Easy Easter Tidbits – WIF Holidays

Leave a comment

 Easter  is

More Interesting

Than Just

Chocolate

As holidays go, Easter is a strange one. We’re here today to look at Easter’s origins, and how it’s celebrated around the world. Just make sure to keep some chocolate on standby in case of cravings.

10. The Name

easter1

We know that Christmas is a combination of “Christ” and “Mass,” and we also know that Halloween comes from “All hallow-even.” But where does Easter come from?

By far the most prolific explanation comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility known as Eostre. The goddess had 10 variants of her name, including Ostara, Eostur and Austron — which made adding her as a contact on your phone a nightmare — but it’s agreed that the root of her name comes from “eastre,” meaning “spring.” This was adopted and used as a Christian celebration. Despite the fact that this is one of the top explanations, there’s a lot of debate over whether Eostre was even an actual goddess worshipped by people. You know, just to confuse you further.

9. The Rabbit

easter2

Out of all the animals to be designated as the one who delivers chocolate eggs, why a rabbit? The tradition definitely has a back story, but which story you get depends on who you ask. There have been several claims for the origin of the iconic rabbit, and they span different religions and traditions.

One theory states that the Easter Bunny originated from our friend Eostre. The story goes that, once upon a time, Eostre stumbled upon a bird dying from the cold in the snow. She turned the bird into a hare, so that its fluffy coat kept it warm and safe. Because it was once a bird, it still laid eggs, so the rabbit decorated them and left them as gifts to Eostre for saving its life. This is also an explanation for the Easter egg hunt — looking for the eggs that the bird-rabbit hid. Although stealing gifts from a goddess is probably not the best idea.

Another story states that the Easter Bunny came about because, once upon a time, people believed that rabbits were hermaphrodites, making them able to give birth without losing their virginity. This has strong ties to the virgin birth of Jesus from Mary, so people began to relate rabbits to them. Some churches even sport a three hare motif, consisting of three hares connected by their ears running in a circle, a potential symbol of the Holy Trinity. However, these have been found all over the world, and their true meaning is unknown.

A third story points a finger to the first record of the Easter Rabbit in De ovis paschalibus, a German book that translates to About the Easter Egg. It states that the tradition had existed in the Christian-dominated Alsace, carried over to America with German immigrants in the 1700s, and sparked the annual chocolate gluttony ever since. There’s been no historic record yet that says people waited a day later to get eggs much cheaper, though.

8. Semana Santa

IMG_3717

Now that we’ve tackled the myths and legends behind Easter, we can look at the events that take place around the world leading up to, and on, the holy day. One is Semana Santa, held within cities across Spain.

Semana Santa means Holy Week, the period leading up to Easter Sunday. In it, all shops and stores except restaurants close, and the entire city is transformed.55 different churches take part in the festival, parading large floats that resemble Jesus in some way. The floats make their way from their church of origin to the cathedral, and then back again. While a sombre celebration, it’s one that draws tourists from all over the world to see its magnificence.

7. The Epitáphios Threnos

easter4

The Epitáphios Threnos is a tradition in Greek Orthodox religions that’s held on Good Friday. It means Lamentation at the Tomb, and is in essence a funeral service to respect the death of Jesus by re-enacting the way he was buried after his crucifixion. The Epitáphios Threnos takes place in churches, where an epitaphios is placed atop something representing the tomb of Christ. The epitaphios is a highly-adorned piece of cloth that represents the shroud Jesus was wrapped in. The tomb is decorated with flower petals and rosewater before hymns are spoken. Interactions with this tomb vary depending on tradition — some will hold it over the church entrance so that believers pass under it, a symbol of entering the grave alongside Christ.

6. Easter Ham

easter5

A prolific theory behind the Easter ham resides in Christianity. The story states that a wicked queen named Ishtar gave birth to a son called Tammuz. This son would become a hunter, but his career was cut short when he was killed by a wild pig. Presumably out of spite, and maybe with a love for bacon mixed in, Ishtar designated a Sunday on which people consumed pig.

Another theory states that, while lamb was usually the go-to dish for its symbolism with Passover, ham would be used because pigs were considered a symbol of good luck. Killing and eating symbols of good luck seems to be a bad idea, but at least it got ham on the table.

Another source gives a more practical approach. Before the invention of refrigeration, pigs were slaughtered in the fall and preserved during winter. Should some of the meat not be consumed during the winter months, it would be cured so it could be eaten during springtime. When did the curing finish?Around Easter, making it an ideal dish for the season. It’s a less exciting origin, but it makes good sense.

5. Maundy Money

easter6

In the United Kingdom, a select few people are given money the day before Good Friday. These coins, known as Maundy Money, have a long history. It began when Jesus gave the command “that ye love one another” after he washed the feet of his disciples, who probably felt they could get used to that sort of treatment. This became a fourth century tradition where the poor have their feet washed and are given clothes. This stopped around the eighteenth century, and was replaced by an allowance to give the poor the chance to buy food and clothing. Thus was born the Maundy Money.

Today, a selection of elders receive a red and white purse. The red one contains legal currency, while the white one contains special symbolic Maundy coins. These people are selected by the amount of Christian service they have performed, so if you see some senior citizens suddenly taking a great interest in the church and goodwill approaching Easter, now you know why.

4. Pysanka Eggs

Mixed Eggs

Painting eggs on Easter is always fun. But it doesn’t have to be child’s play — the Ukrainian Easter tradition of Pysanka eggs are a craft all by themselves. These highly-decorated eggs have been made during Holy Week for generations. Even when Easter is nowhere near, people can’t resist making them. While people once made eggs to ensure fertility and avoid fires and nasty spirits, today they take to the art form for the aesthetic allure.

How do Pysanka eggs differ from regular ones? The preparation, mostly. After designing a pattern on an uncooked or empty egg, it’s then dipped in a colored dye. Between the dyeing stages, the craftsman draws patterns on the egg with wax, so as to seal the color currently on the egg and create the intricate patterns you see on the final product. In short, if the rabbits you paint on Easter eggs end up looking like the one out of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, perhaps consider purchasing Pysanka eggs instead.

3. Haux Omelets

easter8

After a busy Easter, it’s easy to imagine that people are sick to death of anything based around eggs. It would be a good idea for them to stay away from Haux in France, whose Easter traditions are just dying to have egg-based puns written about them. Every year on Easter Monday, the residents create a large omelet. This isn’t the kind of large omelet you get when you drop a box of eggs on the floor — it’s not unheard of for the final result to come in at three yards wide to feed 1,000 people. One year’s omelet saw 5,211 eggs, 21 quarts of oil, and 110 pounds of bacon, onion and garlic, which sure beats what you get at Denny’s. You could even call it eggstreme, if you wanted us to come over there and smack you.

2. Passion Plays

Vilagers take part in an Easter Passion Play re-enacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday at Gantang Village near Magelang, in the province of Central Java

One of the longest running traditions of Easter is the Passion Play. Because a lot of people in medieval times couldn’t read, plays were a great way to educate the masses about the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. There are passion plays held all over the world, but one of the most famous is the Oberammergau Passion Play. Its roots began during the black plague, when the residents of Oberammergau were on high alert to keep the disease out. A farmer coming home from a nearby village brought the plague back with him, which killed one-fifth of the town. With the disease ravaging the town, the elders declared that the church would hold a passion play every 10 years in exchange for God’s blessing and protection (you’d think they’d try every 10 days considering the circumstances, but whatever). The play has been performed every 10 years since 1633, with only a ban in 1770, World War I, and World War II stopping three shows. Thankfully, no outbreaks of plague happened on those years.

1. The Britannia Coco-Nut Dancers

easter10

If you’re discussing what you do on Easter with a friend, and they reveal that what they love most about it is the part where people with blackened faces perform a folk dance down the streets, you may have just met someone from Bacup, England. Every Easter, The Britannia Coco-Nut Dancers, or Nutters, perform a folk dance from one town boundary to the other. What makes these dancers unique is their blackened faces, but no one is sure of their origins. It might be from medieval times to hide the faces of those who participated to stop evil spirits from getting their revenge, or it may have ties to the mining industry. Either way, the custom has come under fire for its potential racist nature, with the Nutters swearing that the blackened faces have no racial aspect whatsoever. Like every dispute around Easter, we hope this one can be solved with chocolate.


Easy Easter Tidbits

WIF Holidays

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 274

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 274

…Whatever the season, whatever the reason, this is a joyful moment in the extensive history of Eridanus…

… Back at the wedding “party” and ever the prankster, Sampson insists Fortän judge the liquidLoudmouth Soup refreshment that has loosened the collar of more than one celebrator. She liked it so much that she requested a whole glass and when the brew hit home, it would be hard to get a word in edgewise.

She is quite lucid, in an entertaining sort of way, allowing a real personality to shine through. Mental perfection is quite a narrow path to take and sometimes it takes a little lubrication to expose one’s humanoid-ity.

Whatever the season, whatever the reason, this is a joyful moment in the extensive history of Eridanus {which spans countless millennia} and an untold story for a planet {Earth which is an infant by comparison} which could use some good news for a change —

— Having Ekcello wrapped around her pinkie finger, Celeste has a major role in arranging the ceremony that sets the cements her son and his daughter for all time… which to her surprise is Weddingdirectly, yes sometime BEFORE childbirth. She does not question the time-honored Eridanian ritual rather she injects as many tasteful Earthly touches as possible, for the comfort of her clan.

Probably the most enduring custom, that of having a Maid-of-Honor and Best Man, is a lock-down must. On the guy side, Gussy is the obvious choice, with Sampson a close second. Cerella chooses another heiress, from a towered city on the other side of the planet, who is as close to a best friend as things go here. She and Zina were born in the same century and as personal contact goes; their minds seem to be tuned to the same tune. —


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 274


page 243

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 246

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 246

CHAPTER 10.5

Company is Coming

…Cerella has made the enormous effort to master her verbal English, to be able to express herself to Eridanus’ newest visitors, whose spaceship is slowing down…

#Do you think your sons will be pleased with their living quarters?# asks Cerella in an apprehensive pitch, totally ignoring that other brother Gus will be along.

“I don’t see why they would not. You have spent the last half of the eclipse solstice getting things just right.” Celeste McKinney is using the spoken word to communicate with the heiress to the High Counsel of Eridanus. Cerella has made the enormous effort to master her verbal English, to be able to express herself to the two newest visitors, whose spaceship is slowing down, while their bodies are slowly speeding up to a new reality.

#What is Deke’s favored nourishment?# Ever since that out-of-body rescue, Cerella seems to have developed a schoolgirl fascination with the Deker.

“Well, for one thing you don’t have cows here Cerella, that’s a big roadblock. My boys were raised on Texas beef.” It is difficult to describe animals that are raised for food. “And secondly, you should replicate that illustration recipe for – you know – pizza.”

Cerella probes Celeste’s mind for the description of this strange combination of ingredients: a flat crust topped by layers of tomato sauce, cheese, and meats on a meat-less world. And woe be to the tomato-less culture, not to mention that it’s not easy being cheesy {without milk}.

“Not to worry my friend, I have been working on a facsimile of a good pie,” assures an anxiously awaiting mother.

#Pie. I can make a fingusberry pie#

“I will take care of feeding them. You handle the hospitality.”

— As inherently different Cerella is from her peers here on Eridanus, particularly her angelically beautiful  features, the heir-apparent to this world of ordered logic has let down her hair. She has embraced humanity and is diving headlong into the caring and understanding of.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 246


page 221

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 217

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 217

…“Gus & Deke, of The Space Family McKinney I might add, have been chosen to pilot the first SOL Project cruiser!”…

“The Chosen One” Artwork by Stefan Boettcher – Lucasfilm LTD

“Deker you fox, what brings you to the land of “crooks and cronies”?” He has come to Washington D.C. for a meritorious reason.

“I hate to interrupt movie night, but I’m here on official business Dad.”

Please note that Deke McKinney refers to Roy as “dad” and Gus uses the “sir” name. Gus still has not accepted that their birth father needs to be replaced, one-for-one.

“Gussy (he cannot avoid his nickname) has no idea what I am going to tell you.”

He pauses to make eye contact with formerly little brother; 6’2” to 6’3” and when in the past year did he get passed up in height?

Francine urges Deke to divulge that which he is withholding. “Cut the drama Deke darling!”

“While my little brother has been stealing X-66s and politician’s limos, I have been working behind the scenes.”

“Come on Deke darling, tell everyone that you finished at the top of this year’s class and I was in the cellar,” Gus always thinks everything is about him… this time he is right.

Deke looks back at Gus one last time, undaunted by the goodhearted nature of a sibling-rivalrysibling rivalry.

“Gus & Deke, of The Space Family McKinney I might add, have been chosen to pilot the first SOL Project cruiser!”

“Wahoooo….” Gus bounces off the ceiling.

But it is President/Stepfather that injects pragmatism into the moment, “That flight may be ten years off Gus, so don’t be packing your bags just yet.”

“Oh Roy, do you have to be such a killjoy? You spend every-other hour scheming and dreaming about it and then you throw a wet towel over it.” Francine orders a bottle of sparkling something up to the Red Room. “I think that is news worth celebrating.”

Four glasses are raised high, clinked together, the contents emptied into the stomachs of the foremost forward thinking pioneers this side of Orion’s Belt;  2 true space pioneers plus the prevailing first parents out of that big white house in the District of Columbia, USA.

Image result for celebrate gif


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 217


page 196

Thanksgiving Around the Globe – WIF Holidays

Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Festivals

From Around

the World

When we think about harvest festivals, we automatically think of Thanksgiving in the United States. But there have always been harvest festivals everywhere – autumn celebrations jubilantly thanking the gods for their gracious, abundant bounty, and praying for their blessing to live and thrive for another year.

 Harvest festivals go back to the dawn of agriculture. Naturally, the original holidays have long since faded away due to the vast social and religious changes over the centuries. But there are many modern harvest festivals and national holidays similar to the American Thanksgiving, each with its own traditions and stories. This list showcases ten harvest festivals, and their accompanying narratives.

10. Mehregan (Iran)

Mehregan, the Festival of Autumn, is the Persian version of Thanksgiving. It is a Zoroastrian festival that goes back to the 4th century BC, long before Persians become Muslims. It takes its name from Mehr, the Zoroastrian deity of love and friendship. Much of this Harvest Holiday has changed since antiquity, largely after the rise of Islam. But Mehregan is still celebrated by many modern Persians, especially since its revival in the 1960′s when the Postal Service of Tehran, to commemorate the Mehregan Festival, issued a special limited edition of postage stamps, now considered rare collectibles.

Mehregan includes family reunions across the country, prayers in front of large mirrors, and an lavishly-decorated dinner table adorned with old fashioned silver plates and disks, flowers, incense, wild marjoram, and silver coins. There’s lots of traditional food, served with sherbet, rosewater, almonds, sweets, apples, pomegranates, and lotus seeds. The extravagant settings give you the feeling that you are back in ancient Persia

9. Cerelia (Ancient Rome)

This is an ancient version of Thanksgiving, and even though it isn’t celebrated today, we can’t overlook its historical significance and the role this holiday played in Ancient Rome. Cerelia was dedicated to Ceres, the Roman Goddess of grain. It was celebrated every autumn on October 4th, so this Harvest Festival is also called the “Autumnal Festival.”

The Romans loved to party, and Cerelia was no exception. The festival included parades, sporting events in front of the ecstatic Roman crowd, and splendid Thanksgiving feasts, held either privately in the homes of the wealthy, or publicly, organized by the municipality. Revelers feasted on roasted pigs and the first products of the autumn harvest – all dedicated to Ceres as sign of gratitude. Along with the mountains of food to eat, citizens also drank rivers of wine, which helped fuel a common Roman custom not mentioned in your schoolbooks – lots of sex and orgies.

8. Chuseok (Korea)

Chuseok, also known as the Korean Thanksgiving, is a major holiday in Korea. Its date is determined by the lunar calendar, so it is held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. The holiday usually lasts three days, and like most Harvest festivals, it includes family reunions. In Korea, families gather at their ancestral homes to give thanks and to feast on delicious traditional food, like delicate rice cakes steamed on a bed of pine needles.

After the holiday meal is over, family members visit their ancestors’ graves for Beolcho – the customary act of clearing away any weeds that may have grown up over the burial mound. They also play traditional folk games such as Ganggangsullae – a kind of dance that goes back five thousand years. In Korea, gift-giving is part of the Harvest festival, and it’s common to give attractively boxed gifts of a popular food –spam.

7. Tsiknopempti (Greece)

Fans of steak and BBQ probably value this day more than even Christmas or Easter, and there’s a good reason for that. In Greece there’s nothing similar to Thanksgiving except Tsiknopempti, the closest thing the country has to a Harvest Festival. It’s one of the traditional celebrations of February’s Carnival season in Greece. It always falls on a Thursday, and this is where it gets its name, since Tsiknopempti loosely translated means “Barbecue Thursday.” It’s the time for the Greeks to thank the Lord for the bounties He gave them during the year, and to gain strength for the next forty days of fasting, the Lenten days before Easter.

So during Tsiknopempti the mouth-watering aromas of barbecuing meats fill every corner of every street in Greece. At night, the hosts of the family reunions lay out vast amounts of souvlaki, gyros, lamb, and pork. Add lots of wine, and the night ends with plenty of high-spirited plate smashing and joyous dancing.

6. Dia de Acao de Gracas (Brazil)

The Brazilian version of Thanksgiving is similar to the American one, and there’s an historical explanation for this. Thanksgiving was established in the country of coffee in the late 1940′s by Brazilian President Gaspar Dutra after he heard the Brazilian ambassador to the United States describe the American holiday. Originally the Brazilian version of Thanksgiving was almost identical to the American one; in 1966, Brazil even officially designated the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, just as it is in the United States. Brazilians, however, have a colorful and diverse culture of their own, and through the years they have greatly changed the holiday, so that now it’s quite different from the American Thanksgiving.

Attending Mass on Dia de Acao de Gracas is a must for all who want to offer to God their gratitude for the abundant harvest, and afterwards the younger set joins in the revelry of the Thanksgiving carnival, or takes advantage of the hot, sunny weather to go to the beautiful beaches. The Brazilian Thanksgiving meal naturally features peru (roast turkey) as the main dish, garnished with fixings for every taste – cracklings, sweet potatoes, exotic salads, cornbread stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Cranberries don’t grow in Brazil, so instead of cranberry sauce, Brazilians use a similar fruit to make aboticaba sauce, giving the meal a unique Brazilian touch.

5. Liberian Thanksgiving (Liberia)

The influence of the American Thanksgiving in Liberia is really obvious. In fact, this holiday, along with the Canadian Thanksgiving, is one of the versions of Thanksgiving most like the American one. That has a reasonable explanation, since Liberia was established as an official state only in 1822, mainly by freed African-American slaves. Naturally the former Americans carried many cultural elements of their previous country to their new land, and one of them was Thanksgiving, now celebrated in Liberia every year on the first Thursday of November. Over the years, however, aspects of African culture – and more specifically Liberian culture – were added to the American traditions, and the holiday shows the changes.

For one thing, Liberians offer their gratitude that they are free people today, and no longer slaves. But some of the biggest differences are in the food. Liberians prefer chicken to turkey, and mashed cassava is served instead of mashed potatoes. Liberians really love their food all hot and spicy, so Thanksgiving dishes are made with plenty of cayenne and fiery peppers.

4. Crop Over (Barbados)

The Crop Over summer festival is the biggest harvest holiday festival in Barbados. As early as the 1870′s, the people of Barbados organized Crop Over festivals to thank God and to rejoice in another year of bountiful sugar cane harvests. But the celebration faded away for many decades after the decline of sugar production that began the mid-1940′s.

Then in 1974 the holiday was revived, with more elements of Barbadian culture added. The Crop Over festival nowadays includes parades and colorful carnivals, with big doses of calypso music and dancing, and even bigger doses of local food, candy, and excessive alcohol – all more reminiscent of the carnivals of Brazil than of Thanksgiving in the United States.

3. Homowo Festival (Ghana)

This festival is one of the most important holidays in modern Ghana, celebrated mostly by the people of Ga, as they are known – the most adventurous and exploratory ethnic group in Ghana. The people of Ga once traveled all across Africa before finally settling in Ghana. During this migration they endured many hardships, including a terrible famine. From those memories Homowo (meaning “to jeer at hunger”) was born.

Homowo starts in May with the traditional sowing of millet by priests, and commemorates the day the ancestors won victory over hunger. After the harvest in August and September, the people feast on traditional favorites such as palm nut soup with fish. Famine is hooted at and ridiculed with songs and dancing, and the revelers praise God for the good fortune that guided them to the blessed land of Ghana.

2. Erntedankfest (Germany)

Germans celebrate their own version of Thanksgiving, but in their own unique way. The main difference between similar holidays around the world and Germany’s Erntedankfest is that in Germany it’s not a holiday that most Germans combine with family reunions. It’s a religious holiday which differs regionally depending on each location’s history and cultural traditions.

Erntedankfest, which means “Harvest Festival,” is usually celebrated in late September or early October. It’s a Protestant holiday in which the church plays a large role. An Erntedankfest celebration in a big city like Berlin typically includes volunteer work for the poor and attending Mass, followed by music, dancing, and lots of food in and outside the church. The festival is especially popular with the youngsters because it peaks with torch-lit parades and fireworks.

1. The Moon Festival (China)

The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, is the Chinese version of Thanksgiving. It is considered one of the most significant traditional celebrations in China, going back to antiquity. Legend says that the Goddess Chang’e flew to the moon, where she would stay forever. Now she is considered the Goddess of the Moon, and the Moon Festival is dedicated to her.

The children love such fairytales and myths, but the Moon Festival is also a great opportunity for family reunions, and every year, on the evening of August’s Harvest Moon, most Chinese families find a way to get together to enjoy the full moon, eat delicious pastries called “moon cakes,” dance, sing, and recite traditional “Moon Poems.’’

Unmarried people consider the Moon Festival a perfect opportunity for romance. All over the country, young men coax their best girls to slip away for a moment for a conversation commonly held on this romantic evening – a proposal of marriage under the beautiful moon.


“God Bless Us Everyone”

Thanksgiving Around the Globe

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 185

1 Comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 185

…The mourners want to stop crying, but who will be the first? They wish they had more answers when God alone knows what happened on Mars…

Presidential candidate Crippen wraps up the grim occasion.

“But because we don’t know what exactly happened to them, is of little matter now. Today we are here to honor them and to make a promise, the promise of continuing dream of the McKinneys …and all of us at NASA…SOL-logo the dream of colonization, not just of Mars, but the stars beyond it! But we are going to go there, AT THE SPEED-OF-LIGHT!!!.”

The reference to the SOL Project is intentional.

Roy does not miss the opportunity to draw Charlotte Walker onto the funeral altar, a move that does not go unnoticed by the attending press.Image result for red white and blue wreath

“All of us, in our own way, knew Sampson and Celeste McKinney. Do not fail them or their memory.”

Roy Crippen, Braden King, Deke McKinney and Gus lay a giant RW&B wreath on the flag-draped caskets. The clergy representatives, each of their faith, give their blessing. The honor guards carry the sarcophagi to the waiting horse drawn cortege.

The crowd disperses slowly, bound together by a trance of unbelief. They want to stop crying, but who will be the first? They wish they had more answers when God alone knows what happened on Mars. They do not want to have to memorialize speculative assumptions, but just when is the right time to say when?

Apart from a mourning nation and most of the “civilized” world, two significant figures remain stoic. Whether or not they are expected to be resigned and vulnerable, the McKinney boys, with eyes to the heavens and beyond, hold firm. They are sending a message for the world to heed: ‘We remaining McKinneys dedicate the rest of our lives to the memory of our parents and the future of America’s space program.’


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 185


page 175

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 99

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 99

…Too many twos, two many 2s and if there was a rock big enough to hide behind, Roy would have preferred it to this…

Image result for too many

Braden has been slowly dismantling the many-gift-mountain of cards, boxes, gift wrap and tissue. There are some meant to be shared, ‘Deke & Gus’. There are many specifically labeled either ‘Deke’ or ‘Gus’. Others are anonymous tributes to The Space Family McKinney.

By sheer coincidence and not divine intervention, we think, Francine and Roy’s packages are the last to be unwrapped. The givers of said gifts are still standing near one another, having ooo-ed, aah-d, and clapped politely throughout the process, which has run past daylight’s influence.

Most everyone has done the math or eliminated themselves from belonging to the boxes. Fate is once again shining a spotlight on that reluctant featured pairing, still trying to sort out their feelings, once they get past continuing awkward social situation.

The lady-well-wisher’s carton is next to last, opened with genuine excitement by Gus, “Channel 13 News Crew bomber jackets, look Deke!”

She was afraid people would think her a self-promoter, “It’s the same one worn by our cameramen and grips.”

“Way kool Miss Bouchette. All the kids at school can drool.”

The final unopened gift belonged to Roy.

“Read the card first Deke,” if Braden has the boy skip that part, it would be fine with Roy, who knows exactly how he signed the card.

Too late!!

“2 the two finest young men we know. With Love and friendship, Uncle Roy and Channel 13 Francine”

The young man reads it loud and proud.

Too many twos, two many 2s and if there was a rock big enough to hide behind, Roy would have preferred it to this. The boys do not think about motivation when it comes to birthdays.

“A 4-D Galaxy Planet Asteroid Tracker by Intel, wow just like the one in your office Uncle Roy… and Francine?”

asteroid-tracker

Roy wanted to explain Francine’s duplicity, had he known how to. Some things are better left to wondering.

The agreeable crowd subdivides into smaller groups, to sample Braden’s BBQ skills—-and gossip.Related image

Roy looks for that back-forty boulder to hide behind.

Francine is just plain curious, but they are overtaken by the shuffled throng.

“I can’t believe how generous people are. Deke & Gus are so lucky,” Aunt Sassy (from the old country) shakes Roy’s hand like she was trying to bust it loose from his shoulder socket, while eyeing Francine up and down.

“Now Sassy, don’t break his wrist,” insists the senior member of the McKinney relative contingent Savta Inga Bergestrom (from the other old country). “You two look like you are having a wonderful time.”


THE RETURN TRIP

the-old-country-001

Episode 99


page 95

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 98

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 98

…Attention everyone, I would like to propose a toast… raise your glasses as I salute our Director Roy Crippen and Channel 13’s own Francine Bouchette!”

Image result for a toast artwork

Separately and together, she and he play it oh-so-kool, willing to allow randomness to take its course.

To anyone with two eyes and a television, they had been captured on video holding hands; the tension is thick and juicy.

braceT LFTWhispers:“Why aren’t they talking?” “I thought they liked each other.” “At bracket rt least they can talk to each other.”

In-house wagering is going on among the adults, “I have 50 bucks that says they will not talk.. any takers?” Just one of the side bets.

The master of ceremonies Braden takes matters in his own hands, “Attention everyone, before Deke & Gus open their gifts, and I take the ribs off the grill, I would like to propose a toast… raise your glasses as I salute the two real celebrities among us—my apologies to any movie stars or sitting Presidents—To our Director Roy Crippen and Channel 13’s own Francine Bouchette!”

“C-H-E-E-R-S! Here – here! Salud!” come from all around from every side as the toasted make their way forward.

Whispers (he & she):“There are lots of people here.” “Yes there are and so many gifts.” “I didn’t expect to see you here.” “I had to file that story, I hope you know that.” “Of course you did, and I imagine my impulsiveness caught you off guard.”

13d01-6a00d8341cb55f53ef010536ace89f970b-800wiFrancine, in her big girl voice,“No need for you to apologize Roy what happened to us was perfectly natural.”

“Had I known you were engaged that would have never happened,” counters Roy.

“You were every bit the gentleman and I did not offer any résistance.”

“I am in some hot water over this whole mess, maybe you should keep your distance.”be5e8-6a00d8341cb55f53ef0120a604af2c970c-800wi

“Do you think I’m worried about my association with you? Bring it on fools!”

Big Girls Don’t Cry


THE RETURN TRIP

he-and-she

Episode 98


page 93

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 97

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 97

While Gus is wondering what gift Francine has brought, the slightly elder brother is more interested in the bada-bing…

chocolate_birthday-cake__five__abstract_pastel_painting_by_carol_engles

Chocolate Birthday Cake abstract pastel painting by Carol Engles

“You have a Texas-sized thirst Miss Francine!” the bartender comments.

“Thank you and I will be back later,” she draws a deep breath and heads toward the mountain of gifts.

Like fire ants in a rainstorm, the McKinney boys are getting closer to the nest. Gus has spotted the pile of presents and Francine to boot, “Hey Deke, look who’s here!”

She was the only person who could steal the spotlight from Uncle Roy.

“Holy cow Gus, did you invite her?” Deke looks for some glass reflection to finger-comb his hair . “You have guts Gus!. Boy, she is prettier in person than she is on TV.” bada-bing-001While Gus is wondering what gift she has bada-bingbrought, the slightly elder brother is more interested in the bada-bing.

Francine places her gift carefully to one side of the growing pile, trying to act naturally in spite of her nerves, anxiety caused at the sight of Uncle Roy.

Said Crippen is in the midst of a reenactment, perhaps the tackling form he used on Gherkin Dogman or whatever his name was. “Notice how square my shoulders are to the target, head up, all the time driving my legs.” He sounds like a football coach speaking to Pony League footballers, when in fact he was using the demonstration as a diversionary tool… after all Francine was here, what now?

He takes his Camelhair sport coat back from the woman who was holding it for him, thanking her over-politely to convey the fact that they were not indeed here together, should Francine even notice; who, having seen the exchange peripherally and pretending not to.

Related image

This pointless posturing went on for 15 minutes as each waited for the other to crack. It is an unfortunate distance for them to be separated by, after all it’s not like they are ex’s of the other.

That they are not alone or free to interact in a more private setting isn’t helping. Not knowing what the other is thinking does factor in the standoff. Separately and together, she and he play it oh-so-kool, willing to allow randomness to take its course.

Image result for winkRelated imageImage result for winkRelated imageRelated image


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 97


page 92

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 96

Leave a comment

THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 96

…“Where are the guests of honor? I need set this down Mr. King,” Francine re-positions the package under her arm….

brothers-001

There are two late arrivers to the festivities:

@“Uncle Roy” Crippen – who has been trying hard to steer clear of crowds of people uncle_royfor 3 distinct reasons:

  1. Condolences on the Colony disaster (bad)
  2. Congratulatory on his launch pad heroics (better)
  3. Given the cold shoulder by a woman (Worst of all)

@Francine Bouchette – who Braden placed on a possible no-show list is:

  1. Glad-handing her admirersmillion-dollar
  2. Looking like a million bucks
  3. Appears to be looking for a specific someone

 

“Miss Bouchette, hey, over here!” Braden waves heartily like an autograph seeker. It is all he can do to get her attention, while admiring his famous ribs out on the patio BBQ. “I didn’t think you would make it. The boys were wondering about you.”

“I didn’t either, hence the lack of an RSVP,” she replies, unbuttoning her KHST 13 blazer and re-positioning the package in her arms. “Where are the guests of honor? I need set this down Mr. King.”Instrument Sticker GIF | Gfycat

“Oh who knows where they are, but when I clang the dinner triangle, they’ll come a running, Miss Bouchette,” he points out to the 1000 acre back section of the property.

“Please, call me Francine.”

“Only if you call me Braden and there is the gift table. The bar is under the awning and feel free to give all the teenage boys a thrill, Roy could probably use a break.”

Roy is here? For some reason, she had overlooked that possibility. Come on, no Uncle Roy, really?

manhattanwithcherryShe stops to pose for pics and sign a few ‘graphs on the way to the bar. ”May I have a Brandy Manhattan press, one cherry. I could spit cotton,” she tells the bartender.

He cheerfully obeys,

She takes the crystal glass and empties it instantaneously, dispatches the cherry and hands it back to him for “one more just like that one.”

“You have a Texas-sized thirst Miss Francine!”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 96


page 91

trt-characters-001