21

Gator Family Christmas

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Stan and Adele and their daughters Justine and Suzy are hosting the family Christmas this year. Most of the relatives from south Florida will be coming to South Carolina for the festivities. You can read about their family reunion here and here.

Justine: I’m so excited! I can’t believe Granny’s going to be here for Christmas! When are they arriving?

Adele: Your Uncle John is supposed to be driving everyone up the week before in his camper.

Suzy: What about Cousin Danny? Is he coming?

Adele: He’s in school until that Tuesday. So he’ll be coming separately.

Alligators avoid some beaches but not all

Stan: Cousin Vinny’s going to be able to get some time off from the resort for the holidays. So he and Uncle Stu will be coming separately. They won’t be staying as long.

Adele: Thank goodness! I was afraid Stu was going to try to find the house by himself, and we’d never see him again.

Justine: It is kind of scary how bad his sense of direction is. We’re friends on GatorGab. Last week, he was walking on the beach and was partway to Daytona before he realized he missed the turn into his subdivision.

Adele: We should probably start cleaning so we can get everything decorated before they get here.

Alligator basking in the sun | One of the alligators at Sant… | Flickr

Suzy: Where is everyone going to stay? Our house isn’t that big.

Stan: I’m renting a sauna. They said it feels just like southern Florida in the summer.

Justine: Oooh! That sounds nice.

Stan: And I’m going to set up a sunlamp in the basement.

Granny Gertie arrived with John, Jacob, and Norm a few days before Christmas.

Suzy: Hi Granny! Did you have a good trip?

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Granny: It was long. Your Uncle John doesn’t really believe in taking rest breaks while he’s driving. I feel stiff.

John: Mom, you’re an alligator. You always walk like that.

Norm: Besides, it would have taken forever if we had stopped every time you wanted to. You wanted to eat every time you saw a picture of food.

Granny: It all looked so delicious.

John: How are things here? Adele, the house looks amazing.

Adele: Thanks, John. We’re doing well. Today was my last day of work before the holidays. We had our big potluck.

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Justine: Mom took swamp grass cookies. They’re always a big hit.

Adele: We exchanged “Secret Santa” gifts. Here’s mine.

She held up a package of “Roadkill Helper.”

Adele: Apparently someone thinks I don’t know how to cook.

Justine: You said your Secret Santa was that goofy chameleon. He’s just afraid of you.

Stan: You did threaten to step on him once.

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Granny: Don’t worry about it dear. You can give it back to him at next year’s gift exchange. Could someone show me where we’re sleeping? I’d like to take a nap before dinner.

The visiting gators settled in. Danny arrived a few days later. Three days before Christmas, Vinny and Stu still had not arrived. Justine was scrolling through GatorGab and saw a post from Uncle Stu.

Justine: Hey, guys. Uncle Stu says that he left for South Carolina yesterday. Has anyone heard from him?

Stan: No. Does it say anything about Vinny?

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Justine: He says that he is going to pick up Vinny and head here.

Suzy: He’s picking up Vinny?

Norm: It’s supposed to be the other way around. Somebody better call Vinny.

Granny: I’ll try to reach Stu. My brother has the common sense of a pumpkin.

Granny and Stan started trying to figure out what was going on while the others paced around the house. 

Granny: Stu got bored waiting for Vinny and decided that he would go to South Miami to pick him up at the club. He says he’s north of the city at a very nice lady gator’s house.

a congregation of alligators

Stan: So Vinny can pick him up there?

Granny: He’s not sure he wants to come anymore. He thinks she might be his soul mate. I told him he’s an idiot.

Stan: Vinny wants to know what he should do.

Granny: He should pick up his idiot father and bring him to the family Christmas.

Justine: Maybe we should invite the lady gator too. Uncle Stu just changed his relationship status to “It’s Complicated” on GatorGab.

Granny Gator began to make a low growling noise deep in her throat.

Next week: Will Uncle Stu and Cousin Vinny make it to South Carolina for Christmas? (see part 2 here)

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6

There’s No Place Like Home

 

Image result for groundhog images

Mr. Groundhog was getting ready to build his den for the winter. It had been a warm autumn but cold weather was predicted.

Mr. G: Dear, would you prefer moss or dry leaves to sleep on this winter?

Mrs. G: Sorry, I wasn’t listening. What did you ask?

Mr. G: What type of bedding do you want in the winter den?

Image result for groundhog winter den

Mrs. G: We don’t need a winter den.

Mr. G: Of course we need a den. If we don’t have one, we’ll freeze to death.

Mrs. G: Don’t you remember? We’re traveling this winter.

Mr. G: We’re groundhogs. We sleep all winter.

Mrs. G: Of course we’ll sleep. We just won’t do it at home.

Mr. G: Have you been eating those old berries? You’re not making sense.

Mrs. G: Didn’t I tell you about den2den? You travel to another state and spend the winter in someone else’s den.

Image result for rabbit winter warren

Mr. G: That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. Why would I want to sleep in someone else’s den?

Mrs. G: In the spring you get to see a different part of the country.

Mr. G: Great. Foreign grass. Where did you get this wonderful idea?

Mrs. G: From Margaret. Someone told her about it.

Mr. G: Margaret’s crazy, you know. Do I have to listen to her the entire trip?

Mrs. G: As a matter of fact, you don’t.

Mr. G: Are they going somewhere different?

Mrs. G: Actually, they’re not going. Bob said it was a stupid idea and refused to sign up.

Mr. G: I knew I liked Bob. I’m not going either.

Mrs. G: It’s too late. I’ve paid in full. In fact, the shuttle will be here shortly.

(Mr. G grumbles and paces. Before too long he hears wheels.)

Image result for animals traveling cartoon

Mrs. G: C’mon dear, it’s time to go. Are you packed?

Mr. G (sarcastically): My spare fur is at the cleaner.

(They sleep for the entire trip.)

Driver: Well, here we are.

Mr. G: Where is here? I’m freezing.

Driver: Not really sure. I just follow the GPS.

Image result for gps map clipart

Mr. G: So where is this den?

Driver: Right over there.

(He points to a small opening at the bottom of a hill.)

Mr. G:That doesn’t look like a groundhog den.

(The driver looks at his printout.)

Driver: Says here it belongs to a mole.

Image result for mole animal

Mr. G: I thought it was den2den. Moles live underground. They don’t have dens.

Driver: Hmmm. Guess there was some kind of mix-up.

Mr. G: So fix it.

Driver: I’m just the driver. You need to talk to your agent.

(Mr. G looks at Mrs. G.)

Mr. G: Who’s our agent?

Mrs. G: I don’t know. I bought the booking from Margaret.

Driver: That’s against the rules. You couldn’t stay here even if you wanted to.

Mr. G (gritting his teeth): So what do we do now?

Driver: Well, let me think.

(He makes a couple of phone calls.)

Driver: The Mouse House and Rodent Inn are both full. You probably don’t want the Fox Den or Eagles’ Nest. How’s the park sound?

Image result for backyard

Mr. G: Fine. We’ll make arrangements to get home in the morning.

Mrs: Margaret told me about a great ride service. You call a number and an animal will drive you in his personal vehicle. I think I have the number on my phone.

(Mr. G glares at her.)

 

 

 

7

Write What?

I have noticed that several bloggers have written that the only way to get good at writing is to write everyday, regardless of other commitments. In fact, Ned over at Ned’s Blog went so far as to say that those of us who do not should be spanked (http://nedhickson.com/2013/11/01/regular-writing-can-shape-your-literary-thighs/). While I think this advice has more to do with Ned’s personal preferences than serious advice, the underlying advice is sound. Fortunately, a few others were a little more specific. For example, the Dysfunctional Literate talks about writing on a variety of topics (http://dysfunctionalliteracy.com/2013/10/13/5-rules-for-writing-every-day/).

What no one tells me, though, is what to write about if I really don’t have anything interesting going on in my life. Looking around, I see that some people do short stories/novellas. Since most of my (limited) spare time is spent with literature (yes,that stuff you hated reading in high school) and magazines such as National Geographic and Smithsonian, I am going to guess that my tastes in reading/writing are probably not the key to gaining more readers.

There seem to be a lot of advice columns out there. I could probably do that if I really knew anything about anything. My brain is more like Trivial Pursuit –  lots of cool facts without a lot to tie them together. I guess that hasn’t really hurt some of the people I have seen in the newspapers.

There are a lot of cooking blogs. Unfortunately, most of my cooking comes from looking around the kitchen and seeing what we have. I don’t know what it will taste like until I’m done. When I’m done, I have no way to recreate it because I didn’t measure anything and don’t really remember what I put in. I worry that there might be some kind of legal issue if I accidentally poison a stranger (no, it hasn’t happened at home).

I could write about my family. Only problem is that the humans would quit speaking to me and the cats can’t be counted on to be amusing. I could write poetry, but it really stinks. I could make fun of current events, but most of them succeed just fine doing it themselves. Same for politics. I could write about travel, except I don’t go anywhere. I don’t do photography. I draw a little, but how many plant drawings would people want to look at?

I TOLD you I was boring. Now that I think about it – maybe that has some potential.