Aftermaths — House Concert & Groundhog Day

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Quick update on the house concert:
Saturday night was a perfect storm of good weather, enthusiastic promotion, tasty refreshments and a house full of rapt audience members, many of whom were experiencing a storytelling concert for the first time. The spontaneous social hour afterward was a bonus. We’re definitely going to do this again. I’ve already lined up tellers for April. Stay tuned. 

_____________________________

Paula Raudenbush's original cover illustration set the tone for all the other covers that followed. The word "droll" leaps to mind. It's the tone I hope rings clear in these stories.

Paula Raudenbush’s original cover illustration set the tone for all the other covers that followed. The word “droll” leaps to mind. It’s the tone I hope rings clear in these stories.

…and now for a little chuckle to help you through the mid-winter doldrums. This was one of the first groundhog stories, and it’s still one of my favorites.

Groundhog Godmother

Cinderella’s step-sisters were urging her to quit dawdling and start getting ready for the royal ball.

The eldest said, “Cinderella, give it a chance. You’ll like the ball once you get there.”

“Duh, yeah,” said the younger step-sister. “Think of it… all those cute boys from neighboring kingdoms, the best bands, and that dreamy prince.”

Cinderella thought a root canal sounded like more fun than hanging out for a whole evening at a formal dance with her air-head step-sisters.

“Aw, thanks, guys, but I really have mop the scullery floor and alphabetize the spice rack. And look at the garden – the weeds are about to take over.”

They rolled their eyes and said, “All right. Be a drudge.”

That evening, the scullery floor gleamed. Cinderella had the spice rack in perfect Dewey Decimal order. And now she was weeding a row of curly endive.  The night sky glowed with the lights from the palace, and the sound of music wafted on the breeze.  She sighed and wondered if there was anything she might one day enjoy as much as the step-sibs apparently enjoyed wearing skimpy dresses and going to balls.

A voice somewhere behind her said, “You wanna go?  It’s not too late.  I can get you there in under five minutes.”

Cinderella turned to see who was talking. There was only a fat groundhog standing on its haunches nibbling slugs from the beer trap she had set out the night before.

The groundhog licked her paws and said, “I like this beer marinade thing you’ve got going.  Good texture.  Low sodium.  Yum!”  She swallowed another slug and stifled a burp.  “That hit the spot!”

Cinderella stared, dumbstruck.

The groundhog said, “So.  You goin’ or not?”

“Why would I want to?”

“Because you’d be beautiful and enigmatic, all the women would envy you, the men would want to hold you in their arms, and the prince might even fall in love with you.”

“Oh.  I get it,” said Cinderella.  “Like a Nora Ephron movie.  Except that a.) I’m not beautiful, and b.) I’m about as enigmatic as a cold shower, not to mention c.) I don’t even own a dress, and d.) I lack the requisite fairy godmother to put the package all together.  Plus, I just read in the paper that the prince got his second d.u.i…  What a loser.”

The groundhog was nonplussed.  “But they assured me in school that this was just the thing female humans dream about.”

Cinderella said, “I never bought the dream.  Or maybe I lack what it takes to make it happen – the looks, the charm, the clothes, the fairy godmother.  Maybe I’ve just got a bad case of sour grapes.”

“I concede you are somewhat plain and…shall we say ‘disarming’?  No, I think the word is ‘blunt.’  And your clothes are…um…subdued.  But you do have one ace in the hole – so to speak.  While you don’t have a standard issue Fairy Godmother, you do have me.”  At this, she flourished a wand and sent fairy dust flying.

“And you are…?”

“Your Fairy Groundhog, for heaven’s sake!  Isn’t that patently obvious?”

“Uh… Sure. Yeah.  …Um…  Why do I have a Fairy Groundhog?”

At this the groundhog’s shoulders slumped.  “You’re disappointed,” she sighed.  “They warned me.  They said no human with a shred of intelligence would ever believe in me.  I’ll never get to test my magic — to find out if this silly wand does anything besides spit glitter.”

“Who’s this They you talk about?” asked Cinderella.

“My instructors.  The faculty at GAGA.”

“Gaga?”

“Grimm’s Accredited Godmother Academy.  I’m in my last year.  You were supposed to be my senior project.  See, I’m to find a disconsolate ingénue – a martyr, if possible — and wave my wand, do the whole hair/face/wardrobe makeover thing, send her off to a social function and fix it so she finds true love.”

“I’m not cooperating, am I?”

“No. You are not.”

“Okay,” Cinderella sighed.  “I’ll go to the ball.  But please don’t put my hair in ringlets. And no foundation garments.  How ‘bout something simple in black?”

Cinderella’s Fairy Groundhog went to work.  With a wave of her wand, there stood Cinderella, combed and manicured, in a black silk t-shirt and a long black skirt.

Cinderella checked out her reflection in the patio door and said, “All right!” she said.  “This is good.”

“I’m not done,” said the Fairy Groundhog.  “We have to accessorize.  It’s twenty percent of my grade.”

The wand flew.  Ping!  Gold hoops decorated Cinderella’s ears.  Zing!  There was a diamond pendant at her throat.  Ding!  A Gucci bag hung off her shoulder.  Bibbity-bobbity-boo!  Cinderella found herself tottering in a pair of glass pumps with three inch heels.

“Lose the shoes!” she demanded.

“Can’t do it,” said the Fairy Groundhog.  “It’s the test for permanent transmogrification.  The footwear is mandatory.”

“Yeah, well, my ability to walk is mandatory if you want me to go to the ball..”

“Oh all right.” The Fairy Groundhog changed Cinderella’s glass slippers to Converse All-Stars – sixteen hole, lace-up tennis shoes.

“Awesome!” said Cinderella.

“Really?  Hmph. Okay, to get you there and back…  limo or horse-drawn coach?”

Cinderella said, “Taxi.”

Within seconds, a vintage yellow and black Checker cab was idling in the driveway.

“It’s perfect!” she cried.

The Groundhog was about to tell Cinderella to be home by midnight, but Cinderella rendered her speechless by scooping her up and stowing her in the Gucci bag.

The Groundhog sputtered, “What on earth are you doing?”

“I wanna make sure I have somebody to talk to once I get to this social function.”

Well… As it turned out, Cinderella had a ball.  By the time she arrived, the prince had already passed out, so there was one worry out of the way.  Her step-sisters caught sight of her across the ballroom, but before they could get to the other side with their squeals and air kisses, the caterer mistook her for one of his black-uniformed crew.   He sent her off to the kitchen for a fresh tray of escargot.

In this way, Cinderella found herself happily occupied with the courteous and well-spoken caterer, whose sparkling eyes and balding pattern she found utterly irresistible.  Her Fairy Groundhog feasted on snails until she had eaten herself into oblivion.  She snored softly among the folds of the Gucci bag … until the gonging of the midnight clock.

In a panic, she scrambled out of the handbag yelling, “Cinderella!  Cinderella!  The magic wears off at midnight!  Quick!  We gotta get outa here!”

But at that point, Cinderella heard nothing but the flutter of her own smitten heart.  She and the caterer were locked in fond embrace beside the walk-in freezer, sharing love’s first kiss.  A long kiss.  It lasted for twelve gongs.  Then in the silence, a soft “ping! zing! ding!” signaled Cinderella’s return to normalcy.  There she stood — dirt stained jeans and workshirt, fingernails grubby, hair flying.

The caterer stepped back and did a little doubletake. “Cool trick!” he said.  And resumed the kiss.

The upshot of the whole thing was this:

The Fairy Groundhog passed her senior project (with distinction) and graduated from GAGA (with honors), but she never became a L.C.F.G. (Licensed Certified Fairy Godmother).  During her senior practicum she learned with horror that American fairy godmothers have to show up for work with big hair and bad prom dresses. “No way!” she declared.  So she returned to her roots and opened an upscale little underground lunchroom in Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania.  It’s called Mollusks ‘n’ More.  When she’s not hibernating, business is brisk.  Cinderella keeps her stocked with marinated slugs, and her caterer friend is generous with cooking tips and recipes.

All in all, Cinderella’s glad she went to the royal ball.  As a result of that one excursion she is now full partner in a thriving business with her Fairy Groundhog, she’s got a prince of a sweetheart, and that girl owns a pair of shoes her step-sisters would die for.

copyright 1999 Mega Hicks. All Rights Reserved.

About megan hicks

The best parts of my life happen when I pull magic from thin air. That happens with the spoken word. The written word. Reclaiming trash in the material world. It's about recognition. Re-cognition. Learning fresh the truth I've always known. Seeing new potential as a result of a change in context. It's alchemy.
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6 Responses to Aftermaths — House Concert & Groundhog Day

  1. Such a great story! Loved reading this AND the idea of a storytelling house concert appeals to me a lot. I may have to mimic that idea here in Bakersfield.

    Like some of the others, I’m part of the reveal love this morning. I look forward to knowing you more!
    Julie Jordan Scott
    A to Z Challenge Participant/2011,12,13,14…..
    The Bold Writer from A to Z

  2. Hi Megan :) Stopping by from the AtoZ Theme Reveal hop to let you know I modified the link you signed up with to go to your homepage instead of the cat cremation post :) If you’re not participating do let me know (easy link to follow below) so I can delete you from the list, ok? Otherwise looking forward to hearing all about your April theme :) And congrats on the full house!

    Guilie @ The A-Z Theme Reveal

    • megan hicks says:

      Thanks for changing that link. I wondered why I had so many hits on a post about feline cremains. (It is a good post, but I couldn’t imagine the topic had wide appeal.) I’m really looking forward to April A to Z. I sort of have a sort of theme and everything…

  3. Lila Henry says:

    Well there’s Cinderella stories in all cultures, and I guess groundhog culture is no exception! Thanks for the fun.

  4. As always I loved this post and was definitely missing hearing from you!! Congrats on the great success and packed house at your house concert. That is fabulous! I love that you had many new folks to telling as well as a great social time afterwards. It sounds like an all around great evening with momentum to open up a great door for storytelling enjoyment in your area. Good for you for making this happen. I only wish I could come too! Your rendition of Cinderella did the trick in putting a smile on my face and laughter in my belly. Winter definitely needs those sparks of joy especially as of late. Down here in Hampton Roads the snow has literally shut things down and my boys have been home for almost two weeks, so lets just say it has been a bit claustrophobic around here in our small rancher with two teen boys! A highlight for sure was getting to go down to Stories by the Sea and hear Donald Davis tell on Friday and Saturday night in January. Such an amazing event that we look forward to every year, and even more incredible that it is free. My boys have grown up hearing his stories, and we have heard him so many times, but he still surprises us with new stories every time. The man just overflows with stories….what a gift he is! Well I best be off, but wanted you to know how much I love hearing from you and all your great work you are doing. Big Hugs, Rosalee

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