Rewind – Three Things Episodes 26 – 28

Welcome back to the “rewind” of the first serial I did here at Teagan’s 1916 ToastingBooks.  The timing of the rerun of Episode-26 is serendipitous. In the original introduction I mentioned one of my friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico and some of the self-teaching she has done to learn about medical things, in order to help her family.  Just a few days ago I got wonderful news from her. You see, her husband underwent a very risky medical procedure. A long recovery time was ahead, even more so because of his very poor health. Yet he has left the doctors with their jaws dropped to their knees because of how fast he came around.

So dear readers, here’s to your health this holiday season!  

Ah, my foodie friends — I have not forgotten you!  Since I just made a toast, of sorts… that’s all it took to have me thinking of champagne.  So I’m giving a shout-out to lovely Suzanne at A Put in the Kitchen and pointing you to a tantalizing recipe she did this summer.  It features champagne grapes!  Click the title and check out this amazing dish!

Champagne Grape Galette with Whipped Goat Cheese

Now let’s get a wiggle on with this rewind.

 

Introduction to Episode-26

St. Joseph Sanitarium, Albuquerque, NM; 1920's

St. Joseph Sanitarium, Albuquerque, NM; 1920’s

I’m privileged to have a dear friend whom I also think of as a mentor.  For the majority of her life she has given huge effort to educating herself about complex medical issues that have touched the lives of her loved ones.  That truly amazing woman sent today’s set of “things” and as usual, my mind went to unexpected turns with our 1920’s serial, Three Things.

I confess that it took me a little while to work my way to angiogram!  However, it was enlightening, educational, and fun.  Be sure to check out the story that I did not tell, by clicking on the link near the end for Werner Forssmann.  It’s pretty amazing.

26.  Angiogram, Burglary, Cockroach

Countess Babikov was utterly fascinated with Pear the hedgehog.  She had pulled both Mona hedgehog in handsand me into conversation.  However, I still noticed when John Ringling covertly motioned to Frankie and they began a quiet little exchange on the other side of the room.

The fireman looked over at me.  Oh, he was hiding something; that was for sure.  Frankie was about as obvious as a cockroach going after a plate of leftovers.  But he pretended nonchalance.  His long legs took him across the cabin in two strides.  Frankie excused himself and put his hand on the lovely wood of the door.  Then he turned back and I saw the glint of an idea in his eyes.

He moved to the countess who was still on the sofa with the tattered quilt over her lap.  “Here ma’am,” Frankie said bending down.  “Let me take this dirty old thing and get you a nicer blanket.  Something that smells nice and fresh.”

The circus magnate’s eyebrow shot up and his lips pursed.  I could tell that Frankie had just done something unexpected.  Ringling seemed to guess what the young man had in mind.  But I couldn’t imagine what he was up to!

After a moment, the millionaire left briefly and returned with a soft wool blanket.  He carefully placed it over the white-haired woman.  I asked him where Frankie had gone.  I felt a sudden pang of worry.  First 1920s 4_guys_carthere’d been a shooting with the countess being abducted.  Then the same night a burglary at Boris’ place.  Now the older woman was safe and sound, but the kidnappers were still free.  And I had a hunch they wouldn’t be satisfied with the payoff John Ringling gave them for very long.  I felt worried thoughts taking a firm hold on my mind.  My face must have showed it too.

“Don’t fret,” the millionaire told me with a tight smile.  “He’s going with a few of my men to fetch Boris.”

That statement got a pleased response from Countess Bepa.  She had taken Pear out of his lunch pail and held him in her lap, but her eyes were looking sleepy.  I thought the brandy was finally kicking in, and silently blessed the millionaire for skirting prohibition and having that kind of hooch on hand.

I wasn’t very pleased with this turn of events.  I should have gone with them to get Boris.  He hardly knew Frankie.  The retired dancer would feel less threatened if I was there.  I started to protest, but I already knew that somebody would tell me that it might be dangerous and that it was no place for a woman.  Now, I ask you — what self-respecting flapper could sit still for that?  However, a glance at the countess silenced me.  I didn’t want her to hear the word “danger” in the same sentence with “Boris.”

Ringling deftly changed the subject by complimenting Mona, and it quickly turned into a discussion of her acting career.  “My dear, you move with a natural grace,” he told the brunette.  “Have you ever worked on the trapeze?”1920s circus acrobats

While Mona replied animatedly, I looked out the porthole at the strangest sight.  Flavio and two men I hadn’t seen before got onto the old fire truck.  Even at a distance I could see that Frankie’s cousin still didn’t feel well.  One of the men helped him up onto the truck.  The really strange thing was what appeared to be a very large old woman hunched over a cane and hobbling along with two burly men.  They got into a sedan and sped away.  I couldn’t see what the woman looked like because she was huddled in an old quilt.

Then I turned an accusing look on Ringling.  That quilt was the same one the countess had been using.  And it had to be Frankie under it.  Was Frankie setting himself up to lure out the villains?

The circus magnate shot me a silencing glare and pointedly looked at the countess.  I could tell he was concerned about her, so I held my piece.  The white-haired woman was dozing quietly with the little hedgehog snuggled in the blanket.  Mona looked at them fondly.  She seemed to have had an instant rapport with the older woman.

“Why don’t you young ladies go enjoy the party for awhile,” Ringling suggested kindly.

Mona and I softly closed the cabin door behind ourselves.  As we approached the room where I had found the microscope, I heard male voices escalate.  One had a German accent.  We paused at the open door because we were so startled.  A bunch of brainy looking guys sat around the table.  The one with the German accent waived his arms in frustration.

“Calm down Werner,” another man said to him.  The guy on the other side of him said in a calm voice, “Dr. Forssmann, we know your ideas are scientifically sound.  But you know everything has to be properly tested.  Things involving the heart even more so.”

The German didn’t look as upset as he sounded, but he was still intense.  He vowed to everyone at the table, “I will create a true angiogram even if I have to insert a catheter into my arm myself, and pass it into my own heart!”

Werner Forssmann copyMona and I exchanged startled looks.  A young man in waiter’s clothes came up behind us.  “Don’t worry ladies,” he said as he adjusted his uniform.  “The German doctor isn’t as frightening as he sounds right now.  Werner Forssmann has ideas that sound like something Edgar Rice Burroughs would dream up.  But the others say he’s a real pioneer of medicine.”

“I don’t know…” Mona said to the waiter’s back as he went into the cabin to check on the group of men.  “He sounds like he really means to do… whatever he was talking about.  Good golly, that’s a lot of science talk!”

I had to agree with Mona.  It sounded like the German meant to do some very risky procedure on himself, just to prove it would work.  Mona and I retreated to the yacht’s deck.  Neither of us wanted to get into that conversation.

***

Introduction to Episode-27: A flash back to a past NaNoWriMo

Atonement TennesseeWith National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in full swing, I’m indulging myself with today’s set of three things.  When I wrote my NaNoWriMo 2012 winning novel, Atonement, Tennessee, I was somewhat influenced by the style of Charlaine Harris  — particularly her “Southern Vampire” series, sometimes referred to as the Sookie Stackhouse books.  While Atonement is very different from the books Ms. Harris writes, (and there are no vampires) I believe that if you enjoyed those, you will also like Atonement, Tennessee.

Even though it has nothing to do with the 1920’s, these three things are a nod to Charlaine Harris and the Southern Vampire series of books.  I took them from the first line of the first book in her series.  As always, you can do catch-up reading at the page where the entire Three Things Serial story lives.  And now… Cover of "Dead Until Dark (Southern Vampi...Three Dead Until Dark Things

27.  Vampire, Years, Walked

“I’d been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar…”

I couldn’t help being worried about Frankie.  Two of the men who worked for Mr. Ringling returned with a very uncertain looking Boris.  Or at least that’s how he looked until he saw his babushka.  It was a very touching reunion.  Mona and I both dabbed tears from our eyes.

But there was clearly more to the story of Boris being separated from his grandmother.  It had to be connected to her abduction… and not to forget that bent key.  The entire situation could be something that had been brewing for years.

However, the other two men and Frankie didn’t come back with the ones who brought the retired ballet dancer.  The last time I saw the fireman he was disguised as an old woman, wrapped in a tattered quilt.  He even walked with a cane to complete the ruse.

G-men PosterFinally I saw the sedan roll up.  Ringling’s two men were in the front seat, and a couple of other mugs were in back.  They weren’t moving.  Then to my astonishment, Andy — our little Astronaute man drove up in his Studebaker with Frankie and the Fabro cousins.  Flavio and the twins, Fedel and Frediano were squeezed into the back seat.  The twins jumped out and ran to help Ringling’s men pull two bound and gagged men from the sedan.  They looked like the same ones who had hurried away from the yacht after the circus magnate paid them a ransom for Countess Babikov.  They were a couple of blood suckers alright.  Regular vampires.

The young man in a waiter’s uniform that Mona and I had seen hours earlier was at Mr. Ringling’s elbow.  “Get to one of the radios, please.  Call the G-men.  Tell them I have a present for them.”

***

Introduction to Episode-28

Today is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.   As a long time “whovian” I had to give a nod to the BBCA Doctor Who 50th Anniversarytelevision show, because it is sublime.  If any of you are not familiar with this phenomenon, it is a BBC science fiction television series about a “time lord,” known as The Doctor.  He travels in what looks like a blue police box called the TARDIS.  The sound this time machine makes reminds me of a dragon coughing.  Apparently in the early days the series didn’t have a lot of funds for special effects.  However, I loved the old campy episodes with their low budget special effects.

“Doctor Who?” you might ask.  My favorite Doctor has always been the fourth incarnation, Tom Baker.   The late Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor, is dear to me as well.  If you like vintage fashions from the early 1970’s you should take a look at some of those episodes.

So today I give you three things supplied by Provincial Lady that I have just taken the liberty of turning into…

Three Doctor Who Things

28. Sublime, Dragon, Funds

Willie Garson

Willie Garson as Andy

Boris leaned on Andy heavily as they boarded the yacht.  As they got closer I noticed cuts and bruises on the faces of both men.  Poor Mona looked like she didn’t know which way to turn.  She was as conflicted as ever over the two Russian.  She fluttered around, trying to help.  Mr. Ringling sent for a doctor.

Countess Babikov sat back down looking like she was still a bit dizzy.  I picked up the blanket Ringling had brought earlier and tucked it around her lap.  Everything on the yacht was luxurious, even the blanket.  It was soft to the touch and embroidered with a Chinese dragon.  A thought suddenly popped into my mind — the bent key.  It had some kind of design engraved on it, but it was distorted by the damage to the key.  Could it have been a dragon?

The expression in Countess Bepa’s eyes was sublime as she looked at her grandson.  Something seemed to have been settled between grandmother and grandson just with that eye contact.  She was gracious, despite her own injuries and calmly asked for introductions.  By then all the Fabro boys were onboard as well.

“Pip dear, who are these fine young men?” she asked and I supplied all the “F” names of the Fabro brood.

They were all polite, even Andy.  Our poor little Astronaute man, who was so sweet on Mona watched sadly as Mona tended a cut over the Russian’s eye.  However, when I introduced him to John Ringling, his face lit up.  I gave a glowing description of the science fiction stories Andy liked to write.  The next thing I knew, Andy boldly pitched an idea to the circus magnate.  I was stunned, because I had never heard of anything like what he described.

“It’s a kind of advertisement, Mr. Ringling.  A very short film clip… of course staring Mona,” Andy said with a glance at the brunette and a blush.  “It could be shown just before a film.  Imagine this if you will…  A young woman sits on a swing, day dreaming of performing on the trapeze at the circus.  Then the film segues through a fog, and then shows a brief clip of one of your trapeze acts.”

I was fascinated by the idea.  Everyone had gotten quiet. Ca d Zan-1

Andy offered a bit of encouragement.  “The funds required to produce it would be minimal.”

The circus millionaire gave Andy a blank look and I was half afraid he might throw Andy off the yacht.  But then he tilted his head to one side, looked from Andy to Mona and pursed his lips as he studied the two.

“Oh, why not,” said Ringling.  “Now that I have Bepa and Boris both safely onboard I’m ready to go back to Ca’ d’Zan.  You could come with me and we’ll film this advertisement there,” he said.  Then he spread his arms wide and added, “All of you could come.  There’s plenty of room.”

You should have seen the look on Andy’s face!

***

Tune in again next week as this rewind continues. Same flapper time; same flapper channel.

 

Copyright © 2013 – 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.

Three Ingredients Serial – 6: Turnips, Parsnips, Juniper Berries

Episode 6 dog cat copyA truly remarkable friend in Albuquerque supplied the “ingredients” for this episode.  Clever of her to think of juniper berries and how they relate to the 1920’s and prohibition! That’s how you drive the story.

I’m delighted to have all of you readers behind the wheel, steering this mystery with the ingredients you send.  And they’re coming from all over.  When Episode-7 comes around, the food-related things will be from the UK.  So stay tuned for that one.

Remember all the previous episodes live at the serial’s homepage.  And now, Episode-6…

6.  Turnips, Parsnips, Juniper Berries

I found Granny Fanny at the far end of her back yard.  The lot was a long fenced-in rectangle.  What looked like ordinary bushes at that time of year would blossom to reveal azaleas and forsythia in warmer months.  Granny and Cinnamon Bun were gathering turnip greens and some turnips.  I think she mostly took the turnips the huge rabbit dug up.  He was clearly enjoying himself.

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell

“Now Cinnamon Bun, you’d better eat the next turnip you dig up,” she happily chided the bunny.  “And I don’t mean just nibble at it.  I don’t think you really like eating them, but you’re having a grand old time digging them up!”

She stood when she saw me.  “Pip, you’re a sight in those boy’s clothes!”  The good natured scolding switched focus to me for the Levis and flannel shirt I wore.  “And muddy taboot,” she added.

Then she smiled fondly.  “So how was the little foal?  Did you have a nice time with Doc and Missus Vale?” she asked.  “It’s a good clip out to that farm.  Did you and Veronica get to chat much?”

I nodded and smiled.  Did we ever!  It had been Granny’s idea that I go with the veterinarian and his wife when he called to check up on the foal he delivered.  It was born the day Detective Daniels and I found the parrot, Cracker, in the dead man’s room, so the vet wasn’t available to take the bird.  Granny wanted me to get to know the veterinarian’s wife.  She said that if I was bound to be an independent woman, then I should get to know the real deal.

1920s woman scientist-microscope“Yes, it was a nice drive,” I told her, and went into detail about the charming little foal, and what an accomplished and remarkable woman Veronica Vale was.

Veronica told me that for many years she worked at the South London Hospital for Women and Children.  Of course it was in England, but even more interesting, it had an all-woman staff.  Then Veronica retired and went back home to Savannah.  She met the widowed Vincent and partnered with him in his veterinary practice, doing what she called “lab work” with microscopes and other scientific things that I had never been around.  I had only touched a microscope one time.  I thought doing that kind of work must be the cat’s meow.

In turn I told the Vales about the man who turned up dead at the local premier of the movie “Night of the Killer Clam.”  I told them how strange I thought it was for him to have cilantro bits all over his shoes.  Doc Vale shrugged and looked puzzled.  Veronica seemed more interested as he drove.  “They still don’t know what killed the man?” she asked as the car puttered along.

I shook my head, and Mrs. Doctor Vale… or Doctor Mrs. Vale… Oh applesauce!  I didn’t know what title to give the woman.  She told me to call her Veronica, so I did.  Anyhow she looked at me conspiratorially and said she’d talk to Detective Daniels and see if she could get any samples to look at under her microscope.Turnip greens label

“I’m glad you had a good time,” Granny said, bringing me back to the present moment.  She looked pleased.  “Dabney Daniels is coming by to get some of these greens.  We’ve got more than we can use.  People who want catering don’t seem to eat turnip greens,” she added.

With a shooing motion she sent me inside to change clothes.  Granny didn’t think it was proper for a young woman to go around in trousers unless it was for a specific labor-related purpose.  They were acceptable for the “barn call” to see the new foal, but not if a visitor was coming to the house.

Detective Daniels arrived just as I put on a headband I had bought at a boutique in downtown Savannah.  It was a little plain (I wanted one with rhinestones) but it was pretty.  I noticed a little 1922_Saturday_Evening_Postflower arrangement Granny had set on the drop-leaf table in the parlor.  It had Cherokee roses and several stems of juniper.  I broke off a sprig with berries and tucked it into my headband to jazz it up.

“What’s that in your hair?” Daniels greeted me when I opened the door.

“Hello to you too,” I said.

“What are those,” he repeated.  The man was like a bulldog; single minded.  “Juniper berries?” he asked then chuckled.  “You’ll have me thinking Granny Fanny has gotten into bootlegging,” he commented and I looked a question at him.  “Don’t tell me you don’t know…  Okay, playing innocent, I see.”

I crossed my arms and raised one eyebrow at him.  “Detective Daniels, whatever are you talking about?”

He sighed and muttered that maybe I really didn’t know.  “Juniper berries are used in making gin,” he informed me.

Then a mischievous twinkle lit his eyes.  I had not seen that playful side of the policeman, and I rather liked it.  “Do I need to check the bathtub to make sure this establishment is not turning into a speakeasy?” he joked.  “Is there bathtub gin on the premises?”

“If Granny is making gin, then I sure don’t know where Cat_menu_Episode-6 copyshe’s hiding it!” I laughed.

“What do you mean, making gin?” Granny said as she walked into the room.

I could have sworn there was a guilty blush on her face.  I wondered if Granny really did have a stash of hooch somewhere.  She cleared her throat and deftly changed the subject.  “Dabney, Pip and I are about to sit down to some lamb and parsnip stew.  And I have some greens and cornbread to go with it.  Won’t you join us?”

The detective licked his lips just as his stomach growled.  I knew the answer to that question without having to hear it.

***

Lamb & Parsnip Stew

Credit:  The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Yield:  Makes 4 servings.

2 pounds cubed lamb

2 medium onions, quartered

2-1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large carrots, scraped and sliced

8 small parsnips, scraped and sliced

1 bay leaf

Brown lamb in a large stewpot, then add onions and sauté.  Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer for up to 2 hours.  Remove bay leaf before serving.  Juices can be thickened with flour or mashed potato to make gravy, if desired.

***

Tune in again next week.  Same flapper time, same flapper channel.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or from Pinterest unless stated otherwise.