The Statue and the Painting

“Oh lovely girl in the background of the painting,” the statue said. “Please tell me your name so that I can write odes to your lovely eyes.”

The row of girls in the background of the painting looked at each other.   An older man, sitting on a park bench near the front of the painting frowned. “Which girl? Don’t you see how many there are?”

The statue looked confused. “The loveliest one, of course. The angel with the twinkling eyes and the mysterious smile.”

The old man looked over at the girls. “Nope, I still have no idea.”

The statue frowned. “I fear that your advanced age has affected your vision. My angel outshines the others like the sun outshines the stars.”

The old man rolled his eyes. “I may be old, but at least I know how to get dressed in the morning.”

“What?”

“You have rocks for ears,” the old man said. “I’m telling you that you forgot to wear trousers.” The girls in the background giggled.

“My ears are the finest marble,” the statue said. “And I’m not meant to wear trousers.”

“Nonsense,” the old man said. “If you are old enough to go courting, you are old enough to be able to dress yourself.”

“And what would I wear?” the statue asked. “There is nothing here for me but the base I stand on.”

“They have all sorts of things in the gift shop,” the old man said. “Get dressed, and maybe we can talk again.”

“Oh, I see,” the statue said. “This is a quest. I will find the gift shop and win the name of my angel.”

“Yes, yes,” the old man said. “I’m sure you’re very brave.”

So the statue started out on his quest. “I should begin writing my ode now,” he said. “My love is like a lovely…Bear!” he said, as he turned the corner and almost ran into the stuffed bear lying next to the fountain in the atrium.

“Your love is a bear?” the bear growled. “There aren’t many here. What’s her name?”

“She’s not a bear,” the statue said.

“You just said that she is,” the bear said.

“I didn’t mean to say that,” the statue said.

“Then be more careful,” the bear said.

“I will,” the statue said. He looked around. “Which way is the gift shop?”

“Over there,” the bear said. “Through the door.”

“Which one?” the statue asked.

“The door to the lobby,” the bear said.

“I don’t know which one that is,” the statue said. And then he paused. “Perhaps what is obvious to one person is not obvious to another.”

“Obviously,” the bear said.

“I have learned something new. I must apologize to the old man. I didn’t realize I was being rude.” The statue paused to pull down some curtains and wrap them around himself. “That will have to do for now,” he said.

He hurried back to his pedestal. “I’m sorry I was rude before,” he said. “I now realize that I wasn’t speaking very clearly. Look, I got dressed. Please introduce me to the lovely girl holding a pitcher of water and standing in a fountain.”

The girls and old man turned to look. “The statue?” the old man asked. “The one with wings?”

“Yes,” the statue said. “My angel.”

“Oh,” the old man said. “We just call her Angel.”

“My Angel, may I write a poem to your eyes?” the statue said.

“I thought you’d never ask,” Angel said. “Of course you can.”

 

Early Snow

Bob looked around at the world in wonder. “Snow in October,” he whispered. “It’s early this year.”

“Too early,” a voice said loudly at his elbow.

Bob jumped and turned around. “Fred?   Is that you?”

The snowman standing behind him sighed. “Yes, it looks like we were built right next to each other this year.”

“That’s wonderful,” Bob said. “It’ll give us someone to talk to. And look, you have button eyes this year. That’s different.”

“They’re hard to see out of,” Fred said. “I keep seeing double.”

“Huh. I wonder what kind of eyes I have,” Bob said.

“Tennis balls,” Fred said. “It’s creepy.”

“Appropriate for October then, right?” Bob said. “Do you think there’s some sort of Halloween magic? I’d love to go trick or treating.”

“Don’t be silly. It’s too early. We’ll probably both melt tomorrow.” Fred sighed again.

“We’ll probably be back when it snows again,” Bob said. “Twice in one year. Isn’t that great?”

“No, it means I have to plan my funeral twice,” Fred said.

“Oh, that’s right. I forgot you do that,” Bob said. “Maybe you could skip it this time? Two funerals a year does seem a bit much.”

“I think it’s best to come to terms with our mortality. The thaw is always near,” Fred said.

“Yes, well, I don’t really like to think about it,” Bob said. “Seize the day and all that. Hey, is that a squirrel?”

“Don’t call its attention to us,” Fred said. “You have acorn ears.”

“It wasn’t a squirrel. I don’t think they’re nocturnal anyway,” Bob said. “Maybe it was an owl. Or a bat.   Did you see the colored leaves on the trees? I can’t believe it’s October.   I really hope there’s Halloween magic.”

“It’s not like humans give out treats that we could eat,” Fred said.   “It’s not the North Pole.”

“Halloween isn’t about the candy any more than Christmas is about presents,” Bob said.

“It’s not?” Fred said. “How do you know?”

“Santa told me,” Bob said.

“What does Santa know about other holidays?” Fred asked.

“Santa knows lots of things. He said Halloween is about remembering loved ones who have passed on and sharing with neighbors and caring for children. And there’s costumes and candy and pumpkins. If there is Halloween magic and we can go trick or treating, then maybe we can eat the candy, too. I hope so.”

“Ah yes, remembering death,” Fred said.

“That’s what you’re going to focus on?” Bob asked.

“It’s important to me,” Fred said. “Since we’re sharing a yard this year, would you like a joint funeral?”

“Sure,” Bob said. “Do I need to give a speech or something?”

“You don’t speak at your own funeral,” Fred said.

“Then who will?” Bob asked.

“The wind whispers words of sadness and comfort,” Fred said.

“Doesn’t it do that anyway?” Bob asked.

“Yes, but I usually write up a script. I recite it a dozen times so that the wind won’t forget any of it.   If the winter is unusually long, I may have to recite it more often.”

“And the wind actually recites your script at your funeral?” Bob asked.

“Of course,” Fred said. “At least I think so. What else would it say? So, would you like some help writing your eulogy?”

“Um, no thank you,” Bob said. “I think I’m going to look for bats and think about Halloween instead.”

“That’s fine,” Fred said. “I can write yours, too.”

“Thanks, Fred,” Bob said.

“You’re welcome,” Fred said. “That’s what friends are for. Consider it an early Halloween treat, since we probably won’t live to see Halloween.”

“If we do, add ‘Bob was always right’ to my eulogy,” Bob said.

“Fine,” Fred said. And he did.

 

The Fruit Bowl

“If I painted myself orange, do you think I could spy on the carrots?” one of the bananas asked. “I think they were looking really suspicious at lunchtime.”

“Nah, we can just check in with the tomato later and see what’s going on,” the honeycrisp apple said. “He blends in with the vegetables without doing anything special.”

“But isn’t that suspicious too? Maybe he’s spying on us,” the lemon said.

“And who put you in charge, anyway?” the orange said. “Oranges are the only fruit impressive enough to have a color named after themselves.”

The apple’s shiny peel glinted in artificial light. “It’s due to my many talents. I’m fierce enough to frighten doctors, but charismatic enough to charm teachers. I’m sweet enough to put in pie, but healthy enough to be included among the common healthy snack foods.   I’m just amazing like that.”

“And so modest, too,” the granny smith apple said, obviously feeling a little green with envy. The lemon snickered.

“Well, I challenge you to a duel,” a banana said.

Just then, the tomato shuffled towards the fruit bowl, hiding in the shadows. The honeycrisp apple turned and waved his stem. “Hey, tomato. What’s the news?”

“Oh, the carrots and celery were threatening to throw the radishes out of the relish tray again. You know radishes. They can’t stop making sarcastic, biting comments.” The tomato laughed.

“How are the cucumbers doing?” the grapes asked.

“Why are you asking?” the tomato asked.

“Hey, I challenged the shiny apple guy to a duel,” a banana said.

Everyone ignored him. The grapes giggled. “No reason.   I just think we have a lot in common.   Can you introduce us?”

The orange gasped. “Traitor!   Fruits and vegetables are natural enemies. We don’t befriend them.”

The grapes pouted. “Tomato does.”

“That’s different,” the honeycrisp apple said. “He’s a spy. So, tell us what you have in common.”

“We’re both immortal. We live on in death,” the grapes said. “Isn’t it romantic?”

“Ew. No,” the lemons said.   “Being pickled or dried out isn’t living on, you twit. It’s a cursed half-life. No one should want to live on like that. It’s unnatural.”

“Why do you have to be so sour?” the grapes asked.

“I’m a lemon. It’s what we do.”

The banana huffed. “Hey, if you don’t duel me I’m going to sing loudly until you give into my demands.”   He began to sing terribly off-key.   “If all of the raindrops were carrots and oranges, oh what a rain it would be…”

“I object,” the orange said. “Carrots would never be classed with oranges by any one with a discerning eye for value.   They obviously copied our color in order to try to fool the gullible, but no one smart would ever mistakenly mix us up.”

But the banana sang on…

“I’m out of here,” the tomato said. “Later.”

“Wait,” the grapes said. “What about the cucumbers?”

And the banana continued to sing. “If all of the raindrops were apples and radishes…”

“Make him stop,” the orange said. “If he continues, we’ll all end up as crazy as he is.”

The lemon snorted. “Will that make us bananas too?”

“That was a terrible joke,” the orange said. “But it was kind of funny.” He laughed, and the banana sang on.

“Fine, fine,” the apple said. “Bananas, what are your demands?”

“I want to be in charge,” the banana said.

“Sure, you’re in charge,” the apple said. “Here’s the rotation schedule for all the fruit, so that no one gets shoved in a dark corner and goes bad and takes us all with them.”

“Oh,” the banana said.

“And here’s the optimum fruit arrangement for the bowl so no one gets bruised. And here’s all the paperwork for the seasonal rotation. Pay special attention to the holidays. They’re tricky.”

“Never mind,” the banana said. “Can we just declare today banana day and forget all about me being in charge?”

“Okay,” the apple said. “Happy Banana Day.”

“Happy Banana Day,” the other fruits chorused.

“Thank you,” the banana said. “That was beautiful.”

“Excellent,” the apple said. “Meeting adjourned.”

Lost and Seek

“Where is my other sock?” Louise asked.  She was pretty sure she’d seen it in her drawer yesterday.  She emptied the drawer onto her bed and sorted through it.  She had blue and green and purple and white socks in pairs, but only one yellow sock.

Under all the socks, she found her library card.  “I’ve been looking for this for weeks!” she said.  “How did it get into my sock drawer?”  She bundled the socks back into their drawer and slid the drawer back into place.  Then she looked under the bed.  No yellow sock.

Louise sighed and put the yellow sock on top of her dresser.  She got out a pair of white socks and put them on.  Then she took her library card with her into the living room.  Her purse wasn’t by the couch where she’d left it.

“Now where’s my purse?” she asked.  She looked around.  Let’s see.  Maybe it was under the couch?  She knelt down and looked.  There was something there.  It was hard to tell.  She reached under the couch and pulled out a book.

“I’ve been looking for this since last Tuesday,” she said.  “But I swept under here two days ago.  It doesn’t make any sense.”  She set the book on top of the bookshelf and looked around again.  Perhaps her purse had fallen behind the big squashy chair?  No, but there was one of her favorite pens.

Taking the pen and library card, she decided to check the kitchen.  There was a fork under the table that she put under the sink.  Her sunglasses were on the counter.  She took the sunglasses with her.

She checked the bathroom next.  Inside the towel cupboard, she found her purse.  “There you are!” she said.  “How did I leave you in there?”  She put her sunglasses, pen, and library card inside.  “Now to get my shoes on.”

Louise checked by the door first.  Of course, they weren’t there.  She checked in the coat closet.  She moved aside some boots and sandals and a pair of tap shoes.  Her red umbrella was in the back corner.  “I wish I’d known where this was yesterday,” she said.  “I had to leave without it, and I got all wet.”

She put the umbrella up on the closet shelf.  A glove fell off the shelf and landed on her head.  “Now I’ve found you, but it’s a few months too late,” she said.  She put the glove back into her winter coat pocket with its twin.

She left her purse by the door and went back to her bedroom.  She’d already checked under the bed.  Maybe the shoes would be in the closet?

Black dress shoes, red dress shoes, and there they were.  She took out her sneakers.  Why had she brought them back in here?  She went and sat on the bench by the front door and started to put them on.  Something crinkled as she put her foot in.

She pulled them off again and checked inside.  There was the title of that book she was going to look up at the library.  It was a good thing she’d found her card.  Louise put the note in her pocket, put her shoes on, picked up her purse and left.

“She’ll be back,” a tiny voice said from the hall table.  “She’s forgotten me.”

“Where will you hide this time?” said a voice from under the chair cushion.

“Silverware drawer,” said the voice.  There was a quiet clinking sound and a drawer opened and closed.

The front door opened and closed a few minutes later.  “Where did I leave my keys?” Louise said.  She checked the hall table.  “I thought I saw them there last night.  Where could I have left them?”

Lost Keys

Learning to Rain

“Watch closely,” Daddy Raincloud said.

“I’m watching,” Little Raincloud said. “This is going to be great.”

“I’m glad you’re excited,” Daddy Raincloud said. “Someday you’ll be doing this all on your own. Well, follow me. First we pick up water. We’ll just sit here for a while and breathe it in.”

“It’s kind of hard to do,” Little Raincloud said.

“You can do it,” Daddy Raincloud said. “There you go. I can see that it’s working. Now think gloomy thoughts.”

“Like what?” Little Raincloud asked.

“Like how everyone hides under an umbrella when we come, and when we come to a picnic, they all go home,” Daddy raincloud said.

“Oh, that is sad,” Little Raincloud said. He sunk a little lower.

“Now you’re getting it,” Daddy Raincloud said. “Now when you’re floating over the area scheduled for rain, drop the water at a steady rate. Ready, wait a moment, go.” Daddy raincloud started to sprinkle water on the thirsty plants below.

Little Raincloud followed behind him, not raining. “I can’t do it, Daddy,” he said. “I can’t. It won’t work. I need help.”

“Keep trying,” Daddy said. “You can do it.”

Finally, finally, Little Raincloud started to rain. “I did it, Daddy,” he said. He gave a little hop and the rain poured harder.

“Ease up a bit,” Daddy said. “We don’t want a flood. There’s not one scheduled here for another decade. Why don’t you try to send out a rainbow?”

“I like rainbows,” Little Raincloud said. “Please show me how to make one.”

“Catch the light just right, like this, see? Then toss it up gently and let it come back down,” Daddy said. He gently tossed a rainbow out. “Now you try,” he said. “Toss a rainbow just below mine , and we can have a double rainbow.”

Little Raincloud tossed his rainbow out. It fell straight down. He started to cry and the rain came down in sheets too thick to see through.

“Did you toss it up?” Daddy Raincloud asked.

“I tried, Daddy,” Little Raincloud said. “But it didn’t work.

“I wonder what went wrong,” Daddy Raincloud said. He drifted closer to Little Raincloud. “Little raincloud, how long have you been upside down?” he asked.

“Is that what’s wrong?” Little Raincloud asked. “How can you tell which way is up?”

“Rain falls down,” Daddy Raincloud said. He blew a sharp breeze that flipped Little Raincloud the right way up. “Do you want to try again?” he asked.

“Yes,” Little Raincloud said. “What’s next on the schedule?”

“We’re going to go rain on a lake a little way from here,” Daddy Raincloud said.

“Can you teach me how to throw lightning?” Little Raincloud asked.

“Let’s work on your aim first,” Daddy Raincloud said.

Together they rained gently over the lake. They watched the fish rise to the surface and the frogs hide. They gently shook the branches of the trees and listened to the clapping sound the leaves made. At the end of the storm, Daddy Raincloud tossed his rainbow up into the air. Once again, Little raincloud’s rainbow fell straight down.

“Are you upside down again?” Daddy Raincloud asked. “When did that happen?”

“No,” Little raincloud said. “I’m not upside down. I just dropped it this time. Can we try again?”

“Not today. That was the last one on the schedule. Maybe tomorrow,” Daddy said.

“Can we try some lightning tomorrow, too?”

“I don’t think you’ll be ready for lightning for a while yet,” Daddy said. “For now, let’s stick to rainbows.”
Rain Trainer