.  He couldn't understand how the Pink Team was always one step ahead even though the Red Team finally beat them with this last item drop.  He knew he should focus on what to find next but he just couldn’t shake the pressure of winning, especially against the Pink Team.  After all, they were the misfits.  Abner was too shy, Alfy was too slow, Ajax was too clumsy, and Lion and Ellie didn't know the area.  "Urgghhhhh!" he cried out loud in frustration causing his teammates to glance at him cautiously.

"New game plan!" Skeeter roared.  He was becoming more panicked as they were close to the end of the game and he still had yet to make any major gains against the Pink Team, "WE NEED TO WIN!"

Shortstop couldn't help but stifle a giggle as he whispered to Speedy, "Isn't that what we have been trying to do?  And look,” he said pointing to the checkered tablecloth, “we are ahead in this round!" Gosh, Skeeter sure does know how to suck the fun out of games, he thought to himself.

"Do you have something you want to share with the group Shortstop?" Skeeter confronted.

Shortstop decided it was best not to agitate him any further, "Let's just get moving.  We're not going to find anything by staying up here.  And we want to keep our lead" 

Skeeter nodded in agreement and he took his first step down off The Hill and stepped in something very brown, very squishy, and very smelly.  "DUCK POOP!" he screamed, "Are you kidding me???  Twice???  Could this day be any worse???" he exaggerated exasperatedly.

"This is the best news Skeeter!" Slyguy exclaimed excitedly pointing to Skeeter’s foot.  Skeeter glared at him not amused.  "No really," Slyguy continued encouragingly, "It means there must be a duck (that may have white feathers) around here somewhere!"

Skeeter, after dragging his foot across the grass to rid himself of the mess, turned his frown upside down, "You're right!  But where do you think he is now?" Skeeter asked his group as he looked in all directions.

It was Slugger who thought to look in the direction of the puddles on the sidewalk where Skeeter had just rinsed himself off minutes before.  And sure enough a large, white-feathered duck dunked his head into the shallow water. The Red Team scurried over as fast as they could.  When they reached the puddle, the duck's head was still under water and the small ants weren't sure how to get his attention.  Slyguy started to wave his hands and yell for him to look up but to no avail.  So Skeeter went over to one of the duck's webbed feet and pinched a small piece of skin tightly together. 

"Owwwww!" howled the duck as he pulled his head out of the water, "Who did that?" he asked not seeing the small ants at first.  But then he caught site of Slyguy still waving his arms.

"Why would you hurt me?" the duck asked meekly.

"There's no time for questions," Skeeter rushed, "We need one of your feathers!"

The duck looked at Skeeter and laughed at his audacity, "I don't think so.  You are very rude."

Speedy jumped in front of Skeeter and very apologetically tried to explain the scavenger hunt as best as he could.  And when he finished, the duck said, "That still doesn't explain why your friend had to pinch me."

Shortstop, having learned to take his time when speaking (he even silently counted to three to collect his thoughts), stepped in and tried, "I'm so sorry Mr. Duck.  My name is Shortstop.  Our friend Skeeter is the leader and he wants us to win.  He is too competitive.  Even though in this last round we won, we have always been one step behind in all the other rounds, which means overall we are losing.  Skeeter's not always mean, just when he doesn't get his way playing games."  Skeeter shot Shortstop an angry look but knew that he shouldn't say anything because he would lose his chances of getting that feather.

"You are loyal friends for sticking with him," Mr. Duck said beckoning towards a scowling Skeeter, "I think I would have chosen a new leader long ago!  My name is Pekin and I have very sensitive toes," he said right before rubbing his beak on the pinched patch of skin that had already turned bright red.

"So you're probably not going to give us one of your feathers then?  I'm really sorry we bothered you and I hope your foot feels better soon.  Come on guys, let's go," Shortstop turned to leave. 

Pekin Duck plucked out a small feather from his back with his beak, handed it to Shortstop and said, "I think you should take over as leader, you have a very kind heart and you realize that winning isn't always everything."  After listening to Pekin’s statement, Skeeter still said nothing.

Shortstop thanked him before Pekin Duck said, "I have to get back to my flock.  I stopped off here to rinse my head as I thought I was seeing things.  I think the team you are playing against is up to something very creative."

Everyone except for Skeeter waved good-bye to Pekin.  And as soon as the duck was out of sight, Skeeter ran over to Shortstop and ripped the feather from his hand.  "Now, let's go!" he shouted to his team and ran back towards The Hill.

The rest of the Red Team was moving much slower now.  They shook their heads and reluctantly followed.  And sure enough, they saw exactly what Pekin Duck had seen when he thought he was going crazy.  There was the Pink Team and they had found the strangest and coolest way to get their next item back to the top of The Hill…….

“Hey Skeeter!” smiled Alfy!  “This game is turning out to be quite exciting, don’t you think!  Why we are pretty much ‘drumstick to drumstick’… I mean ‘neck to neck’ with you and your Red Team!”  He breathed with a sigh of relief.  He knew not to get too confident as it was only an hour or so earlier that he and his Pink Team didn’t think they were going to come through with a scavenger find this time around.  Even though they retrieved the blue button on the last find and it was done with ten percent luck, twenty percent strategy, and seventy percent kindness, they did not make it back to The Hill first.  So after depositing Robin’s smooth round object, they didn’t waste any time strategizing their next move.

“Alright Alfy, Abner, Ajax and Ellie… time for a team huddle,”  Lion directed.  So the spirited group came together, bent forward to form a circle and started to drape their arms over each other’s shoulders.  However in doing so, Ajax, Abner and Alfy’s antennas got in each other’s way and knotted into a complicated mess. 

“Uh-oh!”  The three ants giggled.  “Ellie, Lion… we know three heads are certainly better than one when it comes to brainstorming, but this kind of hurts!  Can either of you help separate us?” 

Ellie and Lion shook their heads and chuckled to themselves upon seeing the klutzy trio’s predicament.  This gave the saying “butting heads” a whole new meaning!  Thankfully Ellie had ten nimble fingers and quickly untangled the six antennas without bending or damaging them.

“OK… now let’s get down to serious business,”  Lion continued,  “Any ideas as to what we should find next?”

“Nope,” said Abner. 

“Nope,” said Ajax. 

“Nope,” said Alfy, “How about you Lion?”

“Nope.  Me either,”  he answered, “Ellie, do you have any more gadgets in that tutu of yours that might help us out?” 

Ellie rummaged around all the folds of her pink tutu and finally came across a pocket that held a long, thin narrow wooden box.  She couldn’t remember what this particular one held, so she took it out and tapped on it twice.  The lid automatically opened and the box transformed itself into a fishing pole. 

“Really?... A fishing pole?... Ellie, we’re not on the high seas.  Other than the puddle near The Hill, we are pretty much landlocked!”  Abner factually stated.

Looking a bit perplexed herself Ellie said, “Hmmmm… sorry guys but you are right.  I can’t think of how this gadget can help us this time around so I’ll just put it back in its box.”  But after several tries, the fishing pole would not cooperate so Ellie just laid it down between the Pink Team and the Red Teams scavenged piles. 

As the five-team members stared at each other blankly totally stumped as to what to look for next, one by one each of the three ant’s antennas slowly perked up.  Apparently they were picking up a signal not too far off, and it was a yummy signal at that!

“What’s going on?” Lion asked.

Alfy, Abner and Ajax got so excited.  At that very moment the three ants knew what their next scavenged item would hopefully be.  “Do you hear that?” An excited Alfy slobbered out while licking his lips. 

“I do! I do!” answered Ajax and Abner together while they too licked their lips and rubbed their hands together.  

“Well we don’t,” stated Ellie.  “What do you three hear?”

“The lunch whistle at the Ant Farm!’  They cried in unison, “Oh, its music to our ears!”  They added while breaking from their stilled position into an all out run.  “Ellie, Lion, come on and follow us!  There will be food to devour… lots and lots of food!  Yipeeee!”  So Ellie and Lion followed but only because they didn’t know what else to do.

The Ant Farm wasn’t too far off.  Thankfully Alfy, Abner and Ajax got there without any more mishaps.  Ellie and Lion were in awe of the sight before them as there were thousands of ants swarming around and still more emerging from the underground tunnels.  “All these ants are mind-boggling,”  Ellie mumbled slightly higher than a whisper.  “What are they planning to do?”  She asked no one in particular.

Alfy answered her, “Just watch.  In no time they will transform this area into their own picnic sight.  Just like in the tunnels everyone works together.  They each know what their responsibility is and are able to get it done quickly as each ant is on the time clock.  Lunch is a thirty-minute break so time is definitely not wasted.  Soon the feast will be ready.”  And sure enough it was.  Tins of fried chicken, plates of watermelon rinds, crumbled bags of crushed potato chips, bowls of potato salad, and trays upon trays of cupcake crumbs!  Most of the ants treated Alfy, Abner and Ajax like they were royalty.  They were placed at the head of the table and all food dishes were served to them first before being passed on to all the other ants.

Ellie, who was seated next to Lion and a few chairs down from the trio yelled over to Alfy,  “What gives?  Why are you guys given such special treatment here?  Ever since Lion and I arrived, not one of you has helped out at the Ant Farm.  So why are all the worker ants being so nice and catering to you three first?”

It was Abner back in his usual bashful state that answered Ellie.  “Well El, you see Alfy, Ajax and I might look like misfits at times, but the reality is we are kind of smart.  The three of us got together last week and came up with a mathematical formula that helped the Farm maneuver the main tunnel around some difficult rock formations deep underground.  It saved our bug friends hundreds and hundreds of hours of work!  So they gave us this week off and to do as we please.” 

“What about Skeeter and the Red Team?  Why aren’t they working at the Farm?”  Ellie questioned further.

“Oh, they’re just playing hooky.  Once the Queen Ant catches them though they will be in BIG trouble.  Most likely she will scold them harshly and put them in a lengthy time-out.”  Ajax answered with a satisfied smile.   

Alfy who was not only gobbling up the food but pretty much wearing it too reminded the Pink Team. “Eat up!  Times a-tickin!  If we’re going to scavenge some of these drumsticks then let’s get as much of the meat off of them as we can so they are not heavy to carry back to The Hill.”
“Good thought!”  Answered Lion.  And they all gnawed away down to the bare bone.  Once they were finished and their belly’s full Alfy walked over to the Queen Ant and asked her permission if their group could leave and take with them a drumstick.

You could tell that she very much liked Alfy and his friends.  “Alfy…” the Queen Ant voiced sweetly but yet with authority too.  “I will grant you something much bigger and much better.”

“Huh?”  Responded Alfy.

“I know you are playing a game with Skeeter, and I want him to know that I am on to him.  So how about I let a dozen or so of our colony’s marching band carry the drumsticks and escort you and your friends back to The Hill?” Queen Ant said with a sly smile.

Alfy, Ajax, and Abner giggled, “Adding this scavenged item to our pile is going to be the most memorable one yet!  Thank you Queen Ant.  You are too kind.  And just so you know after this game is done, I think we will be coming back to work.  We’ve been brainstorming another idea using three of our tunnels to help create a shortcut from the Pavilion to the Concession Stand.”

“I will be looking forward to hearing about it.  Now go win that game as I am also looking forward to dealing with Skeeter!”  She answered sternly but also with a wink.

So Alfy, Abner and Ajax bid their goodbyes and went to gather a few of the marching band members.  Once found, the trio had them turn one of the empty pie tins upside down and crawl underneath it so they would be in a good position to carry it to The Hill.  Next the trio gathered a few more members to walk around its edge.  Each of those ants were in charge of beating the make shift drum with a drumstick while Ellie and Lion were instructed to walk behind the marching band and whistle a favorite song of the ants.  Once everyone was in their proper place, Alfy blew the bands whistle and off they all marched to the tune of When the Ants Go Marching Two by Two as the drummers banged away!  Passing Skeeter and the Red Team was the Pink Team’s sweetest victory so far because Alfy, Abner and Ajax caught a quick glimpse of Skeeter’s shocked and his ‘he knew he was in trouble’ look.  Placing not one but rather six drumsticks on their pile increased their desire to try and win The Scavenger Game.  Then they turned and skipped down The Hill knowing that the last two items they needed to find would not be difficult…..

We love you Ellie!!!
Mom & Mimi

No comments:

Post a Comment