Friday, August 28, 2015

The Magic of Our Back Porch View

I've notice on this blog that we tell you a great deal about the adventures of my dear cousin and myself, sometimes accompanied by Chelsae. We've been all over the world, from Nashville to Ireland, Torronto to the Beach and back. And when we're not regaling these escapades, we're telling you about the various antics which happen on a seemingly daily basis here at The Station. 

It's true, we live some particularly awesome lives, but the in-betweens, our merely-hinted-at moments of repose, should be noted and that is what I'm going to do here. Why? Because while dangling from cliffs and battling carnivorous potatoes is exciting and can certainly build character, the moments I pocket in my denim memory are the quiet ones when we're just sitting. Those moments when you're pleasantly aware of the air entering and exiting your lungs, and you breathe it like a slow dance. And where do these moments take place?

Oh, have we not told you about our porch?

At the back of the Station, on the second floor and with its very own secret door, there is a porch outside, overlooking a green expanse of forgotten fields. The railing is such that we can sit on the floor and have a clear view of the field through its oaken spokes. We sit with our backs against the Station wall and gaze out in peaceful wonder. We've used the fields before to play games, show horses, and wage wars, but it somehow looks different from the porch, as if looking down upon it reveals something ancient and magical about the fiords. So, we just observe and enjoy. Sometimes Hannah smokes her pipe, sometimes I smoke mine. 

I'm sorry it's not a story this time, but porches rarely are. They're just great places to sit, and we have an especially exceptional one in our little world. You should come try it out sometime. Maybe you'll have a quiet moment of your own. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Johnny & June

Dragons were far beyond the worst we could have imagined. And for there to be more than one was unspeakable. For we three had heard our share of woeful tales. Or at least the tail end of them anyways. So Kevan looked at me and I looked at Chelsea who then looked back at me and I said,
"Quite right Kev. Maybe this is for another day." So Kevan and I retired to the station for tea and lemon jelly tarts. (with lemon jelly that we collected from the cavernous falls discovered last autumn on a previous potato zoo expedition.) Chelsea would have joined us, but had been invited to go on a soul adventure with her beloved father to Mexico.
Over tea I noticed Kevan giving me a curious look.
"What is it love?" I asked with a mouth full of lemon jelly.
"I've been thinking. No, not that kind of thinking, but the kind where I thought it might be nice to go on a holiday. Well not so much of a holiday as an expedition, you know the sort. Just that we should go see a bit of the world. Meet some new friends. Eat some new food." Kevan paused for a small sip of his tea.
"You know. I don't think I've ever met anyone as wise as you." I replied as I put a hand on his arm. Kevan gave my hand a pat and we began to pack our things. Sweaters and socks flew through the air as we picked up speed as the cusp of adventure lay bunched around our throats ready to throw caution to the wind. We made a mad dash to the airport as soon as we possibly could, dropped off by sir madness Monday himself, and ran up to the front desk. We breathed heavily and set our bags down.
"Two tickets please." Kevan wheezed.
"Where to sir?" The woman asked as she checked our passports.
"Wherever you think we should go." I replied. 
"In that case," she said as she madly ticked away at her computer keys, "here are two tickets to Nashville, Tennessee." We took our tickets and looked at each other. Somehow she had known that was exactly where we needed to be heading. It wasn't the most glamorous or the most exciting place the world had to offer, but there was a certain something about Nashville that called to us every once in a while. Something about it's sticky sweet tea and soulful country twang spoke to our souls. I knew we were hoping that this time it would be our souls that spoke to it. 
"It's a good thing I packed my harmonicas!" Kevan exclaimed as we boarded the plane. I silently nodded. Somehow harmonicas and Nashville always needed to be together. 
"Kevan, I have a surprise for you." I said while I settled myself facing him. "A few weeks ago I was talking with my good friend Andy, who's pretty connected in the music scene, and he said he had an opening at this pub down in Nashville because the band he'd booked all came down with dysmetropsia and cancelled. So I said to him I knew of a group called Too Hips who just happened to be free that weekend so he scheduled them, but they weren't willing to cover the whole night so he still needed an opening act and I told him you and I had been working on some of our own music. So essentially what I'm saying is that you and I are playing at Wildhorse Saloon tonight. Oh, and I also bribed that flight hostess to send us to Nashville." Kevan started laughing so hard that every time he tried to stop he would just put his hand on my arm and then start laughing all over again, which he continued to do for the duration of the flight. It became very unnerving, but I still took it as a positive sign. We arrived at our friend Ben's house in a flurry and whisked in and out of the house faster than you could say 'grits.' Which is pretty fast since it's such a short word. 
The night had fallen and the twinkling lights of the city dotted the skyline as we rushed towards our musical venue. Our hearts were full of all the greats that had walked these sidewalks and sung tales of sadness and love like no other town I'd ever been to before. We walked out there bold as Johnny and June in the prime of their lives and sang our songs like we had everything to live for. It was glorious. But the lights faded out and our adventure had come to a close. Kevan and I were back in our hovel snuggled up with some leftover bbq pork sandwiches, slaw on the side of course. He just took his hand in mine as we smiled at a mysterious polaroid that had made its way into our bags. At first it may have just looked like two dark figures silhouetted by a bright stage light, but to us, it was Johnny and June.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Rumble

"Those were the days when the gang was together."
My eyes trailed off the page, hoping to find more of the story in midair just right of the paper. There was nothing. My cousin had drawn me into this world of hers and then left me hanging, pining for more. I looked at her across the room, watching me with a wicked grin. She knew all too well what she'd done, for she'd done it a hundred times over before. She had started a story - a very good story! - and handed it to me unfinished. 
I folded the piece of paper quietly, trying to decide how to proceed. I wish I could say two can play at this game, and maybe that is the case, but I'm not nearly as good at it as she. 
"So," I said at last, "you're a dude."
"Yep," she answered readily. "The character is, anyway. Boys are so much more fun to write about, I think. They don't mind it so much when you throw them into mud pits and dragon's lairs."
"You wouldn't mind," I pointed out. 
"True," she responded proudly. "Me and Chelsea wouldn't mind at all. In fact..." - and lightning struck us both then and there. Not actual lightning, of course, but something much worse; an idea!
Without further ado, we leapt to our feet, strapped on our shovels and headed for the Potato Zoo. Chelsea met us there, suited up and ready to go. She looked like she'd been waiting a while, though it'd only been five minutes since we had the idea. Before we entered the Zoo, Hannah covered our faces with war paint. Everyone knows, after all, you can't enter wild potato habitats without war paint - or, you really shouldn't, anyway. Once we had our paint applied, it was into the darkness with us, we three unafraid and ready for anything. 
But why the Zoo? Because the Zoo is the gateway to catacombs (where Hannah found our Lemon Jelly river) and catacombs lead to lairs and where there are lairs dragons must be with. This is pretty common knowledge in the typography world, which Hannah is an expert in (being a gardener and all), so we were venturing deep with great assumption and shovels, just in case. 
I'm sad to say, due to my neglect, Chelsea nearly lost an arm when a volary of spuds caught us off guard. Our shovels came in handy then, and our dear Chelsea still has two arms to this day, as far as I know. Besides this brief scare, our trek through the Potato Zoo was filled with uneventful suspense.
It took us a good afternoon to find satisfactory catacombs (Hannah knew what she was looking for), and down we went into a deeper darkness. 
"How far down do you think the lair will be?" I asked in a tremulous whisper. 
"A few years," answered my cousin. 
"At least three days," added her friend. 
Then we heard the rumble. Pillars fell from high above and we rolled to dodge them. Dust, too, fell and stung our eyes but there was no need or use in rolling to dodge it all for its blanketing effect. We took off running, not toward our exit - there were only arm-eating potatoes back there - but straight ahead into darkness upon darkness upon darkness, etc. As we ran, we argued about what the rumble was. Cannon fire up topside. Giants finally come to claim our sheep and cattle. Elephants close on our very heels. But we all knew in our souls what it was. 
A dragon.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Shakes

"Come on Shakey! Climb faster!" The boys scrambled up ahead of me flicking dirty rocks and moss up from their heels. It wasn't like I was in any danger, but it always felt like it when I got looped in with the Largen's identical triplets. There was hardly any decipherable difference between the three of them save that each one had freckles on their faces and if you studied them hard enough you could tell that the dots clustered around a different part of each of their noses. Jack had freckles around the bridge of his nose, whereas Jesse had them more on the tip of his nose and Johann had what I'd consider an even smattering. Anyways, we were moving as fast as our tiny legs could carry us to the middle of the dark and ominous forest glades. Sometimes if you were quiet you could see all sorts of wild things busily making their homes or scurrying along in the dense sword ferns. My favourites were the fox family who lived close to our secret tree fort. "The Fort" as we called it. Looking back I'd say we probably just picked the first thing that came to our minds.
"AH!" I shouted as I tripped headlong over an extended root. My palms hit the soft forest floor as I tried to barrel roll over a cluster of rocks. Now, I don't want to write a tome about how many times I have tripped over that very root, but let's just say it's been a lot.
(We have run that exact route to that exact place probably every day of our lives up until we turned 16 and it changed to every other day, which probably totals to be more than 4,000 times that I have tripped in that exact spot. It's not that it didn't cross my mind to take a different way every time it's that we had forbidden each other to come any other way than that exact way. Nor would I say I forgot about trying to anticipate when that root was going to come so that I could lift my feet a little higher than I normally would, it just became tradition and members of The Fort were VERY traditional. Obsessive some might even say, but it suited us just fine. Well I should say it suited the triplets just fine.)
In The Fort we had a rather large sign, written in red pencil crayon and all capital letters depicting all matters from how to woo a girl all the way to wry description of my once very descriptive ode to my cat, Shakey. Hence why I have been mocked since they day that song was discovered. Apparently real men don't write poetry to their cats, which I now realize to be an utter falsehood. Needless to say the girls came in droves after that was posted all over the school halls. They came to throw things at me and post cat pictures on my locker that is. I didn't mind the latter so much.
"Shakey! To the Hub you beggarly toilet-minder!" yelled jesse through scrunched up angry eyebrows while he vigorously pointed towards the open and worn area that looked much like a crow's nest from a pirate ship. My knees were a little bit wet from my fall in the woods and my green corduroy shorts stuck to my legs in odd places. We all assembled in a tight circle, pulling tuna sandwiches from our back pockets. Jack had pulled out our crudely drawn map that we'd pasted onto a flat piece of scrap wood that had been salvaged from the dump-yard we so often visited in search of treasure.
"Now, the trees at the south end protect us from being spied by the Crows from most angles, but we're all open at the back where them Yellow Snakes (our sworn enemies) could waltz right in and robs us whenever they feels like it!" Johann yelled, even though we were all sitting quite close. His speech launched us into an afternoon of fort protection planning that passed by in the blink of an eye as we sat in the hot sun drawing out plans and collecting pieces for our inelaborate conjunctions, first and foremost a moss and rock gilded tole depicting the very rested assurance that this was property of The Fort and if Gus or any of his men decided to even set foot in our area they would be attacked by droves of wild pigeons and dragged into the ocean by the soles of their feet.
Those were they days when the gang was together.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chelsea and Other Worlds

It'd been a while since I'd seen Hannah. Oh, we were both around, busy as ever in the Station. There are no halls in the Station (halls are the worst), but if there were halls, it would be an appropriate thing to say that we passed one another in the hall all the time. But we hadn't sat down, just the two of us and some tea, in ages. This was an issue for two great reasons. First, I only drank tea with Hannah, as a general rule, and I was very much in withdrawal. Second, and more importantly, our souls needed to chat with one another, and while post-it notes and high-fives are great, some things just need to be done in person. So, I finally put my foot down and went a'hunting with bow and arrow for my deer cousin. 

"So, what's new?" I asked, once I'd found her and we were safe in our hovel with tea. 

Hannah gave me a silly smirk and shrug. She sipped her drink and I waited for words. She took her time, not to choose her words wisely, but maybe just to play jumbling games with them in her head before spilling them out. But eventually, she licked her lips and spoke. 

"I have a new friend," she said. 

"Really?" I chimed at the news. "Is she real?"

"Of course she's real," she retorted with the high pitch of playful offense. "I made her up just this morning!"

"Fair enough," I said. "Tell me about her."

"That's only right, I suppose," Hannah agreed, "Because I've told her all about you. Let's see here. Her name is Chelsea, and I think you guys would get along. She has a great sense of humor, like me."

"Well, that's a good start. What kind of accent does she have?"

Hannah wrinkled her nose. "You mean, where is she from? I dunno, ask her yourself!"

Just as I was about to ask where she was, I looked down and found her. Chelsea, it turned out, was climbing out of my tea cup, and doing so without a hitch. My instinct was to drop the cup, but I worried what that would to her, so I held fast until she was out and grounded. She dusted herself off and then gave me a curious glare. 

"Where I'm from is of little or no consequence," she said emphatically. "What matters is where I'm going from here."

She then fell into a dramatic soliloquy about other worlds, other timelines, other dimensions. Places of mystery and intrigue that I'd heard in my heart but never out loud. Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus, Fort Wayne. As she went on, my jaw slowly dropped and Hannah's eyes widened as best they could. Finally, the monologue slowed and eventually ended, and there was silence. We were in the midst of a wizard. That was certain. 

I girded myself with wit and spoke up at last, asking her if she's seen our lemon jelly park in the catacombs. She was familiar, but she was interested in taking a swim in it. We'd never thought of that. Oh, we'd played in it, waded in it even, but never swam. So we did just that, complete with snorkels and goggles, of course, so we could see. What we found there was beyond our imaginations. Fish and fauna unlike the known world had ever seen. Who knew this could all be just below our floorboards the whole time! We were inspired, then. Inspired to explore further the bowls of our little The Station, and explore the walls and eves and bookshelves alike, to find worlds and timelines galore until tea time came around again. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Best Of All, A Festival!

    One minute I'd been with Kevan wandering the Potato Zoo and then the next I'd found myself in a strange hallway with the path behind me closed off. I could barely hear Kevan's muffled cry.
"KEVAAAAN!!! CAN YOU HEAR ME?" I cupped my hands around my mouth and shouted at the top of my lungs, but my voice just reverberated off the dark walls, bouncing about like a drunken bouncy ball.

I was stuck. 

My eyes gently adjusting to the dimness of the room and I saw a sliver of light to my right so I began to shuffle my feet carefully towards it. A light scent of lemon caressed my sensitive nose as I moved closer. The glow was a vibrant yellow and shimmered as though it was reflecting off some sort of water. I heard a gentle trickle and it tickled my ear with inviting dribbles, drawing me forward for it seemed I had no where to go but onwards and upwards. The light cast a watery shadow as I reached up to push aside a white curtain, eager to be out of the damp darkness. As I pulled it aside I nearly tumbled straight down a monstrous cavern filled with some sort of yellowy sticky substance thrust betwixt by a gigantuous raging waterfall. I dipped my finger into the substance and brought it to my nose. Lemon

"Lemon jelly!" I exclaimed aloud. Just then, across the way, Kevan burst through a corresponding tunnel. 

"Lemon jelly!" He laughed right back. "By Jove we've found a subterranian-lemon-jelly-fall!" I quickly scaled the edge of the cavern to join Kevan on the other side. I quietly grasped his hand and we grinned in silence at the glorious luminescent goodness that poured from some unseen source and both agreed that the Station was a magical place. There are many rooms left undiscovered, nooks and crannies full of adventure, and it was all ours to explore. Kevan turned to me and patted my head and said,

"There are a great many things to be thankful for in life, but this is one of the best and I'm glad to share it with you." I let one small tear escape from the corner of my eye.

The rest of that day was a blur, but let's just say that we celebrated with the first ever annual Station-wide Festival of Lemon Jelly and there was so much laughter and joy that I swear I could hear the windows and doors creaking in wondrous agreement that we were living a fine life indeed. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Focus and Potatoes

"I can't do thiiiiiiis," I wailed, and Hannah heard me from across the Station. 

Within seconds, she flew into the room, courtesy of our newly installed slide system. She landed brilliantly on her feet and struck a pose with fists on hips. I half-expected her to crow next, but she just furrowed her brow and awaited my explanation. 

"I can't focus," I said with a lowered head. 

My beloved cousin hmmmed to herself. She squinted and positioned her hands before her, twisting them as if adjusting a camera lense. After a minute, she paused, shook her head, and tried again. Finally, she gave up and screwed her smile in thought. 

"It's worse than I thought," she said. "What's on your mind?"

I shuffled my feet. She knew the answer already. 

"It's the Woman, isn't it?"

I didn't have to nod to confirm it. That Watson of mine, she knew and she also knew the cure. Find potatoes, mash potatoes, eat potatoes while watching a Jimmy Stewart movie. Everything is gonna be alright. Especially since we had a Potato Zoo in the basement of the Station. 

"To the Zoo," Hannah cried, a common call to adventure in the Station. 

We gathered the troops, prepped the arsenal, and packed PB&J's. Of course, we painted our faces as well, which is a must-do when hunting wild spuds. Hannah drew an arrow across my forehead and I put a to-scale grizzly bear over her left cheek and eye. Our machetes were sharpened by Knack, who was settling nicely into our way of life. Hannah had taken a fancy to him last time he sharpened our blades, so she escaped to another room this time to avoid further such sentiments. Once everything was ready, we set our feet into the basement, into certain danger. 

It was dark, for starters. There was a funny smell, reminiscent of the great lemon pipe burst of last year and that had entailed. There was also a sound, the sound of potatoes, and they sounded ready to take on the world. 

I unsheathed my machete and turned to where I assumed Hannah was, it was so dark. 

"What's on your mind now?" she asked, her sweet voice emerging from the blackness. 

As a potato bumped my foot, I sidestepped it and examined my thoughts. Potatoes, machetes, an army at my back, certain danger before us. What was on my mind?

"The Woman," I confessed. 

"Well, I guess we'll just have to--" came Hannah's voice, then nothing. 


Where was she? Was she alive? Had the potatoes gotten her? 

That Watson of mine, she knew the cure.