Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Happy Valentine’s Day
Happy Valentine’s Day from Jazz Age Wednesdays here at Teagan’s Books! Awhile back I was lucky enough to do a collaboration with Fiction Favorites* author John W. Howell*. He did one of his outrageous lists of “Ten Things Not to Do” and that took me to my short story, In the Pip of Time*.
I’m happy to say that John agreed to work with me again. Reading the list that John created especially for this collaboration gave me such fun, vivid images that my story will be more than one post. However, his list will be sort of a spoiler. So I’m saving it as a treat for next week.
Anyhow, in John’s lists of things not to do, a recurring character is Tiny, the WWF champ. I thought it might be fun if Pip met a 1920s version of Tiny.
With this episode I will feature recipe links to some pos-i-lutely darb food bloggers! Be sure to check them out too.
Let’s get a wiggle on and head back to the Roaring Twenties and see how Pip came to meet Tiny.
Pip Meets Tiny — Part 1
Granny Phanny gave me one of her old hats and some red velvet ribbon. She encouraged me to get the hat “dolled up” for Valentine’s Day. It was made of pearl gray wool felt with a medium height crown and a three-inch brim. I used the velvet red ribbon to make a band and a large but neat bow for the front. It was a big change from the nearly brimless styles I preferred. However, I thought it would be fun to have something different.
I was ready to show off my hat, so I didn’t mind when Granny asked me to take care of her grocery shopping while she went to look in on Miss Olive, who had a cold.
“Pip, the wind’ll take that hat. You should have used more than one hatpin.”
“I lost the other one, Granny,” I defended myself.
“Lost it! Paisley Idelle Peabody, those things don’t grow on trees, you know,” Granny chided.
“Anyway, it’s not windy today,” I said with a smile, trying to keep her in a good mood.
Granny grunted a contradictory reply as she stopped the Model-T in front of Gilley’s Grocery.
I stumbled into a debate when I went inside. The discussion was getting rather heated. My spiffy hat would be last thing those guys would notice. Godfrey Gilley, the store owner, was getting red-faced as he defended his favorite sport, professional wrestling. Detective Dabney Daniels wouldn’t budge in his stance that it had become nothing more than modern theatrics. I rolled my eyes when Hank Hertz, Savannah’s youngest copper, tried to defend both positions.
Hank noticed my expression and tried to be nice. He tried, but it just seemed like a criticism at the time.
“Pip, you usually have two hatpins. Are you sure one is enough? My moma always uses two or three,” he told me.
Of all the nerve! I guessed I should be glad somebody at least noticed my hat. Sort of. I gave Hank a glare and he looked like he was trying to figure out how to take back his poorly chosen words.
“Pip, you’d best mind your Ps and Qs, and avoid strangers,” the copper told me. “A bunch of professional wrestling carnies are in town.”
“Professional wrestling is a legitimate sport!” Godfrey Gilley inserted hotly.
The detective cleared his throat, pointedly ignoring the store owner. Daniels and his chiseled features looked down at me, plainly dismissing my attempt to enter the conversation.
I was getting pretty miffed. Were they blind to the fact that times were changing? I was a modern woman, a flapper! As I stewed, they ran right over me and kept talking.
“As I was saying, they were supposed to pass through after one performance,” he continued, ignoring Godfrey’s sputter about the word performance. “But they’re staying longer. There will be folks around who are less than savory. So steer clear of strangers. Savannah, Georgia is not the sleepy Florida town you’re used to.”
“I hear they’re even going to have a parade!” Hank Hertz inserted excitedly. “They have a whole troop of wrestlers ― even a wrestling bear they brought all the way from Russia!
Detective Daniels frowned at his young cohort. Then he managed to include me in the grimace too.
With a glare at the detective, the grocer turned to me and spotted the list from Granny Phanny. Godfrey Gilley took the list from my hand. He read over the list. Then he appeared to have a moment of inspiration as he narrowed his eyes and gave a calculating glance at Daniels.
“I take it, Miss Phanny is making cookies?” he said and cleared his throat. “I’ll throw in this new red vegetable dye that just came in. Tell your grandmother it’s a little Valentine gift from me.”
The debate over professional wrestling seemed to have brought out a competition between the two men. Dabney Daniels made a quick scan of the table displaying sale items and picked up a heart-shaped cookie cutter.
“I’ll take this cookie cutter, but put it with Miss Phanny’s purchase,” Daniels told the grocer. “Pip, tell your grandmother it’s from me.”
“What a couple of palookas…” I muttered as I left the store.
Granny Phanny had been right about the calm wind not lasting. As the door closed behind me, a breeze caused my skirt to flit above my knees. Granny would have been scandalized, but what did it matter if a kneecap showed? I headed up the street, in the direction of Miss Olive’s. I expected to run into Granny in her Modle-T before I walked very far.
With one hand on my grocery basket and the other holding my skirt, I was unprepared for the gust of wind that caught my hat.
I knew that wider brim was a bad idea! Why didn’t I wear my favorite pink cloche hat?
The single hatpin was not sufficient to the task. The wind tore the hat from my head and it sailed away. To my astonishment, my hat flew directly into the largest man I had ever seen. I don’t know what surprised me more ― the unlikelihood of the hat blowing right to him, or his extraordinary girth. Why, he was a broad as a door and as tall as a ceiling… or at least it seemed that way in the moment.
The stranger smiled and politely handed back my hat. However, the cat had his tongue. He fumbled and muttered some words I couldn’t make out before blushing and tipping his hat. I tried to thank him, but some other men walked toward him, urging him to hurry.
Detective Daniels’ caution came back to me. I was alone and there were several unknown men walking toward me. So, I smiled and thanked him, as I continued to walk. Just then the yellow Model-T drove up, with Granny Phanny at the wheel.
She gave a friendly wave to the large stranger. That was Granny’s way, and she would expect the same of anyone else. He awkwardly tipped his hat again, that time toward her. Then his friends hurried him along.
That evening I was helping my grandmother make supper. A thud sounded from the front porch. Granny was checking the oven and asked me to go and see if anything was amiss.
When I opened the front door I found cuddly stuffed bear. A red cutout heard was pinned to the ribbon bow around his neck. Written on the heart was the old poem, “Roses are red, violets are blue. Sugar is sweet and so are you.”
“Not very original,” Granny Phanny snorted. “But a lovely, wholesome sentiment just the same.”
When I looked closer, I saw the heart was attached under the bow by two rhinestone hatpins. Then I realized that no one had signed it.
“It must be for you, Granny. Detective Daniels and Mr. Gilley both sent you something with ingredients I picked up for your cookies.”
My grandmother gave me a long suffering look. She muttered a denial. Then she hustled me back to the kitchen. Granny Phanny was determined to make me learn to cook.
End Part 1
Thanks to our sensational chef bloggers for sharing their tasty Valentine treats!
You will surely want to share these sweet desserts with your sugar. Check out these treats and more recipes from Kathryn “Another Foodie Blogger,” Gerlinde “The Sunny Cove Chef,” and Suzanne at “A Pug in the Kitchen.”
Ya’ll are pos-i-lutely the cat’s pajamas for visiting.
Now, for that shameless self-promotion… Here are 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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