Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Hey, Sheiks and Shebas! It’s pos-i-lutely darb to see you at Jazz Age Wednesdays. I have something to share. When handsome, humorous, honorable, most huggable Hugh Roberts, of Hugh’s Views & News, asked me to participate in his new feature series, all I could say was, “And how!”
Here’s Hugh’s description of this feature: In this feature, I will be sharing snippets from my diary of 1988. We’ll also take a trip in Hugh’s Music Time machine to hear some songs from the 1980s which have been chosen by some specially invited guests. (Click here for that post.)
Writing a story is not as easy as you might think. Plus, I never can make things simple for myself… For Hugh’s feature and my favorite 80s song I wanted to pick something to which I could relate a new story from the Pip-verse. I chose Blondie’s The Tide Is High. I thought that since Savannah (where Pip was staying with Granny) is on a river and on the ocean it would be easy to write a story around a high tide. Unfortunately a search for images of high tides in old Savannah got me nowhere. Horsefeathers! No inspiration there.
Next I considered the lyrics. The tide is high, but I’m holding on; I’m gonna be your number one… didn’t help either. Bushwa! I gave up and searched movies of the era, and that gave me the 1923 film Safety Last with Harold Lloyd. I saw the numbers (number one) on the clock from which he dangled, and he was certainly holding on!
That created a new problem. I needed building in 1920s Savannah, with a clock, that was high enough to risk life and limb. I did a lot of research. How could I possibly rope all that together and put Pip in the middle of it? On the level, that wasn’t easy. Applesauce… I’ll stop beating my gums. Here’s part one of two…
Pip and Holding On
The Model-T puttered down the street. Somebody laughed, hollering that it was an old flivver but it was going as fast as most of the other vehicles. I told myself that the old automobile was a breezer, as the wind ruffled my strawberry blond bob. My cloche hat might have blown off with the open vehicle, so I wore a wide beaded headband instead.
I could have gotten more speed out of the Model-T, but it was the first time Granny Phanny had let me drive the automobile without her. You can be sure she would find out if I drove too fast, and she’d have a hissy fit.
There was more traffic than you might have expected, but the population of Savannah, Georgia had more than doubled since the turn of the century. Heads turned to see me behind the wheel of an automobile. A young woman. Driving. However, I was a flapper. I guess I always will be. So, I returned their stares of shock and disdain with an impudent grin.
My passenger was tiny enough that a passing motorist might mistake her for a child. However, the countless wrinkles on her face would prove their mistake.
Miss Olive surely must be the oldest person alive, I thought for the fiftieth time.
Granny Phanny told me to take Miss Olive to the courthouse, wait for her while she attended to her business, and then drive her home. It sounded horrifically boring, but I would do just about anything for a chance to drive Granny’s cherished yellow Model-T.
It turned out Miss Olive was good company. From our brief first meeting I remembered that the elderly woman read tealeaves. Something clicked into place in my thoughts, and I thought about how Granny taught me to read tarot cards. I remembered her doing the same with tealeaves a time or two.
“Miss Olive,” I began. “Were you the one who taught my grandmother to read tealeaves?”
“Oh Paisley, I haven’t thought of that in years,” she told me with a chuckle. “I met your grandmother when she was a young’un, not long after her parents were killed in that awful tornado. She stayed with me for a time. That’s when I showed her how to read the tealeaves. She needed a distraction from her woes, and I thought it might comfort her.”
The day was bright and sunny. The shadow of a large bird caused us to look at the blue sky.
“What was that?” I pondered aloud.
“That’s a hawk,” Miss Olive replied, squinting to watch the bird. “And one of the biggest ones I’ve seen in many a year.”
We watched as it glided gracefully to alight on a railing high atop the copper dome of City Hall.
“He’ll be up there using his ‘hawk-eye’ to watch for something to eat. I guess it’s pretty slim pickins’ here in the middle of town. He might spot a rat or something,” the elderly woman remarked.
The thought gave me the heebie jeebies. I tried to suppress a shudder, but I didn’t do a very good job of it. Miss Olive gave me a sidelong look.
“That’s just nature’s way, Pip. All God’s creatures have to eat,” Miss Olive reminded me as she gazed back up at the hawk.
He spread his wings majestically as he perched atop the copper dome of Savannah City Hall.
“He sure is a beauty,” Miss Olive added.
Automobiles were parked on both sides of the palm tree lined street where the government buildings were. Savannah City Hall reigned at the end of the drive, crowned with a copper dome that glittered like gold in the sun. I imagined a stout monarch with a crown presiding over the other structures.
A motorized bicycle came up beside us. I recognized the odd-looking contraption. Hank Hertz built it himself. He honked its little horn even though I was looking right at him. I figured Hank was making a delivery from the police department to city hall. He waved and kept going.
“Well bless my old soul,” Miss Olive said. “I’ve never seen such a thing in all my days.”
For a moment I thought she was making a comment about Hank. Then I beheld what she saw on the sidewalk. It was Charlie Chilton and Chichi the trained Chihuahua. The rotund man in his pink seersucker suit and boater hat was eye-catching enough, but the tiny dog wore a ruffled dress as she pranced beside him.
End Part 1
Now for a special treat, here is a YouTube video of Safety Last! (If you are unable to access the video, I sincerely apologize.) Is it also a hint about the conclusion? Horsefeathers! I’ll let you guess.
Thanks for visiting. You really are the cat’s pajamas!
PS: Of course, I have to show you the links to the books about Pip and her friends.
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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