Friday, July 6, 2012

Ellie and the Magic Teapot Off to the Park: July Blog 1- Letters from Mom & Mimi

Hi Ellie Bean,

And so we will end our second story.  Your Mimi and I had a hard time concluding this one as we fell in love with the characters.  We felt we knew them intimately (especially because so much of you, Ellie Bean, is woven into their personalities).  But it’s always important to know when it’s time to say good-bye… this quote by Walt Disney rings true, “Always leave them wanting more.” 

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.   

Ellie and the Magic Teapot: Off to the Park Part 12

Skeeter was kicking the dirt on The Hill with his feet while the rest of Red Team went over to shake hands with the Pink Team. 

Slyguy said to Lion, “Gosh, it looked like you guys had such a good time playing.  You really know how to have fun.”

Slugger overheard Slyguy and shook his head in agreement as he shook Ellie’s hand and whispered, “I wish we were on your team.”

Alfy, Ajax, and Abner reached their hands out to Shortstop and Speedy for a handshake but they got all tangled and the group fell onto the ground and couldn’t help but laugh at each other.  “This looks more like a congratulatory hug!” giggled Shortstop who managed to be on top of the pile.

It was among these celebratory moments that everyone heard Skeeter howl in pain.  Concerned, the two teams all immediately turned their heads and saw Skeeter hopping around on one foot while holding his other foot in his arms.  They could see his toe throbbing in redness.

“Are you ok Skeeter?” asked Lion compassionately.

He scowled at him then winced in pain and explained, “When I was kicking the dirt I didn’t see that rock.”  Everyone looked down near his foot and saw a jagged stone jutting out of the ground. 

“You know Skeeter, I had a bump on my leg this afternoon and I forgot I had this,” Ellie said as she reached into her black pants’ pocket and pulled out a reusable plastic ice cube that was swathed in fur, made to look like a rabbit.  Ellie saw Skeeter eyeing it skeptically.  “The fur is what keeps the plastic ice cube cold for a long time, it acts like a cooler,” Ellie described.  She bent down gently and pushed the cube against his toe.  Skeeter jumped, startled by how cold the ice cube really was but then relaxed as his wound became numb and the pain lessoned.  Lion came over a short time later with Mary’s band-aid from their pile.  “Let me wrap it with this now,” he said to Skeeter, “It will help protect your toe and hopefully keep the swelling down.” 

As Skeeter was getting his toe bandaged, his face relaxed and he looked around at what used to be two distinct teams but now were just a bunch of friends hanging out as equals.

“Why are helping you me?” Skeeter asked out to the group.

“You may be competitive Skeeter but you’re our friend,” Slyguy answered.

“It’s admirable that you will go to great lengths to win Skeeter but you need to know your limits.  Remember winning isn’t everything,” Ellie softly scolded.

“I don’t know why you stayed with me the whole time,” Skeeter said acknowledging the Red Team, “Gosh, I was a real jerk.  I don’t understand why I become such a sore sport.”

“Everyone feels different things Skeeter but it’s important to recognize that in yourself so that you can stop it, especially when it’s just a game.  You need to control your emotions not let your emotions control you,” Lion reminded him.

“I guess I owe everyone a big apology,” Skeeter started but before he could finish, there was a horn blowing in the distance.

Skeeter slapped his hand on his forehead knowing that the Queen was beckoning for him.  “I hope the Queen is as kind as you all.  I really skimped out on my duties today at the Ant Farm.  I guess I need to say I’m sorry to the colony now too.  Don’t worry Red Team, I will tell the Colony that it was me who came up with the idea to play hooky and that I blackmailed you all to come along.”

“Blackmailed?” Abner asked curiously.

“Yeah, I told them I would tell the Queen that they were the ones that stole the desserts from storage room the other night even though I knew it wasn’t them,” Skeeter admitted sheepishly.

“So you know who really did it?” Abner asked astonished and a bit upset after going without dessert last night.

“It was me.  I got up at midnight the night before and was really hungry.  The soldier ants fell asleep on the job so it was easy to sneak in without getting noticed.  But after I stole the food, I didn’t want to get in trouble,” Skeeter said red-faced.

“Well, I guess it’s time that you face the consequences Skeeter,” Ajax said.

“I need to learn how to be a team player.  I bet the Queen will make me be a carpenter as punishment.  It’s the hardest job around here,” Skeeter explained to Ellie and Lion, “They build the ant pile and it’s hard labor.”

“No Skeeter, I bet the Queen has another job in mind,” Alfy said, “I bet she puts you in charge of the nursery.  You could probably do a lot of good teaching the younger ants what you learned today.  Come on, I’ll walk with you down to the Queen.  I know it can be scary telling the truth.”  They joined arms and before walking down toward the Ant Farm, they said good-bye to Ellie and Lion…

“Well the Scavenger Game was certainly a lot of fun Lion!  I had a great time, even though Skeeter was a poor sport for most of it.  I do believe though he learned a valuable lesson on how one should act and react when playing a game.  How about you Lion… did you have a good time?” asked Ellie.

“I did Ellie.  I really did.  Who would have thought that playing with ants could provide so much entertainment?” Lion responded, “And I think you are correct about Skeeter learning a valuable lesson.  I just hope from now on he really works hard at becoming a positive role model in team leadership.  But right now don’t you think it is time we get back to your house before your mom realizes we are gone?”

“Yeah.  I guess we had better get back,” yawned Ellie.  “I’m kind of tired.  Lion, do you have the teapot?”

“No.  I don’t.  I found it was too awkward carrying it all around while we were scavenging items, so I set it down on the picnic table underneath the pavilion when our team was over there,” he answered. 

“Ok.  Well, if we walk over to the pavilion can you retrieve it and walk it over to the water fountain near the parks entrance?” asked Ellie.

“Sure.  And then what?” questioned Lion.

“Listen carefully,” and Ellie laid out her plan while she and Lion set out for the other side of the park.  Once there she directed Lion, “I want you to stand directly beneath the water fountain bowl and hold the teapot upright with its lid open.  Then I will crawl up the side of the fountain and once I’m at the top, I will sit on the operating knob.  I will shift my weight as best I can and try to aim the waters spray just far enough so that it will spill over the side.  Hopefully I’ll have enough strength in my body to hold the knob down long enough for the water to fill the teapot to its brim.  When we’ve accomplished that, you need to signal me so that I know when to crawl back down the side of the fountain and put my feet back on solid ground.  As for the signal I want you to use… hmmmmmm… what would be a good signal?  Oh I’ve got it.  How about… you whistle?” 

“Brilliant idea!” beamed Lion.  And the two friends followed Ellie’s plan to a ‘T’.

Now that she was standing next to Lion again, Ellie pulled their two tiny teacups out of her pants’ pocket giving one to Lion while she held the other.  “All right Lion… while you pour our tea, I will say the magic words that will take us home.”  So Lion tipped the teapot, and Ellie spoke the magic words, “Baooohhhaoooahaljaljljljafooj”.  That quickly rainbow colored glitter swirled through the air while music filled their ears lifting both Ellie and Lion up, up, up and in a blink of an eye set them down on the blue chairs sidled up to Ellie’s red table located in her bedroom.

At that same moment Ellie’s mom walked in to her room to apologize for being on the phone so long and was about to suggest that they now go to the park when she noticed something odd.

“Ellie-bean,” her mom hesitated while looking down at Lions furry body.  “How did your Lion get grass stains up and down its legs?  And where did your tutu go?”  And then she shifted her focus to the area around Ellie’s shoes… “And where did that little pile of brown dirt come from on your white carpet?” Getting down on her knees for a closer examination, Ellie’s mom realized something was amiss.  Something was moving.  “Ahhhhhhhh… Ants!” she screamed.   Jumping up she rushed out of the bedroom and practically flew down the steps reaching the garage in record time.   She was in search of the spray ‘Ant Be Gone’ and knew exactly what shelf to find it on.

Ellie giggled, “Come on Lion, we only have a matter of minutes to get our little insect friends out of here and take them where they will be safe before mom returns.”  Seeing what she thought was a nod of approval from Lion, she scooped him up in one hand and the tiny ants in her other hand.  Dashing out of her bedroom and quickly running down the steps for the front door, she passed her mom running up the steps.  “I’ll be right back mom.  I need to find my hat and sunglasses,” she fibbed.

“Alright.  I’m going to be a few extra minutes anyway,” her mom fretted.  “I don’t like bugs and I have to figure out where those ones in your bedroom came from.  Maybe I’ll just spray everywhere and say good riddance to those creepy crawly creatures!” she said somewhat distractedly and to know one in particular.

Once downstairs Ellie tiptoed to the front door and opened it ever so slowly so that it did not make a sound.  She then crouched down and released her ant friends to the outdoors.  Holding Lion tightly, she took his arm into hers and together they waved goodbye as the insects marched away.  She whispered after them, “Anytime you need extra team-mates for another Scavenger Game, Lion and I will be ready, willing and able!  Till next time little friends… till next time!”  Then she stepped back inside the house closing the door softly behind her.  Walking over to the coffee table, Ellie picked up her pink flowered hat and butterfly sunglasses.   Placing them on her head she yelled up the stairs, “I’m ready to go to the park mom!  And I know a fun game we can play.  You just need to bring a pencil and a piece of paper so we can make a list of some unusual items to find!” Then she winked at Lion, her mischievousness partner and together they ascended the stairs to get her mom.  They were ready for a park adventure… again.

We love you Ellie Bean!
Mom & Mimi

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