Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blizzard in a Bottle

I remember the blizzard of ’88 – it arrived one afternoon in March just as I was bringing Bleb into the barn. It blew in so fast that his tail froze before he could get inside. It froze my shadow to the outside wall, too, and if there hadn’t been an axe nearby I’d have been there until spring. Luckily my wife had just burnt a pan of cornbread; I was able to pull myself into the house by grabbing the smoke that had drifted out of the kitchen window.

Now some folks think the storm of ’88 was just Mother Nature reminding everyone who was boss, but I believe it was caused by a misapplication of Wizard Water©.

I am occasionally asked if Wizard Water© can do anything about the weather. Of course it can. Fill a bottle with snow, add a few drops of concentrated Wizard Water©, seal the contents tightly and store it in a dark place such as your root cellar. Come summer, tie the bottle to a kite. When the bottle is nearly out of sight, shoot it. The winds will scatter snow over the landscape below, and the summer heat will melt the snow into a welcome shower. The drawback to this is that you cannot always control where the rain will fall. I once tried selling this product to farmers as a weather aid, but after accidentally flooding a church decided not to pursue the matter.

However, early in the spring of ’88 I had not yet reached that conclusion, and sold a case of my product for weather-related purposes to an aeronaut. This gentleman made his living demonstrating feats of daring from a hot air balloon. He was tired of jumping from the balloon and hoped Wizard Water© would lead to a safer and more lucrative source of income. The last I saw of him, he was eagerly filling bottles during a snow flurry and storing them in the basket of his balloon.

The blizzard hit just a week after I sold him the case of Wizard Water©. The gentleman travelled from town to town in his balloon, the better to advertise his craft and gather a crowd, and I strongly suspect that he met with some misfortune while in the air. Perhaps a flock of geese upset the basket; perhaps the balloon’s kerosene stove exploded. Whatever occurred released an inordinate amount of concentrated, wind-infused snow and cold air into the atmosphere.

Folks still talk about that storm. If you were outside, your words would freeze as soon as they left your mouth. Rooster calls and dog barks were only audible at high noon when the sun defrosted things a little. Train whistles couldn’t be heard in a timely manner, so conductors had to signal their arrival with fireworks. The bursts stayed suspended in the air, though, and kept everyone awake at night. Milk cows started giving ice cream. We noticed a new eagle ornament atop the town hall but later in the spring it flew off. By the time I got inside our kitchen that afternoon, the chimney was so choked with frozen smoke that we had to use a shotgun to clear it out. The storm lasted for a week, and every few hours we’d have to clear out the chimney again. At noon the air was full of the sound of roosters, dogs, fireworks and gun blasts.

This is why I no longer advertise Wizard Water©’s weather-inducing properties. I advise others against using it for such purposes, too. If you do, use it inside so as not to disturb your neighbors.

copyright ©2010 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Cure for Which There is No Disease

cookpots over fireI have also recently developed a cure for which I have not yet discovered the ailment. One needs only a large soup pot and the following ingredients: a pint of strong coffee, an armful of macerated tobacco leaves, one tablespoon of kerosene, a rusty nail, and at least two pints of liquified, fermented corn which has been aged a minimum of 24 hours. Heat all to boiling and dissolve into the mixture two drops of Wizard Water©, preferably during a full moon (to increase the potency). Once the mixture has cooled, drink it in its entirety, with molasses or licorice if necessary to mask the odd flavor.

I’m sure this cures something, I just don’t know what yet. If you try it and feel better, let me know what your problem was.

copyright ©2011 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Cure for the Uncommon Cold

Poor Wand'ring One - Pirates of PenzanceAn uncommon cold is any cold that does not follow the usual course that a common cold follows. If you sneeze and have a sore throat, you have some form of the common cold. Treat it as I have earlier recommended. If you sneeze and have a sore throat, see purple spots swirling before your eyes and find yourself singing choruses of “Poor Wand’ring One”, you likely have an uncommon cold.

To treat the uncommon cold, give a quart of the purest distilled corn product you can get to the ornieriest beast you know – bull, goat, cowhand or mother-in-law – and lock yourself in a small room with the creature after he or she has swallowed the entire gift. Stay there for at least an hour, or until you feel your life is in danger. Upon your release you will have overcome the urge to sing annoying songs, be able to ignore spots of any temperament, and realize that there are worse things than having an uncommonly bad cold. Thus, you will feel much better. Alternatively, you can continue singing -- but be prepared to wake up in a mail sack hanging outside a train station.

copyright ©2010 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Signs of Rough Weather

When my wife noted in early August how thick the onion skins and corn husks were, I did not suspect that we were in for a rough winter. “You will have to start shucking the corn,” she told me, “because I just can’t pull the husks off. And if you wouldn’t mind, please get the axe and chop up a few onions.” I thought that she had been adding Wizard Water© to her garden, but she swore that she knew better than to do that.

“A hard winter’s coming,” she said. “Haven’t you noticed how wooly the caterpillars are, and what a thick coat Bleb has put on?” I didn’t believe her. Later that month when I found several pounds of acorns in the wagon, I figured someone was playing a practical joke. “No, it is squirrels with foresight,” declared my wife. “Now just you watch the spiderwebs. If they are extra large, and if the crickets come into the kitchen before the first frost, we’re in for some harsh weather for sure.”

“Pah. Old wives’ tales,” I said, and threw the acorns into the pig trough.

I finally had to admit she was right, though, when the pigs started building a chimney. By the time I noticed, they’d gotten as high as the fence post.

“Those pigs will be more comfortable than us,” scolded my wife. “What will you do when you can’t drive the wagon because the roads are iced over? You will sit in this cold house with me, and I will remind you every day of all that you could have done.”

Let it never be said that I can’t adapt quickly. I went right to work. We have a new fireplace now on the north side of the house, and the attic is double-insulated. Still my wife complains. She says she was looking forward to bacon and ham this winter, and I had no right to promise the pigs a room in the basement in exchange for moving their project. Also, acorns keep dropping through cracks in the ceiling.

I tell her to feed them to the houseguests below.

copyright ©2010 Laurie J. Anderson, all rights reserved.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Mountain Music & Medicine Show Returns for the New Year

John MusslewhiteWell, the sheriff was kind enough to let me set up the wagon in Dahlonega again last night and, judging by the audience's reaction, he had no reason to be sorry. Miss Maggie Mae Robinson and young Aaron Covert, neither yet out of grade school, had the crowd cheering for their fiddling and singing; The Musslewhite family -- mom Cindy on guitar/mandolin, Morgan on fiddle, Molly on banjo, Luke on mandolin, and John on bass fiddle -- thrilled everyone with their heartfelt old-time style;

Fool's Gold

Fool's Gold's hard-driving instrumentals had the crowd stomping and clapping; Mist on the Mountain worked their usual magic and the Solstice Sisters' three-part harmony was pure tonic to one and all.

The Solstice Sisters and friendsThe Solstice Sisters' sound was so health-inducing, in fact, that during rehearsal some of the fried chicken that Mrs. Smith provides to the cast and crew reverted to its pre-fried state and ran away, and during the show Woodrow Park's cane started dancing by itself. I have tried to figure out how to bottle that sound, but so far without success. I will keep trying however, so expect to see them and our other guests asked back (just in case it was a matter of overall chemistry).

Mist on the MountainSpeaking of being asked back, I plan to return to Dahlonega again in March, even though the sheriff hasn't insisted on this. I have learned from past experience that it is wiser not to wait for the sheriff to insist on anything.

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