Doc Ghesslet would like the public to remain aware of mental illness, keeping in mind that a significant percentage of the population suffers from one or another form of this invisible disease. He also says that what may be considered eccentricities in some of our citizens may have biological roots. Nippy Keen, Town Health Dept., wishes to disagree and regards local eccentricities, which he readily acknowledges, to be the result of what he so unpleasantly refers to as “social incest”: the result of an isolated population living in close proximity for several generations, therefore dissolving the common filters that prevent unusual behavior, though he concedes the remarkable ability of our citizens to embrace said eccentricities and unusual behavior while staying within traditional social and moral parameters.
Sotty Hoff’s Pub is pleased to announce that the newest batch of Verter Beer has been bottled and is ready for consumption. According to Happy Fohl, Proprietor, Miss Padden has outdone herself this year and is to be commended.
Miss Ada Sanderling wishes the public to know that she has an illness which has kept her abed these past two weeks but that she is still able to pray for the less fortunate. She hopes to recover within the next few days.
The manager of the Uringineers Baseball Club, has announced an important meeting this Thursday evening in the Coulter Building Ballroom regarding the construction of a baseball field in Sycamore Shadows next spring. The Evening Shade urges everyone to attend this important meeting.
Sammy “Blue” Bellhorn wishes to announce that he will have a great stock of healthy crayfish, minnows, and nightcrawlers for local anglers next year, and that prices will remain the same as long as citizens remain so generous in their support. Night fisherman are reminded to please be quiet when buying bait after 11 pm and to mark their purchase on the clipboard hanging inside the door. Ada Sanderling says perhaps the men of the town could find something more constructive to do than plan next year’s fishing expeditions in late December.
Elmer Flair, Flair Cleaners, says that ever since the Church of the Lost Lamb changed communion cups he’s seen a marked increase in neckties with grape juice stains and suggests men throw their tie over their shoulder when taking communion.
While remodeling, Cass Padden opened a wall which he is certain has not been disturbed since the house was built in 1940, and discovered a pair of ladies panties and a hockey stick. He says it makes a person wonder.
Charlie Sternwiess, Sycamore Savings Bank, says that rumors of an underground railroad era tunnel running from beneath the bank to Sanderling Park are untrue. He says that local sentiment was so strongly in favor of abolition that an underground tunnel would have hardly been necessary. He further cautions the public not to take Mr. Dowd and his divining rod seriously.
Ernie Stump, Stump’s Barber Shop, says he bought a new guitar for the shop which anyone is welcome to play while they wait.
Craig Wetzel, Imaginactory, says he saw a Louisiana Waterthrush near Sanderling’s Run, behind his building in Augsut and forgot to mention it.
Edwina Dulcet, Dulcet’s Music Store, is willing to trade music lessons with someone willing to mow her yard.
Sammy “Blue” Belhorn reports that several citizens drive much too fast over the bridge. He wishes to remind the public that it is a covered bridge, not a rifle barrel.
Doc Ghesslet says this will be a bad year for tics.
Mayor Chibble has announced that May 1, 2013 will be street-cleaning day. Due to confusion in past years as to which side of the street to vacate, the following schedule has been put in place: at 9 am every car owner with a vehicle parked on a city street is requested to stand with their car to their right, facing the front of the car. If you are looking north, please move your car. If you are looking in any other direction, you may return to your business. Volunteers with compasses will be available throughout the town to assist those unable to ascertain the proper direction. At 12 pm, do the same; only this time if you are looking east, move your car. At 2 pm, stand beside your vehicle once again, moving it if you find yourself facing a southerly direction. At 4 pm stand beside your car one last time. If you are looking west, move your vehicle. If you are not, your day is done. Mayor Chibble also wishes to remind the citizens that we still need several alternate street sweepers. Interested citizens may pick up a complimentary broom at Burson’s Hardware.
Nippy Keen, City Council, wishes it to be known that he believes the new street-cleaning schedule to be the most idiotic thing he’s ever heard.
Dulcet’s Music Store is offering a seminar on building a gourd banjo. Contact the store for details.
Gertilla Mayberry says that a prankster turned down the flag on her mailbox, therefore Andy Bollman put the day’s mail on top of the letter she wrote for her sister. She wishes to thank the prankster for costing her a long distance call after she was forced to phone the recipe.
Ned Hammer wishes to inform whoever lost their frisbee on his roof that the recent rain washed it off and they may get it out of his garage.
Rube Elder says the popcorn machine at the Utopia Theater has broken down and the part will not arrive until Friday, therefore patrons are allowed to bring their own popcorn this week only.
Curly Dowd hit a walnut with a baseball bat last week and while he ended up paying for damages in addition to the fine, everyone agreed it was an impressive shot. He’s the best hitter Sycamore Shadows has had for years, though he lacks base-running intelligence and usually manages to get caught between first and second, typically during the late innings in a game of consequence. Abigail and Happy happened to be nearby when Curly hit the walnut and Happy estimated it was on a trajectory to reach five or six hundred feet if it hadn’t been stopped by the third-floor window of Freese’s (more…)
Ford or Chevy. Conservative or Liberal. Dog or cat. Things have a way of polarizing into two choices, the most important being Wilma Flintstone or Betty Rubble. For me, the red hair makes it easy but I’ve known seemingly sensible, otherwise normal men who’d jump into bed with Betty and leave Wilma on the stone couch. I don’t understand it. Unless they figure they’d rather face the (more…)
Elizabeth Clump will have a garage sale this coming weekend, April 6-8, to dispose of her late husband’s effects. Tools, firearms, fishing equipment, and an extensive collection of polished rocks will be available. The Sisters of Ruth Cross Stitch Club, of which Mrs. Clump is a member, will provide refreshments.
The Sons of the Battle of Little Beaver will meet at Sotty Hoff’s Pub on March 30, 6pm, to discuss the upcoming Carrie Sanderling Festival. All citizens are welcome to attend this important meeting.
Miss Ada Sanderling will hold a prayer meeting at the Sanderling Mansion next Sunday evening. She says that the recent prank in which the Minuteman Statue was clothed in women’s lingerie is indicative of the general moral decay of this town, which according to her, should be called Nineveh. Anyone attending is requested to bring candles.
Curly Dowd would like to charter a bus again this year for a Pirates game and wants to know who is interested.
Wilma Flair reported that she had her laundry hanging outside on the line and someone turned all the clothes inside out while she was napping.
The Sycamore Shadows Uringineers begin spring training next week. Anyone wishing to try out for the team should bring their bat and glove.
It began on a Sunday morning while we were singing “I Was a Lowly Sheep”, which is sort of our unofficial theme song at church since it was written by local composer William Sanderling. No one would admit that our church has a theme song, the same as a high school or a sitcom, but I’ve been attending for nearly fifty years and don’t remember a service in which it wasn’t the opening hymn. We had reached the chorus and the volume was beginning to swell as it always does when we get to the part which goes “lowly flock in wooley fold.” Folks who are prone to get excited about spiritual matters tend to burst into the chorus with abandon, as if the composer had notated “detonate explosives here.” Visitors who don’t know what to expect and sleepers who should have enough respect to stay awake until the sermon begins always jump, grip their hymnals tighter, and sing with additional fervor themselves, producing a secondary burst like an echo, adding to the commotion, and the p’s at the end of “sheep” pop off so loudly that it sounds as if someone is breaking bubblewrap in the auditorium. Pap always said that while the Lord may appreciate the zeal, it’s rather annoying here on earth. The only other time folks swell up that way in church is when there are words in a song which they aren’t permitted to speak elsewhere, such as “Hell”, “damned”, or especially the hymn with the second verse that ends with ”don’t kick against the pricks, brother,” a particular favorite of Curly Dowd when he leads the singing. I don’t remember the title of that song, but it’s #346 in the book. We had just passed the major burst and were nearly through the secondary swell when everyone noticed a baaaaaaaaa sound, like there was a sheep in the baptistry. (more…)
Garbage collector Albert Sharpless would like to remind citizens that the town does not recycle and while he appreciates the care with which several citizens have organized and cataloged their garbage, it is still a waste of time.
Curly Dowd complains that though he has been manufacturing cough drops for over a year, no one has purchased a single batch and he knows quite a few citizens who have experienced bad colds in that period. According to Mr. Dowd, if business does not improve this winter he will discontinue his operation and cannot understand why the popular “Buy Local, Buy in the Shade” sentiment doesn’t apply to him. On a related note, both Doc Ghesslet and Ichabod Fingus, owner of Fingus Drug Store, restated their serious reservations about “Dowd Drops,” saying that the lozenges are manufactured of unknown ingredients under less than sanitary conditions, specifically, Curly’s garage.
Rube Elder, Utopia Theater, says that he will take no movie requests for the 2012 season after April the first. The season will open Memorial Day weekend when he presents a Buster Keaton Film Festival, with musical accompaniment by the Sycamore Shadows Band. Mr. Elder says that since The Godfather has been shown for nine years running, he will not screen it this year.
Willie Fimple has replaced the door hardware at Fimple’s Clothing and says there are 27 door knobs available free for anyone who will haul them away.
Doc Ghesslet wishes the public to know that the recent “pandemic” of bloody noses is to be expected in the winter months. He says ladybugs do not regularly enter nostrils, no matter what several citizens have stated, though he acknowledges the insects have, in recent years, become a nuisance.
Residents are once again requested not to discharge firearms after 9 pm.
Minister Roy Peche of Nashville will be the guest speaker at the Church of the Lost Flock this next Sunday, February 12, 2012. The title of his timely sermon will be How to File Your Taxes Without Losing Your Soul. Tax forms will be made available after the services. Minister Peche will be on hand to answer questions and provide free copies of his pamphlet Render Unto Caesar.
The town band will meet at Dulcet’s Music Store Thursday, Feb. 10 at 6pm to discuss the upcoming performance season and maintenance of the gazebo. As several members have expressed the need for new uniforms, a representative from The Uniform Emporium of Akron, Ohio will make a brief presentation of the styles available. All band members are urged to attend this meeting.
The annual cemetery clean-up day has been tentatively scheduled for March 17, 2012, in preparation for the 2012 tourist season. In addition to laborers, skilled stone-straighteners and lichen-scrapers are needed. Refreshments will be provided by the Girded Loin Restaurant. Let’s all work together to make the cemetery a special place we can be proud of!
Mayor Chibble would like to remind citizens that they are requested to remove all road kill from the streets for which they are responsible. According to Mayor Chibble, Sammy “Blue,” who does not own a car, has had to remove one opossum and two fox squirrels from the road near the bridge. If you kill a dog, please take it with you and let’s work together to make our streets presentable.
Mr. Garton Purby reports he has found a pet groundhog and will hold it in his garage for another three days, after which he will let it loose if no one comes forward to claim it. The rodent appears to be a young male, has a patch of nearly white fur on its chest, walks with a slight roll and is wearing an Ohio State sweater. It has done some damage gnawing, therefore Mr. Purby respectfully requests that the owner buy him new hedge clippers. He says people shouldn’t catch groundhogs if they are not going to take care of them.
The Sister of Ruth Cross Stitch Club will meet next Tuesday at the Fields of Boaz Hall (Adelphie Dowd’s basement) at 7 pm. Members are requested not to bring meatballs as there were an estimated 72 meatballs per person at the last meeting.
The Oak tree in Sycamore Park has been examined by a tree specialist from Youngstown who stated that despite its appearance, the tree is structurally sound and there is no immediate danger to the children playing beneath it.
Castaway Books would like to announce their 2012 Be A Castaway Contest, open to anyone 18 or older who wishes to receive the coveted Selkirk Trophy and a cash prize of no less than $200.00. The contest will take place on the island above “Marie’s Pool” beginning May 1 and will continue until every contestant but one returns to civilization. As in previous years, contestants will be given one hook and line, a rusty gun, 2lbs of cheese, a Bible, and a goat. New for this year’s contest, participants will also be allowed toilet paper. All applications are due March 1st and must be accompanied by a signed insurance waiver. The contest is limited to the first six applicants. (more…)
There is no better introduction to a town than through a covered bridge. The car rises, you enter the shade, the bridge rattles and shakes as only a wooden bridge can do, and then you pop into the sunlight and the town is suddenly in view, Sammy Blue’s Bait Shack immediately to the left. with Doc Ghesslet’s office straight ahead, partially visible through the Sycamore trees. Built in 1883 (more…)
Aerial View of the Imaginactory
I sketched this last week and then colored it in Photoshop. Eventually, I hope to have close-up views of each area of town that I can incorporate into an interactive map. I was forced to scrunch things closer than what they are in actuality but otherwise, it’s accurate. The brewery is located just outside of the map, in the trees to the southeast. Abigail said if I didn’t bother to put it in the map, at least have the decency to mention it. Here you go, Abigail.
If you’re interested in maps, visit IMAGIMAPCO.COM
It’s strange how people forget her now that she’s gone, as if she was the same chimera to others that she has become in my mind since she left that morning at daybreak, haunting my days and nights with an image I cannot congeal, similar to the way she faded into vapor as she walked out of my present and into the foggy past. They scratch their chins, repeating the name and shaking their heads as if they cannot recall the bright brown eyes, the warm smile, and the fettered passion that seemed to gurgle and growl just beneath the surface.
“Little Bull” Burson was a youth of much promise before falling from the second-story Burson living quarters’ window and landing on his face. In fact, he was bound to be much smarter than either of his parents and “Big Bull” had hoped that his son would one day take over management of The Burson Company, which is Burson’s Hardware. The unfortunate fall resulted in Little Bull being mentally damaged and twisted his features somewhat to the right, except for his nose, which pretty much stayed where it had always been, though now there was an eye directly above it. And so he has been barred for life from using power tools, an even greater tragedy for the son of a hardware store owner, especially since Little Bull has a thriving business of his own, making and selling knotty pine knickknacks for which Big Bull, who never leaned out a window, does the cutting, the drilling if holes are needed, and the gluing as well since Little Bull eats glue like I eat pudding. The only things he is permitted to use unsupervised are 220 grit sandpaper, steel wool, and tack rags, all of which he dislikes both the taste and texture. (more…)
Gertillia Mayberry backslid one Christmas Eve. Aunt Ada considered her a close friend before the conflagration but afterwards said she had suspected Mrs. Mayberry was a closet sinner, prone to works of the flesh when no one was watching, including a bit of tippling on certain occasions, though she did concede that Gertillia kept her eyes closed during the prayer. Aunt Ada keeps close watch on folks during the prayer, habitually making lists of anyone with their eyes opened, to the extent of putting stars beside the names of people bold enough to send text messages. She gives the list to the elders out of love for the many souls heading the broad way that leadeth to destruction. According to Aunt Ada, she wishes everyone would (more…)
Abigail Padden is always uncovering interesting things at the Imaginactory. The other day she found a box of film, some of it dated as early as the 1920s. Unfortunately, quite a few of the reels have deteriorated beyond redemption. Still, there are at least 40 which seem to be in good condition and it is our plan to eventually convert the footage to digital after attempting to discover the film maker and how the collection came to the Imaginactory. Abigail did successfully convert a short clip from one reel, which I now present to the public. As for the clip itself, I know nothing but being an artist I naturally presume all chickens exist to provide paint for egg tempera.
The imaginactory is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of the Sycamore Shadows Yearbook for 2011, a compilation of every post relating to the town and its citizens published in the past year. The book will be available free to all subscribers of imaginactory.com and for .99 to everyone else. If you’re cheap, subscribe. It will be published in formats compatible with the Nook, Kindle, iPad, and most other readers. (more…)