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BATTER(s) Up and a SPOILER Alert!
It’s begun! A neighbor – well, not actually a neighbor, she lives across town. Then again, with a town this small she’s still a neighbor. Her parents live down the street. They also all lived in this very house at one time! But I digress – has already had two bats this year!
So you can BET I’ll be watching even more closely! And! This oddly makes me feel better, she states that if she sees “ONE …… Even ONE more bat,” she’s putting her house on the market! HAH! Not Just Me, Then!
See? SEE?! SCARY!!
As for the spoilers, these are regarding the latest two chapters, Chapter 32 The Encounter and Chapter 33 Things That Go Thump In the Night. From now to the end of the book I will alert you when I’m posting spoilers. So for those of you who want to wait and read the whole thing at once, read no further!
Okay, for the rest: Both of these chapters are based on a true story that took place in this very house. The broken bottle clues, the pulling back of the curtain, the fainting, the releasing, everything.
Not to mention the constant phrases I’ve heard regarding bats when it comes to them going into places where they do not belong.
Isn’t it funny that Hazel thinks the same way I do when it comes to her first encounter and Dot says the very thing that Hazel’s already heard more than once in her brief time in Iowa?
“It happens all the time! After all, bats can come in through holes the size of – ”
“Pencil erasers! We know!” said Hazel frantically as the bat zipped in and out and around.
“Don’t worry,” Dot said soothingly. “In all those times, we never got bitten once. Bats are harmless! Why, he’s more scared of us than we are of him.”
Marlene had said the same thing nearly word for word. Hazel felt a strange urge to laugh, wondering if there was some sort of course in Iowa called, “What to Say in Case of Bat.” She had visions of Marlene sitting in the front of the class, her arm raised in response to the teacher’s question. “I know! I know! An eraser!” she would say.
“A pencil eraser,” Dot would clarify, earning praise from the teacher and dirty looks from Marlene.
This next is from chapter 33:
“I think he fainted,” Betty offered. Everyone looked at her in disbelief.
“He fainted?” said Hazel. She lowered her lamp – and herself – for a closer look. Sure enough, it appeared the bat was breathing, but he was out like a light.
He looked so helpless and small laying there, nothing like the leathery, huge monster that had swarmed her bed. “And he fainted,” Hazel incredulously repeated to herself once more.
“They really are more afraid of us than we are of them,” she said out loud.
I was of course channeling the movie, “Holes,” one of my favorites.And on that note, I wish you a Very Happy Weekend! You’re my favorite!
In the Nick
Chapter 8 WILL be on its way and ready to go! Nina got the last two illustrations done just in time – although there will be THREE illustrations for this longer-than-usual chapter. One of them is from the previous version and based on a true incident of what happened when I first entered this house with a real estate agent. YIKES.
And my long-suffering brother puts up with the near constant changes I make to the text. Luckily for me, I don’t quite know everything that goes into creating the flip book. La-la-la-la-lah!
Also, can you feel the change in the air? Here I sit with my trusty ol’ scarf wound round my neck again, hearing more and more episodes of others experiencing bats via my hub-of-the-neighborhood-postal-working-sister Julie. Secretly, it gladdens my heart (knock on wood), not because I’m happy for others misfortunes, but because I thought maybe the late spring had led to a dearth (which means scarcity. I looked it up) of bats this year. Maybe not! Maybe they are present as ever and the Batman’s second coming did the trick!
Lastly, with advice from my most excellent friend Jennifer Trenary, I am trying to come up with a prize to give away in a drawing for Facebook “Likes” for the Hazel Twigg page. A rubber band? No…a quarter? No…something BETTER. What could be better than a quarter, you may ask? Trust me! I will find it! Details coming soon. No worries if you’ve already “Liked” Hazel. There will be TWO prizes, one for the new “Liker” and one for the Founder of Said “Liker”! That Jennifer is SO SMART.
Happy Monday! Knock on wood…
Et tu, Hospitale?
Naturally, as I regained consciousness more and more and a hint of coral appeared once again on my ivory lips, I was a popular patient with the nurses.
Oh, sure, they pretended they couldn’t find my dainty veins, requiring all sorts of thumpings and tappings as they basked in the glow of my somehow still visible glamour. Or that they need to do all this temperature taking or the python-like squeezing of my arm for blood pressure tests for health reasons, but I know.
They liked me. They really liked me, and they wanted to hang out.
So imagine my surprise, having at least ONE less worry as I slept at night in this tidy, modern hospital when I casually asked during one of these hanging out extravaganzas as two of them pretended I needed help to walk the halls, “Have you ever had bats here?”
“Yes,” one of the nurses replied.
“WHAT?!” I said.
“On this very floor! Several times…I don’t know how they get in.”
“Well,” the other hanger on chimed in, “bats can fit in holes the size of – ”
“A pencil eraser! I know,” I cried out in panic.
“I was going to say a matchbook, but yeah, that too,” she finished.
Later that night I saw one of those nurse culprits peek into my room. “Oh. You’re awake.”
Usually this fact would cause my nurses great pleasure. In fact several times in the middle of the night they would turn on the lights without warning, like a police raid, just to get me up – whilst “pretending” to need to take vitals, but I could see right through them. I know they just needed a dose of Ruth and could not wait ‘til morning!
“What do you need?” I patiently (a pun!) asked.
“Nothing,” the nurse responded. “I was going to get a fake bat and dangle it from the ceiling.”
“At the very least, I was going to come in here and make squeaking noises.”
So. It has come to this. I survive a near death appendix rupture only to die by heart attack.
At least I shall live to see the Greater Rolfe Days Sesquicentennial, which begins tomorrow. Surely you’ve heard of it! Our delightful town of 600 give or take will have Water fights and Scavenger Hunts and Art Shows and a Cemetery Walk and a Tour of Homes and a Bacon Fest, fer’ crying out loud! And the library’s having a Book Sale and there will be dances…it just doesn’t get any better than small town America and for me, it doesn’t get better than Rolfe. I love this place. Bats and all.
Night and Day & the Thief of Thunder
It was a tough day yesterday out on the prairie. I got a new little doggie, which to you non-cowpokes means a new-to-me trusty steed.
The trusty steed was a feisty thing and needed to be handled just right, and not just anyone could ride her.
But I did.
Yessirree, it took some doing to tame her, but in no time at all I was out there roaming the open range, golf course, whatever, with nary a buck once she knew who was boss.
There were dangers overhead, too. The air was filled with eerie swallows, bent on protecting their turf.
Hmm. Looks a lot like a bat. Swoops the same, too. But you know what? I weren’t scared. Know why? Because it was DAY.
Daytime makes all the difference. That’s why all them scary movies happen in the dark. At NIGHT. Can you imagine if “The Shining” took place at a sunny resort?
I ignored the little critters and didn’t even flinch.
A lawn cowboy’s work is never done. I’ll be heading back tomorrow, ready to risk life and limb so you desperados can golf on a smooth surface.
After I took my weary bones home, I heard a distinctive roar across the street, now as familiar to me as the back of my own, lawn-mowing hands. I poked my head out the curtains, expected to see a rugged cowboy like myself. I figured maybe we could swap stories that night over a campfire while eating beans out of a can with our fingers.
HMPF! Apparently, everybody rides riding lawnmowers ‘round these here parts.
It doesn’t matter now. It’s in my blood. I will ride again.
The Batman Cometh
The phone rang. I answered, it being my phone and all.
“Ruth?” the husky voice on the other end of the line said.
“Yes?” I answered huskily back.
“Where are you? You live in Bode, right?”
Instantly I knew who it was, and he wasn’t fooling me, no not for one instant. It was my playing-hard-to-get Batman, finally coming to my rescue, unable to resist my feminine wiles any longer.
“No, I live in Rolfe,” I replied.
Silly Batman. You’re not fooling anyone! You know you’ve been longing for this day!
After he finished his little “I-don’t-know-where-you-live” charade and hung up, I ran around getting the house ready. I had barely spritzed on my favorite bug spray (the mosquitoes are quite bad this year, what with all the rain) when the Batmobile pulled up in front of my house. I ran out the door to greet him.
I could see the grim determination in his jaw as he brushed past me, carrying a tall ladder and his bat-proofing squirt gun. He climbed to the roof.
“You should just burn this house down,” he said as he eyed my loose shingles and peeling paint.
Well, those are the words that came out of his mouth, but I know a marriage proposal when I hear one! I lifted my chin. Two could play this hard-to-get game!
“NO!” I replied.
Then he came down from the roof, and…
It was just like in the movies! And every bit as real! The games were over. Our hearts were clear.
I could see the anguish in his eyes as he said, “Well that does it! See ya!”
Well played, Batman. Well played…I just hope he didn’t plant more bats up there just so he could see me again.
And thus ends another Romance in the Life of Ruth.
Try the Chicken!
First off, I would like to apologize. I think the copious amounts of rain we’re getting is my fault. Know why? Because when I finally reached my bat man, my house-proofer of bats, he said he would come as soon as there was a few days without rain in the forecast. Ever since – even though Iowa had been in a drought for a year and a half before – we’ve had rain in the forecast. Every three days.
At first I was proud. Behold! I have ended the drought, kind of! But enough’s enough, mate!
Secondly, I would like to close with a joke I made up in celebration for when I was in the giddy euphoria of having finished Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway. Wanna hear it? Here it goes.
If a man screams, and he’s surrounded only by acres and acres of corn, does he really make a sound?
Thank you! Thank you! I’m here ’til Thursday! Tip your waitress!
Lost Doll Sally Silver
I’ve been blessed. I’ve been blessed! So far.
And as a leap of faith, I’ve told Sweet Sophie that she no longer needs to watch over me, that it’s time for her find a new home. As a refresher, Sophie happened to arrive just as my bat extravaganza was going full force. Due to her kind nature she decided that I was the one who needed her most so she vowed to stay with me until I was one season Free of Bats.
But I am tired of being afraid! Therefore I’ve been urging Sophie to go. She is still reluctant. Remember her friend? The one who was hiding with her under the blanket? She stayed by Sophie and my’s side this whole time as well. Now she is leading the way for Sophie: she is going to leave the bat’s lair – er, the Hideaway – first.
Meet Sally Silver. While she is much smaller than Sophie and not quite as showy, she is every bit as sweet. If Poor Edith from Downton Abbey had been a poor American child of the depression era, an American middle child, never quite out of the shadow of her older and younger siblings, Sally Silver would have been her doll.
You can see that Sally was never an expensive doll. Her tin eyes don’t have eyelashes, and she’s been crudely carved at her limb and body seams and her teeth are only painted on. But like many of her simple sisters, her composition has held up better than some of the best!
The back of her mohair wig has been worn away, probably from the countless nights she spent laying beside her little human at night, sharing secrets and whispering into the dark, her sweet dimples never leaving her face even as she soothed fears and broken hearts.
But little girls don’t stay little girls forever. The human little girls, at least! Little composition dolls do. It’s the way of the world. Somehow over the years Sally was forgotten; she was Lost. It speaks volumes for her that on the brink of finding a new home, of being loved by a little girl again, she opted to stay by Sophie and therefore my side. She’s become comfortable here. It speaks volumes more that she’s now ready to take that first big step back into the world.
So here she comes! Sally Silver is emerging from the shadows! Her clothing, complete with a satin-lined coat and hat (to protect her remaining mohair curls) and red dress with matching leather shoes were made for her by me and have been carefully preserved. She is donning them again!
Sally will make her debut on ebay this Sunday under the seller’s name of hazeltwigg. Find a good home, Sally! I will miss you more than you know. – Ruth
First off, at my brother’s helpful and “knows me” suggestion, I’m going to use these next couple of days to simply practice with the Ustream and get the lighting and angles right. So, Monday!
Second off, there I was INNOCENTLY checking the weather on weather dot com, when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a PHOTO!
“Why, what a pretty constellation!” I thought to myself. “So unusually colorful and festive…” (I am not the brightest of bulbs)
But then I saw THE ARROW. And the DREADED WORD that indicated what the arrow was pointing TO. BEHOLD!
Bats! It says BATS!! Captured on radar!
Et tu, Weather.com?
Because, HMPF! I won’t be checking the weather again any time soon! Besides, they say it’s cloudy and it’s POURING out.
Whiter Shade of Pale
WHAT WERE MY BROTHERS THINKING?! Of course, these were the same brothers that when we were kids kindly offered their sister a piece of candy, which was highly out of character. “Wow! I can’t believe they’re being so sweet to me!” I said to myself as I took the candy and popped it into my unsuspecting mouth to their guffaws of laughter.
Not so much. They had done something to the candy. I won’t be indelicate here, but it involved bodily gas. YOU do the math.
THOSE brothers. I see. And now they want me to do live broadcasts every day. No problem!
I am an actress and have been somewhat successful in the past. Why, in Sebastopol, California I could hardly walk the streets! But this. THIS. Turns out performing in a play where you have lines and a character is a LOT easier than being frazzled with a stye on your eye and technical difficulties (blonde indeed!) that give you less than 10 minutes to put on make-up before curtain.
And the morning started out with so much promise, too! “Hmm…” I wondered after the making of my eye patch went so smoothly. “Whatever shall I do whilst I wait for 11:00 to roll around? Mayhaps I’ll have time to exercise my trusty sidekick Teddy. Should I have flowing curls in my hair or go for a more saucy, tousled look? The possibilities are endless. All I need to do is set up this here camera and I’m free for a few hours…”
Ooh! That’s right! NOT a technical genius! I thought my worst problem of the morning would be my messy sewing room, which I’d decided to embrace. Instead I was toiling (and failing!) with the camera with minutes to go and barely had time to slather some lipstick on! And a fifteen minute broadcast. It’s a LOT longer than you’d think. Good heavens for all that is mighty, I think I even sang the alphabet for the last few moments just to make it to my goal. The alphabet!
But I did it! Ish. However, the thought of doing it again today and the next day and the day after that filled me with dread. ANYTHING seemed better than doing that again! Anything!
Then I saw a ray of light.
It was coming from my attic door. Hah! I would still rather do a broadcast than face a bat in the dark of night. Note the pencil in the keyhole. As I’ve been told countless times, “Bats can fit through a hole the size of a pencil eraser.”
Along the top of the door is one of those draft thingys that usually go beneath, but the gap’s above! I had it up last year and STILL had bats. Hopefully that pencil will do the trick.
So I’ll try again today. There’s no place to go but up – although knowing me I can find a place to dig.