Margaret (never ever again to be Peggy!) was determined to hop a freight train to some faraway big city where she could become a famous author. Having recently read Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood”, she had found her vocation.
“The station’s just down here, Orville,” she cried out to her dog.
“English has always been my best subject at St. Gabriel’s, so I know I’ll be a good writer. Flannery’s symbol was the peacock,” she told him. “Mine can be dogs.”
“Has she called on her cell phone yet, Harvey?” her mother asked.
“Not yet, Shirley,” her father replied. “Give her time.”
Local Irishmen of Long Beach, N.Y., unlike the Irish of many other places, celebrate their ethnic heritage each year not on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, but on the first Saturday of October. Last year, however, it was on the last Saturday of September, in order to avoid any conflicts with the local Jews on Yom Kippur. Because they’re a seafaring region, their patron saint is Brendan the Navigator. The day begins with a parade down Beech Street. The Ancient Order of Hibernians figure quite prominently in the festivities. There are Pipe bands, Irish dancers, Irish music and all the other traditional Gaelic trappings. A large section of Beech Street is cordoned off and there are many food, beverage and souvenir stands throughout that section of the city. As with any other such occasion they have many vendors who show up predictably each year. Local establishments, including Swingbelly’s Barbecue Restaurant and the Knights of Columbus Monsignor Cass Council number 2626, are open to patrons. Tourists arrive from all over the United States in order to see this colorful spectacle. Newsmen from several local periodicals and television networks are always there so they can let people see what’s going on. It’s always difficult to park that day. Anyone in the city had better make sure he is willing and able to walk quite a distance in order to see all the interesting colorful sights.
“Yo,Ma,” blurted out precocious sixth grader Stanley, “Is that the Fregosi Emerald or what?”
“Of course not, Stanley,” explained Mrs. Baggiagalupe. “That stone is in Spain where it belongs.”
“I don’t know, Ma,” stammered the youngster. “It looks a lot like it. Brother James said yesterday in class that Archduke Franz Ferdinand gave it to Sofia right before Gavrilo Princip assassinated them in 1914.”
The lad couldn’t get over the jewel, or anything else even remotely connected with World War I. His mother was happy to indulge his latest obsession. As they continued their shopping trip she asked him to remind his father to get gas.
Each day ten year old Mildred Fleener sat on her porch reading her favorite comic strip, Charles Schulz’ “Peanuts”. She never could get over how its characters were all grammar school kids, with no grown ups to watch over them. In her neighborhood, in her life in general, all was so happy and pretty.
“We have grown ups to thank for that,” she thought. “Sometimes they’re weird but I’d be a-scared of life without them.”
Life in Daisy Hill, her hometown, was nothing like the strangely messed up environment she noticed in the “Peanuts” strip. Still she quite enjoyed the cartoon.
Twelve year old Alice Pleasance Liddell made quite a point of daily visiting her favorite garden. One sunny Saturday afternoon, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, local scholar and friend of her family, happened to have noticed her. He bade her go farther into the maze than she’d ever before presumed to attempt.
“You see, young friend,”-Alice was twenty years his junior-the gentleman exclaimed, “There are all manner of delightful surprises to be found in there.”
Naturally she expected merely to find merely a more colorful variety of flora and fauna. She was quite taken aback at what was in store for her.