By me...ack ack ack...about 1986


Annie had been fond of ol' George ever since the time he saved her favorite tree from

being made into an outhouse. It was only a small pecan tree and Annie had other plans

for it that involved sitting on its topmost branch and looking out across the brown plains

and winding rivers to the green mountains far away. Also, from there, she could secretly

watch Humbert flying his red kite, which he did from evening to dawn every day except

 on those Tuesdays when the temperature was below 45 degrees.  Annie liked to watch

Humbert as often as she could, but she found it hard in the wee hours of rainy nights. At

those times she would climb down from the top limb of the little pecan tree, wrap her

snuggly rug securely about herself and ski across the hill to the village of Flumhavy, some

67 miles away. In the town, her favorite thing to do was to stand on the edge of the central fountain in the enormous garden belonging to feeble Count Rasbarn and sing her beloved

Welsh folksong about yellow-flower stew.  The Count was so entranced by her singing that

his old heart would vibrate with joy and delight and often he sent her nine or ten orange popsicles as a sign of his affection. As popsicles caused the growth of large purple hairs

on her nose, Annie very seldom actually ate them, but more often would stuff them into

the argyle sock she kept tied to her belt, and skiing back across the hill, would toss them

gaily one by one to the large and always hungry rabbits that lived in the flowerpots

scattered along her path. 


Back again in the little pink cottage she shared with her aged grandmother Smuftdorp,

she went happily about her daily chore of plucking the spotted mushrooms off the wide

crack in the footboard of the bed that had belonged to her mother back in the days when dolphins had actually played freely and without fear in the pond behind the bakery.  She

wished she, too, could have witnessed such a marvelous thing, but last Friday was way too

long ago for someone like her with green elbows to remember.


Her pet zebra, Pimzork the Good, stuck its head through the round window over the

small, checkered suitcase in which Annie kept her special collection of pink crumbs. 

Annie reached through the maze of cobwebs to pet Pimzork the Good softly on her

nose, carefully avoiding the small sore spot on Pimzork the Good's left ear where the

plow had gouged it during the time when Pimzork the Good had fallen through the rotten

floorboards of grandmother Smuftdorp's treehouse and ended up flat on her back in the

middle of the yam garden during planting season last July.  Nine thousand three hundred

 and four ladybugs had been flattened beyond recognition by Pimzork the Good's landing, resulting in the subsequent loss of half the pineapple dough that would be needed to feed

the firemen when they returned from their trip to Nova Scotia to look for the elusive

nesting site of the bramble-bee.  The loss had devastated the whole community and Annie

had not yet recovered from the shame and humiliation...which was why the prospect of

her favorite pecan tree being made into an outhouse was doubly hard for her to bear

and why she felt especially indebted to George, who had also convinced Queen Grupt to

look elsewhere for the wood needed to reinforce the planking in the center of her giant

bookcase where all the tromping footsteps of generation upon generation of male yucca

worms had worn it thin. 


Annie could feel in her heart that a new day was dawning in which her aprons would be

clean again and the gingerbread would not sink low in the middle.  The very thought of it

made her smile in happiness and the purple ribbon she wore tied around her earlobe as a memento of the sandstorm that had blown all the stepladders into the swamp seemed to

glow a more delicate shade of lavender in the reflected beauty of her teeth that had, at last,

been returned to her on the day last year when Mister Evonoburp's nephew had discovered

the ant inside the tin lantern that hung way out over the entrance to the mineshaft.  It was

a day she would never forget as long as she could remember it.