Here’s another installment of my book-in-progress, Grandma’s Masks. If you missed the previous installment on June 12th, click here to read it. Or click the Serial Fiction tab to read all the previous posts of Grandma’s Masks.
The woman wanted to say, “Oh come on, a beaver named Dorothy?” but she didn’t. She was afraid she might offend the beaver. She started to say “Good morning, Dorothy,” but she felt a smile start to break out – this was so ridiculous! So forcing her face into its normal serious lines, although feeling as though she had landed in Oz, she answered lamely, “How do you do.”
The beaver snorted. “Do you find my name funny?” she asked. For such a dumpy beaver, she really had a formidable air about her.
“Oh no, Dorothy is a fine name,” said the woman seriously. She opened her mouth to ask Dorothy the Beaver what she had to teach her, but before she could say anything, the beaver asked, “How do you like my ruby slippers?”
“Oh no,” thought the woman. “This is just not happening.” She looked at the beaver’s feet. Yes, there were sparkly red shoes on the beaver’s back paws. They shone brightly in the morning mist.
“I don’t usually wear them in the water,” explained Dorothy. “I keep them here on the bank. If I don’t the children get them and you know what children are. They’ll ruin them faster than tree bark in the spring.”
The woman’s jaws ached from trying not to sputter with exasperation. “How is this supposed to teach me anything?” she thought. “This is ridiculous.” She looked up to the cliff top where her serious vegetables waited.
“You don’t have much of a sense of humor, do you?” said the beaver.
“You said you had something to tell me,” said the woman, ignoring the crack about her sense of humor, or lack of it. What did humor have to do with anything?
“Laugh,” said the beaver flatly, emphasizing the word with a slap of her broad tail. “This is funny,” she added. “I am a beaver named Dorothy, wearing ruby slippers. And now I will do something even funnier.”
The beaver removed the ruby slippers and hid them in the weeds. She took a blue-checked apron off a nearby bush and tied it around her chubby waist. Out of the pocket of the apron she took a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles and balanced them on her snout.
“Now I’m Auntie Em,” she announced. Dead pan, she looked into the woman’s eyes and paused. She leaned forward and in a stage whisper she said, “Lighten up.”
“What?” said the woman. The beaver sighed. “Subtlety is not your strong suit, is it?” she said. “Okay, listen. You can be anyone you want – a gardener, a student, a beaver named Dorothy. But to be good at whatever you are, you must learn to lighten up. Not everything is serious. And fun may be the most useful thing of all.”
“Now you may go home.” She shooed the woman up the steep and slippery path toward the top of the cliff. “It’ll be easier to climb if you laugh,” she advised.
By the time the woman got to the top, the muscles in her legs ached, and so did the muscles in her cheeks from the laughter pouring from her mouth in a foamy golden stream. A beaver named Dorothy! Ruby slippers! An aproned Auntie Em! Really, too ridiculous for words.
“Yes, but funny,” she said aloud. She looked at her vegetable patch. “Next year I’m planting some herbs,” she said.
And so it ends, or maybe it is just beginning.
be silly sometimes
you may come close to Truth
besides, it’s more fun
Who do you think Grandma wrote this story for? If you check back next Wednesday maybe you will find out.