Puddin’

The house looked empty. There wasn’t a car in the driveway. No stirring. Taggert decided it was perfect. He’d do a run inside. Steal what he could take. Then he’d be out the door. And he’d do it in no time. It was still morning and everybody on the street seemed to have taken off for work. Taggert liked that. It made housebreaking easy peasy.

Little did Taggert know he was being watched. From the basement. Her name was Puddin’ and she was the house owner’s black panther. Mostly she was tame. The family had had her since she was a pup. I mean, kitten or cub or some such thing.

Puddin’ was harmless unless you want to call scuffling in the living room harmless. The family had declawed her so she wouldn’t scratch up the furniture. Now Puddin’ loved the family. She considered herself part of the family. So when she heard the back window open she just figured it was the man of the house playing a game. Puddin’ loved games.

When the family was gone, she had the run of the house. Every room was her castle. She ran into the bedroom. She saw a man coming through the window. He didn’t look like the man of the house. He didn’t smell like the man of the house. He was much shorter. Puddin’ figured it was a friend of the owners. So she hurried over just as Taggert was stepping down on the floor. She went to hug the Taggert and lick him on the back of the neck.

Taggert turned his head and saw the large black cat opening her mouth. He thought she was going to eat him.

Now Taggert’s heart was as healthy as a horse. But when you’ve got a grown black panther hugging you and trying to lick you, your heart just won’t hold out. And Taggert’s didn’t hold out.

Several hours later Rush and Laura came home. Rush headed to the bedroom. Over by the window, he saw Puddin’ licking a man’s face, trying to wake him from his eternal sleep.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Creator: Archaeologist Heinrich Schleimann

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is the archaeologist Heinrich Schleimann:

The Discovery of Troy

The Adventure Continues at Mycenae

These films are from the Michael Wood BBC’s “In Search of the Trojan War”.

 

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 19: Revolutions stirring

Previously Quills returned with a vengeance.

What do ghosts do while their mistress is on holiday? On the Haggismarshe Estate, it was summer, one of the most beautiful in years. The trees were filling out with their fruit. The planted crops were exactly where planted crops were supposed to be. The rain came when the rain was supposed to.

The staff were at their finest. The Manor House was spotless, a sparkling clean. Everything was prepared for her ladyship’s return whenever she desired. She had been a relief from the old fuddy-duddy Lord Dunnville Percival Wimpleseed-Prissypott. At first, they thought she would be a disaster. Two old pissy-pots instead of one. When they first learned that she was American, all had frowned. Even the seldom-frowning butler, Charles, frowned. Americans could be such savages.

Then they met her ladyship. They were duly impressed. She was young, vibrant, alive and breathing. The alive-and-breathing part impressed them the most. They genuinely liked her ladyship and were sad for her when she moped around the estate after old fuddy’s demise. When she left to go abroad, they were glad. Not for their sake, but for hers. It just wasn’t natural to have all that money and titles and be so melancholy. The death of old Wimpleseed-Prissypott must have been hard on the young bride. Her ladyship ought to have some fun.

For the ghost, Benjamin Patrick Nutt, her ladyship was an even more glorious experience. An American. Finally a fellow countryman, or in her case, countrywoman. So that summer he came out of his normal dingy, damp places. He’d even taken to having a spot of ghostly tea with the other two manor house ghosts, Earl Grey Wimpleseed and Sir Long John Longjohn Prissypott. During one of their ghostly teas, B. P. commented, “I miss those mighty fine bosoms. Mighty fine bosoms indeed.” The other two ghosts agreed.

When B. P. walked the halls, he would spring a bright “Howdy” on any human he came into contact with. It was not a boo-ish howdy or a howlingish howdy, rather the kind of howdy you say if you are in the peak of happiness. As he was. Unbelievably happy. The summer evenings after tea he went out on the Manor House lawn and lay in the hammock and dreamed of her ladyship’s return.

Then late one afternoon, a rider for the Headless Horseman Post Service came with the mail. To say that Benjamin Patrick Nutt, Earl Grey Wimpleseed and Sir Long John Longjohn Prissypott were surprised to see Headless would be an understatement. There had been no ghostly communication between Haggismarshe’s ghosts and the rest of the ghost world in forty or fifty years. The last mail they received had been about the conversion of Scrooge. The three had been happy about that. They had known how much it meant to the Marleys.

Headless approached the three as they were finishing their afternoon tea. He handed B. P. a letter. It was from Giles Gilesworth, the limping ghost butler at the Times. Ghosts did not receive letters from Giles unless the news was exceedingly disturbing. One could see the glee on Giles’ face as he wrote the letter. It had been such a long time since he had had anything of consequence to communicate to the English Ghost World. He felt like a weatherman during a hurricane. “I am sorry to report how bad the hurricane is. But I have a job to do. And, oh yes, I have a job.”

B. P. cut the seal and opened the letter. He read:

“I am so sorry to disturb you in your summer idyll. But I thought it urgent to communicate that the House of Lords is considering revoking Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott’s title and lands. They feel that the marriage was never consummated and should be annulled. But all is not hopeless. She has allies in the Lords and Her Majesty, the Queen, has taken an interest. This has been reported to me by the House of Lords’ very own ghost, Gregory of Hecklestag. Giles, ‘The Times’.”

The American ghost read the communiqué a second time. A frown crossed what existed of his face. Earl Grey Wimpleseed and Sir Long John Longjohn Prissypott each read it aloud. They were all trying to absorb the disturbing news. It was not that disturbing to Earl Grey and Sir Long John but they were distressed about their friend. Before the news, they had never seen B.P. in such a happy state. Now this news. What were they going to do?

***

No one called the Prime Minister Irving from Swirving any longer. No one called the Prime Minister four eyes any longer. No one called the Prime Minister the little man any longer. No one called the Prime Minister short cakes either. He was called Prime Minister or the PM for short.

A man of the people, he had come by his power and position the hard way. He had earned it, rising through the party ranks rung by rung. He began life as an orphan like Oliver Twist. Early on, he realized that he was either going to be condemned to a life of pickpocketry and theft or he would have to take his fate into his own hands and become a politician. He chose the second.

And now all that he had achieved was at risk. All because of some aristocrat called Wimpleseed-Prissypott. My God, the country seemed overrun by the titled breed. They grew like weeds. What must Lords be thinking to get the Queen all in a tizzy? This did not look good.

The Prime Minister’s carriage pulled up at Number 10. He stepped out and headed to the door. His Personal Secretary was waiting in his office.

“Prime Minister,” the P. S. said as the P. M. entered his office. “You look white as a ghost. What happened?”

The Prime Minister poured himself a good stiff drink, drank it and then poured another. “The Lords have gone and done it.”

“Done what, sir?”

He downed the second drink, then he sat down on the couch in the middle of the room.

“I don’t know. But those nincompoops are up to some skullduggery or other. That’s what you have to find out, P. S. We have to get control of this thing or it will be the end of us. Not only me. The Party as well.”

“But the Queen?” P. S. said.

“Yes, the Queen. Wales has gotten the old bitty in a tizzy about something or other that the Lords is up to. All I know is that it affects a Prissypott.”

“What is a Wissywott?”

“It’s a Prissypott. You need to go up to Lords and take a bit of a look around. See what our spies have to say.”

“Sir, did you get a chance to talk to Her Majesty about that other matter we discussed?”

“No, I didn’t get past this Prissypott matter.”

“The Duke of Pimpletonia said that it was urgent that Her Majesty be informed. Her life could very well be in danger.”

Next Week All is not well aboard the S. S. Twit

The flower

The flower was a gift for Hilly. She loved flowers, and Jess brought her the best. They were always unique. He went out of his way to find something he thought would be just for her. And the star magnolia was that kind of a flower. When she looked at the flower, it looked like it was smiling at her, pleased that she was pleased with it. She thought how flowers went out of their way to please. They loved to please, not just with their beauty, but with their personality. It was a thing that flowers did best. And this one was really making an effort.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: Dad

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. To celebrate this Sunday’s Father’s Day, this week’s Spotlight Movie is “Dad” (1989):

I never knew my father. My mother took me and left my father when I was six months old. She left him because she was working her fingers to the bone and my father would not work. I jokingly accuse my father of being the laziest man in the State of Alabama. So I always carried this burden around with me that he wasn’t there.

Now the story I heard was that my mother wouldn’t let him contact me when I was growing up. Then I became an adult and he could have made the effort. But he did not.

When I was younger, I got angry every time I thought about him. I’ve gotten over that. I have forgiven him. That’s his burden, not mine.

If I had a Dad, what would he have been like? I would hope he was like Jake Tremont (Jack Lemmon) who was a man with a heart as large as the great outdoors. A man who loved his family, and loved them so much he gave his life for his family. He did it with nary a complaint.

Now I know there are a lot worse fathers than a Jake Tremont. But I also know that a boy needs a father and mine was Missing In Action. And, on Father’s Day each year, I find myself missing the man more and more.

There are those who believe that a child doesn’t need a father. To me, that’s a lot of hogwash.

For all of you who had great Dads, I hope you really really appreciate the love they gave you and the role model they were for you. Because I am thinking that there are a lot more great Dads than there are lousy fathers.

For all those great Dads, here is a song to remind you what you mean to your children: