Friday, June 15, 2012

Ellie and the Magic Teapot Off to the Park: June Blog 3- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Ellie!

Mimi and Poppy are here!!!  And we are having the best time (and I feel so blessed to be able to celebrate Father’s Day with my Dad this year)!

We are missing your Dad terribly though, especially because he is away on business for Father’s Day.  He is the best, most adoring father.  I love watching him with you.  

Ellie, you are so very loved.

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 10

Ellie, Lion, and the ants were all whistling as they skipped away from dropping off the drumsticks.  They couldn’t help but feel happy… not because they were winning (because it was still just about a tied race) but because they were genuinely having a good time. 

“Ok Pink Team, what do we have left on our list left to scavenge?” Lion redirected as they were among the blades of grass out of the Red Team’s watchful eye.

“A watermelon rind and one of Gertie Garden’s shedded snakeskin,” said an all-knowing Alfy (but as he shook in fear as he said Gertie’s name, he lost his balance and fell on his back).  The Pink Team giggled with him at his clumsiness, which took away from the nervousness they felt when it came to Gertie.

“You know what Guys?  I think we just need to face our fear and get the snakeskin over with.  Now where can we find Gertie?” Ellie bravely suggested.

The ants glanced at each with apprehension filling their eyes.  All Abner could do was point.  Ajax whispered, “She eats ants.”

“Don’t worry,” Lion said reassuringly, “we will protect you.”

They shuffled toward the direction that Abner pointed and came across what used to be Gertie’s home but now had a giant boulder over the entrance.  The Pink Team looked at each other at first confused but then knew exactly who placed the large rock here.  It was then that the Pink Team heard a faint whimpering.  They looked around but didn’t see anyone.  The whimpering turned to a louder sobbing and it seemed to be coming from the Korean Feather Reed Grass right next to Gertie’s house. 

“It’s a trick,” Abner warned, “She’s setting a trap to get us to come to her before she gobbles us up for lunch.”

“That cry sounds real,” Ellie said confidently as she marched through the blades of three-foot high grass.  Lion and then the ants followed her; they were a team after all.

“Gertie?”  Ellie prompted as she came face to face with the snake.  Large tears pooled in the snakes eyes, then overflowed down her cheeks before they dripped down at Ellie’s feet making a small puddle that splashed up as more tears landed.  Ellie stepped back to avoid getting too wet.

“All of my clothes that I love are stuck in my house.  I can’t move that rock to get in to get my things,” Gertie wailed, “Why would those ants do such a thing?”

“Gertie, the Red Team is afraid of you,” Alfy answered bravely but also taking a few steps back because he too had heard the stories of Gertie munching on ants for snacks.

“Afraid of me?  But why?” Gertie asked curiously… “Oh, you all think I will eat you.  I guess that explains why I have no friends.  You think I am a common garden snake.”

“You’re not?” Abner asked disbelievingly.
“No!” Gertie said with insulted, “You shouldn’t stereotype just because I’m a snake.  We’re not all the same.”

“Then what are you?” Ajax asked softening a bit.

“My parents are from Southeast Asia, we are tentacled snakes.  We eat aquatic plants.  That’s why my house is here next to the park’s lake.  I actually spend most of my time in water but I just love fashion so much, I can’t help but come out on land and dress up sometimes,” Gertie sighed, “I don’t have any friends so I try to make myself look pretty in hopes of getting someone to like me.  But now I know that will never happen since people just assume I’m going to eat them.  If I had my house back, I would just crawl under my covers.  Maybe I should just go back to the water.”

Lion was feeling very sad for Gertie.  What an awful life to have people think you are something you are not.  “Can we help you get that rock off of your front step so you can get back into your house?” he asked.

Gertie’s eyes lit up, “I would really appreciate it.  But I suppose you also need something from me for that game.”

Ellie knew that Gertie felt like she was being used.  “Can we make a fair trade?”

“What do you mean?” Gertie asked curiously.

“Well you like fashion right?  I saw you eyeing up my pink tutu when I walked over.  How about I give you my tutu and you give us one of your old shedded skins,” Ellie said as she pulled off the tulle skirt.  It got stuck on her yellow shirt and Lion offered her some help.  “I can do it,” she said as she waved him away tugging it free.  Her black pants underneath looked very bare without it.

“YES please!” shouted Gertie who couldn’t pass up a fashion opportunity.

“Let’s get moving, that rock looks mighty heavy,” Abner said leading the group back to Gertie’s house.

They underestimated Lion’s enormous strength and within minutes, the boulder was pushed off.  Gertie ran inside and reappeared seconds later with one of her old skins hanging from her teeth.

“If I had arms, I would hug you all,” she said already wearing Ellie’s tutu.  Ellie giggled though and readjusted it by pulling it down because Gertie had put it up around her neck.

“We will tell the other ants about you Gertie.  We are very sorry that we judged you before we knew you.  Maybe we could come back and visit once this game is over,” Alfy said as he waved good-bye. 

“I would like that very much,” Gertie replied with a smile and nodding her head as the Pink Team thanked her before turning their attention back to the game. 

Lion, Ellie, and the ants took off toward The Hill with Gertie’s skin above their heads.  They learned that working as a group and carrying these heavier items made the trip back faster.  But as soon as they stepped onto the top of The Hill, they realized the Red Team had already been there and they were already gone too.  The fishing pole Ellie accidentally left behind from the last round was now standing next to their opponents pile.  The Pink Team was now losing.  Both teams only had one more item to retrieve… it was down to the last round. They knew they had to act fast…

“Did you just see that?”  Slyguy hesitated.  “The Pink Team just passed us.  And they did it with a smile on their face!”

“Yeah, but did you also see that they had some of the Queen Ant’s marching band members with them,” added Speedy.  “Do you think that means that the Queen Ant knows we aren’t…”

Skeeter quickly interrupted, “Stop it!  Stop overanalyzing the Pink Team’s last find.   The Queen Ant knows nothing.  Let’s just leave it at that!”  He finished, a bit nervous as well as frustrated.

“I hope you’re right Skeeter,” Slugger answered, his voice slowly rising with every word, “You promised us we wouldn’t get caught!”  

“Alright, alright… we won’t!  We’ve got two more items to find.  Once we win this game, we’ll return to The Ant Farm and sneak into Tunnel 3’s back door.  No one will be the wiser,” Skeeter answered a little too confidently before redirecting the focus, “Now who knows what is still left for us to find on the Scavenger List?”

Shortstop raised his hand, “I do.”

Skeeter rolled his eyes, “And that would be…”

“Oh.  That would be a yellow Frisbee and a band-aid,” Shortstop answered with less intimidation and more confidence this time.

“A Frisbee and a band-aid.  Huh…what do you think guys?  Any ideas as to which one we have a better chance at retrieving this round?”  Skeeter asked.  “Because I sure don’t.  I haven’t seen a band-aid on our travels so far, but then again I wasn’t really zeroing in on one.  And the only Frisbee I saw was clear across the Park.  If we go after that one, we will never make it back to The Hill first.”

“Uhhhhh, guys… look over here!” summoned Speedy while pointing to a spot between the two teams’ piles.

“Holy Cow!  A fishing pole!” an enthusiastic Slugger yelled out.

Skeeter raised his eyebrows at Slugger before scolding him, “Excuse me… the game?  Did you forget the importance of winning the game?  I will NOT lose to Alfy and his misfit team! Slugger, you can go fishing later.  Right now FOCUS!”

“But I am focused Skeeter!” Slugger answered with annoyance, “Don’t you see… the fishing pole can help us.”

“How so?”  Skeeter questioned disbelievingly.

“Well, if we cast it out towards the Frisbee, maybe we can hook it, reel it in and place it on our scavenged pile,” continued Slugger.

“Why that’s a fantastic idea!  Let’s do it!”  Skeeter yelled out, “Retrieving the Frisbee quickly will definitely put us way ahead of the Pink Team.  And while we are at it, let’s make sure they know that we are faster, better and smarter at playing this game than they are!”

“And how are we going to do that?”  Shortstop asked not really liking Skeeter’s idea.

Skeeter’s answer oozed cockiness, “Well, I think it is pretty obvious that they got careless.  Looks to me like little Miss Ellie forgot to take her fishing pole along with them and left it for us to use in our search.  And to leave it out in plain sight like this… why, I feel they were begging us to take it,” he continued, “So let’s show them how they are going to lose the game!  When we retrieve the Frisbee and lay it on our pile, let’s make sure to stand the fishing pole upright right next to our prized find so those misfits realize that their precious Ellie and Lion flubbed up and most probably will have cost them the game!  That will teach them a lesson not to mess with us!“  He ended with determination, “Now let’s go!”

The other four team members looked sheepishly at Skeeter, shrugged their shoulders and figured that they might as well go along with him.  Only two more scavenged items to claim and this game would be finished.  They certainly did not want to get on Skeeter’s bad side now.

“Ok, so who knows how to use this thing?”  Skeeter asked the group.

“I bet Slugger would be our best bet as he has the strongest and most powerful arms of all,” offered Slyguy, “Let’s have him give it a try.”

“I’m game,” responded Slugger.  He demanded everyone to step behind him as he picked up the fishing pole, freed the fish hook from the wire, swung the pole over his right shoulder and quickly pressed the release button on the bale so that when he cast his fishing pole forward the fishing line went sailing through the air.  But there was a slight glitch in this step-by-step process.  When Slugger pressed the button and cast forward, he didn’t realize that the fish hook was dangling a bit too close to Skeeter and snagged him by his behind sailing him through the air also!

“Owwwwwwwwch!  Hellllllllllllllp!  Sluggerrrrrrrrrr!”  Were the only words Shortstop, Speedy, Slyguy and Slugger could hear before Skeeter’s voice faded into the wind.

“Uh-oh.  He’s going to be really mad at me,” sputtered Slugger, “What should I do?”

“Uh-oh is right!  Mad is putting it mildly.  He’s going to be super angry and super sore for a super long time!”  Chimed Shortstop, “If you don’t want it to be worse than what it already is, I suggest you aim for that Frisbee dead on and reel it in on your first try!  We’re all rooting for you Slugger,” cheered Speedy and Slyguy.  But as the group of ants watched the scenario unfold, they couldn’t contain themselves any longer and fell to the ground in a fit of giggles!
Luckily for Slugger, he snagged the Frisbee on the first try.  Now that could have been because Skeeter’s added weight helped drop the hook at just the right time catching the Frisbee’s edge, or it could have been because Skeeter himself banged into its center allowing the hook to dig in rather than sail over it, or it could have been sheer luck.  No matter, once the Frisbee was hooked, Slugger reeled it in as quickly as he could.  And what a sight it was.  The yellow Frisbee bounced along the ground dozens of times trying so hard to take flight, but with Skeeter plastered to its middle, the Frisbee just couldn’t seem to get more than three or four feet off the ground.  Slugger continued to reel in the Frisbee guiding it up The Hill and once there, he let it drop onto their scavenged pile.  Unfortunately Skeeter was underneath it and started to scream, “Somebody get this thing off of me!  Hurry up!  And unhook me from this barbaric stick too!  My behind is sore and my head is spinning!  Slugger, Speedy, Shortstop, Slyguy... somebody’s going to pay for this!  Come on… hurry up and get me out of here!”

The four ants froze.  Before freeing Skeeter, they hoped his temper would subside a bit, but the longer they delayed the angrier Skeeter became.  “Somebody better get me out of here NOW!!  Don’t make me count to 10 or you’ll all be sorry!   One… Two… Three…”

It was Shortstop who moved first, “Alright Skeeter.  Stay still so Slugger can use the fishing pole to hoist the Frisbee up on its side.”  Once Skeeter calmed down, Slugger dug his feet into the ground and maneuvered the rod to lift the Frisbee.  “Alright Skeeter,” Continued Shortstop, “Now Slyguy is going to climb up and release the hook from your behind.  So don’t move!”  And Slyguy did just that.  But he did it so fast that Skeeter didn’t have time to latch his own feet onto the Frisbee and ended up dropping to the ground headfirst with a boink!

“Ooooooooooooooooooo…”  Skeeter boiled.

But Speedy was quick, “Skeeter!  We did it!  We beat the Pink Team by a mile!  We’re going to win the game for sure!  You’ve got to get up, and brush yourself off so we can head out and find that last scavenged item on the list!  Like you said, those misfits will learn not to mess with us!”

Skeeter liked that answer.  So he got up, dusted off the dirt from his head to his toes, bent down to pick up the fishing pole and jammed it hard into the earth so that it would stand upright giving Alfy’s team a clear message.  Then he whistled to his teammates to follow him off The Hill in search of the last item all the while rubbing his sore behind with his right hand and the top of his head with his left hand.  He wasn’t angry anymore for he could almost taste The Win.

We love you Ellie Bean!
Love, Mom & Mimi

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