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"The time has come the Walrus said, to speak of many things, Of shoes and ships and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings - And why the sea is boiling hot - and whether pigs have wings."

Lewis Carroll

 

 

 Trouble, trouble everywhere; disaster's looming nearer.

We're having such bad financial luck. Did someone break a mirror?

 

This is definitely a true story, but don't bother looking it up in the history books. It happened way before they were invented. Once, long ago and far, far away, in a country called "The Kingdom By The Sea," which has long since been obscured by the swirling mists of time, there lived a hardworking, devout man named Guiseppe and his long-suffering, ever patient wife, Guilda. The couple shared a small white cottage with yellow trim and a thatched roof, along with their two little black and white terriers Sic'em and Com'ere. They got their names because they looked so much alike that no one except Guilda and Guiseppe could tell the difference between them. Their livestock consisted of some chickens, a few pigs, a milk cow and a horse. Most of the time they lived alone except when Guiseppe's son, Tyrannious came back home to live with them when he was "between jobs," which, happened a lot, to tell the truth. They often had other house guests with them for extended visits as well.

In fact, on this particular bright and warm summer day, Guilda was too busy to notice the beautiful blue sky outside, for she was changing the beds, dusting the furniture, and scrubbing the floors, in an attempt to tidy up the cottage after their most recent overnight guest, a traveling Monk, had gone on his way. Her neighbor, the Widow Florence, stuck her head through the open window and smiled a wicked smile as she observed, "I see the guest room is empty again. When is the next one arriving?"

"Hello, Florence. Come on in. I wish Guiseppe could learn to just say, "NO," once in awhile," Guilda confided to her robust neighbor. "Every time someone asks him for a place to stay, something to eat, or a loan of a few coins, he never turns them down."  

"Why does he do that? Is he an apprentice Innkeeper, or is he trying out for sainthood?" Florence chuckled.

"He says God put us here on Earth to help people in need, and he always tells anyone who asks that he is sure I do not mind," she answered, muttering under her breath, "not that he ever asked me, of course."

"You must be some kind of a great cook, and a fine hostess too. Your home always looks spotless. It ought to. You clean and polish and scrub on it enough. I do not know how you do it," she said, and then added, "or why. And on top of that, you help Guiseppe run your business as well. Maybe, you are the one trying out for sainthood," she suggested mischievously.

Guilda gave her a venomous look, her black eyes flashing, and thought, "Well, at least my husband is still alive because I help him. He has not worked himself to death like yours did." Instead, she replied piously, "Guiseppe says God rewards those who serve others and do not complain. And, my Mother, Maude Ann says that proper ladies do as they are asked and do not make trouble for anyone. She says that complaining about doing your duty might hurt someone's feelings." Guilda sniffed self-righteously, but she felt very tired nonetheless.

"Better you than me," the Widow Florence proclaimed as she breezed out the door. "I was thinking of booking a room in your place myself. I could use a vacation with someone waiting on me hand and foot, and serving me delicious meals," she chortled, as she walked back to her home next door. In passing, she looked up at the sign hung up over the door of Guilda and Guiseppe's cottage, which proudly proclaimed:

"G & G's Used Chariot Sales

and Glockenspiel Repair"

After Guilda had finished scouring the kitchen floor, she heaved a big sigh, walked outside into the front yard, and started to clean up the old chariot Guiseppe had taken in on trade from a customer the day before. It was really filthy, covered with mud and grime, and she wondered how she would ever get it to shine again. She pushed the stray locks of brown hair streaked with gray out of her eyes once more, retied her apron in place over her ample hips, and set to work.

About that time, she heard Guiseppe calling her name. "Guilda, Guilda, where are you? We are in big trouble," he shouted excitedly as he came across the yard. His silver gray hair was disheveled and hanging in his eyes; his clothes were rumpled and his spectacles were perched precariously over his nose.

"Whatever is the matter with you?" she asked, taking another swipe at the chariot wheel with her scrub brush.

"There are no gold coins left in the pouch. I told Bors down at the Hog's Jowl Inn that I would help him pay his mortgage payment this month. If I do not help him, he will lose the place, business is so bad. How could we be out of money?" he demanded. "I need it right away."

"Well, why are you surprised? You give gold away like it grew on trees to everyone who asks you," she thought, but she checked herself and said instead, "I do not know. What did happen to it?"

"Well, we had better find some more in a hurry because those new chariot wheels are coming in tomorrow and we will have no money to pay for them either. The King will be terribly upset with me if I do not have the parts to repair his favorite battle chariot, and he may stop dealing with us altogether, and if the King takes his business elsewhere, so will everyone else. Before you know it, our income will fall off even more than it already has, and what will we do when that happens?" He was actually wringing his hands as he spoke, but then, he worried about everything all the time, it seemed to Guilda. "Do you not have some money hidden away somewhere?" he asked finally, looking at her with his blue eyes pleading.

"Well, yes I do, but I was saving that for an emergency," she hedged.

"And what do you think this is, pray tell?" he demanded.

So, she stopped scrubbing on the chariot wheel, wiped her hands on her apron, and giving him a sideways baleful glance, she obediently went out back to the fruit cellar, where she had hidden a little pouch that used to be full of gold coins.

"Alas, there are only two left," she told him, as she handed them over with a great sigh. "Now, we are really up against it" she thought. "If only he would not have to rescue every stray who wanders by our door, we would be better off."

Of course, she wouldn't have dreamed of saying such a thing to her husband, for she had been taught by her mother, Maude Ann, that he was the boss, and besides, she believed it was important to act like a lady at all times, and never cause him or anyone else trouble or discomfort. She did not know what mysterious compulsion drove him to rescue people, but she suspected that they never would get ahead, because of the steady stream of folks he met who were always in need. "How do they find him?" she wondered.

He broke into her thoughts with the announcement, "Oh by the way, we are having company for supper tonight. I invited Toadie, the King's new mechanic to eat with us. He takes care of the King's chariots and I want to persuade him to buy all his equipment as well as any new chariots the King might need from us. I thought you would make us a nice big pot of your wonderful chicken soup and your fabulous homemade bread," he smiled lovingly at her.

Instead of muttering, "You might have asked me first," which was her first thought, she melted a bit at his compliment and the warmth in his voice. Quickly stuffing down her irritation, she took out her frustration on a chicken which was scratching around for food nearby. Catching it easily as it clucked past her, hot on the trail of a bug, she quickly wrung its neck, chopped off its head with her ax, and set off to pluck out its feathers so she could put on a pot of soup for supper.

The "pickin's" were truly getting slim, like the chickens themselves, she noticed, as she heated up the kettle and chopped some garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, and leeks to add to the broth. One thing she prided herself on was her chicken soup, and scrawny birds just didn't cut it.

Their business usually did O.K., because they both worked hard and kept long hours, but these were tough times, and she wondered how they would feed themselves, let alone the many homeless, hungry, and desolate types who turned up on their door step looking for food, shelter, clothing, or just a really good bowl of chicken soup. Guiseppe never turned anyone away, because after all, helping people was his spiritual duty, he always said. So, they fed, clothed, and sheltered the needy, found them jobs, loaned them money, offered spiritual guidance, and in general ran "Operation Rescue and Salvage of Wayward Souls" in their tiny village, called appropriately, "Little Village by the Sea."

Once in a while, when Guilda would fall into bed exhausted and bone weary, with the smell of garlic still in her hair and clothing, because she'd been too tired to bathe, she would sigh and think to herself, "How many more bowls of chicken soup will I have to serve before I can rest? When is it ever going to be my turn?" But she had learned as a child that she was expected not to complain because she might hurt someone's feelings.

Sometimes, she was almost on the verge of telling Guiseppe that she needed a break, but she always caught herself just in the nick of time. Besides, Guiseppe always said he loved her and couldn't do without her, and she felt sure he would figure out what she needed soon enough, she hoped.

To be continued.....

Lenny and Jan Antonsson

17178 Highway 59, Neosho, MO 64850 (Snail Mail)

Forward to The Man Who Asked God For a Million Dollars

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter, Two

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter, Three

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Four

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Five

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Six

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Seven

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Eight

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Nine

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Ten

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Eleven

The Man Who Asked God For A Million Dollars, Chapter Twelve

The Glory Road

We always enjoy hearing from you!

jantonsson@aol.com

This site was created on 06/11/10

by Jan Antonsson, Webmeister

and last updated on 10/02/10.