Life in the Shadows

SYCAMORE SHADOWS, Ohio. Happy birthday (Feb. 19) to the lovely and gracious Abigail Padden, blue-eyed director of the Museum of Sycamore Shadows and one of my closest friends, in part because she lives on the floor below mine at the Imaginactory and can’t seem to stay out of my refrigerator. Hope you have a wonderful day, sweet one. Only two weeks until Master-Pastor Wendlebright visits Sycamore Shadows for the Sunday morning service at the Church of the Lost Sheep. Though we have leeches in the creek, Sycamore Shadows has never had a lawyer or an insurance agent. Wilson Hahn, who… Keep reading

The Noddy Snoops

Each Thursday evening I join Nippy Keene, Wilson Hahn, Nicholas Andraca, and Kitty Parr at Sotty Hoff ’s Pub, where we spend several glorious hours talking of nothing but books and authors, from nearly impenetrable titles such as Videll Gaston’s “The Trial of the Edomite,” to classic children’s books such as “The Magic Pocket” and “Mr. Goff Gains a Friend.” This informal literary gathering began quite by accident some years ago. The five of us had met for dinner one evening and our discussion turned to the possibility that the manuscript of Aleron Hart’s superb novel, “Noddy Hall,” had somehow… Keep reading

Life in the Shadows

Ada Sanderling reports that last Sunday, a 101-year-old man who has enjoyed a life of debauchery and carnal pleasure decided to join the church and live righteously. Despite scooting in by the skin of his soul, he will get to abide in the same heaven as life-long Christians, perhaps on the same golden street. Miss Sanderling reports having walked the straight and narrow for almost eight decades. “It’s not fair,” she says. That’s the Christian spirit, Aunt Ada. Willie Fimple would like to know when Freese’s Grocery is going to have Mr. Whippo Snack Pies back in stock. Because Aedre… Keep reading

Life in the Shadows

SYCAMORE SHADOWS, Ohio Minister Westminster informs me that Master-Pastor Wendlebright’s address to the Church of the Lost Sheep has been rescheduled for March 4th. No group of people are more excited than the ladies choir, which has been practicing daily in preparation for the big event. No doubt they’ll all be wearing Awe Bras beneath their robes. Matsuo Donatu says that Oris Hocket keeps the answer to each week’s Bible-trivia question taped to the back of his necktie. He saw it when Oris leaned over the table to goo-goo the baby, and says it was upside down—meaning the answer, not… Keep reading

Tales from the Crawdad Club: The China Set

by Jackson “Happy” Fohl My first wife, Lucretia, a capital woman, was crazy for saving money. She’d skip a meal for a chance at a five-dollar bank deposit. One time I watched her jump into a manure pile to fetch a nickel, then hoist it over her head like she’d discovered the Templar Treasure. Nothing wrong with swelling the nest egg against a rainy day, but an occasional omelet doesn’t hurt, neither. Lucretia would have been a miser if we could have afforded it. Soon after our wedding, her aunt gave her a china set worth thousands of dollars—a family… Keep reading

Life in the Shadows

SYCAMORE SHADOWS, Ohio AWE BRA UPDATE: Is there a female in Sycamore Shadows who didn’t wear an Awe Bra while ringing in the new year last week? It seems hard to believe that in a town of 500 citizens (nearly half of them men, most of whom don’t need a bra) Hibb’s Dept. Store has sold 817 bras! Curly Dowd, long considered the town idiot (oaf and buffoon are popular as well), is now lauded as a genius. An anonymous source says Curly may finally gain admittance to the Crawdad Club. (Not while I have a vote.) Curly says his… Keep reading

Life in the Shadows

SYCAMORE SHADOWS, Ohio AWE BRA UPDATE: Wilma Flair reports that she attempted to change the TV channel but grabbed her Awe Bra remote instead, with predictable results. Curly says that’s why he specified pink buttons on the Bramote, and that all a person has to do is look before they click. Beginning next year the Church of the Lost Sheep’s bulletin will feature a “Transgression of the Week” column, similar to Henry Barnes’s fondly remembered “Sin of the Week.” Church members will choose the sin by secret ballot and Minister Westminster will provide an appropriate scripture. The sin with the… Keep reading

Sotty Hoff’s Pub

By general agreement, Jackson “Happy” Fohl, the proprietor of Sotty Hoff’s Pub, is the best chef in town, probably the best chef in the universe. When folks who get paid to cook want to escape the kitchen and dine out, they go to Sotty’s, then shake their heads as they waddle away, wondering how Happy does it. Only my Aunt Ada refuses to eat there. She shuns all appearance of evil as a general principle and calls Sotty’s a “den of iniquity,” mostly because it’s dim, as if a person can’t do good works in the dark or sin in… Keep reading

Life in the Shadows

SYCAMORE SHADOWS, Ohio AWE BRA UPDATE: Folks, it looks like plenty of people will find Awe Bras beneath their Christmas trees this year. According to Abigail Padden, even young girls several grades shy of needing them are adding Awe Bras to their Christmas list. And Curly? Since the money began pouring in he’s bought three coonhounds, two guns, a new tackle box, and has had his outboard motor rebuilt. Be careful, Curly. Such extravagance will come to no good. Nipper Keene says Greta Goblocks has cooties. If anyone doubts the power of no prayer, Abigail has just informed me that… Keep reading

Life in the Shadows

The Fields of Boaz chapter of the Sisters of Ruth Cross-stitch Club will hold its annual meeting on Saturday, November 26th in the Chibble Apartments meeting room. Club president Adelphie Dowd encourages all prospective members to attend. “Let’s get to know each other while eating meatballs,” she says. Happy birthday, Otto Hopp! (Nov. 30) AWE BRA UPDATE: Police arrested two ladies at Hibb’s Department Store on Thursday after they began trading punches, knocking Miss Vivian to the floor. According to Sycamore Shadows police officer Duncan Penrose, the altercation began when both women tried to secure the only remaining Awe Bra… Keep reading

Saturdays

“Is there anything to do in Sycamore Shadows?” Jim asked. “More than you’ll fit into a weekend visit,” I assured him. “Most Saturdays, I write for a few hours, then have breakfast with Wilson Hahn. After that, I go fishing, if I don’t get sidetracked. I’ll grab a rod and head to the creek for a few hours. Some days I’ll row a boat out to Swooner’s Island and read or write while enjoying a cigar, or walk up Sanderling’s Run to the waterfall. If it’s hot, there’s no better place to cool yourself, and if you search under the… Keep reading

Life in the Shadows

SYCAMORE SHADOWS, Ohio. The 13th annual “Guns for Kids” drive has begun. You may leave your monetary donation at Ballard’s Guns & Bibles, the Imaginactory, or the Church of the Lost Sheep (during worship hours only). Established by Joe and Amanda Ballard in 2004, the program has given rifles, shotguns, and handguns, along with ammunition and hearing protection, to 142 underprivileged children in Ohio and Pennsylvania. If you see Joe or Amanda, thank them for doing the Lord’s work. Otto Hopp has discontinued the Mourners Club. According to Hopp, the program fell victim to its success. Joe Pye of Joe Pye… Keep reading

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