Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tallulah Meets a Woolly Bear (and Conducts a Fruitless Literary Argument with Mrs. M)

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During a stop on a recent Sunday ride, while I was prowling around taking snaps of streams and leaves, Tallulah the Turtle was forming a new acquaintance.
"'Forming a new acquaintance'? Are you trying to sound like Jane Austen?" mutters Tallulah, who is sitting on my desk as I type.
"'Miss Austen,' if you please. And pray, why should I not emulate her style? Was not she a mistress of elegant, rational prose? A worthy example for any blogger to follow," I respond (with some hauteur).
"She was alright, I guess," says Tallulah. "But I don't see why people make such a fuss about her. Her pet tortoise Thomasina* was a MUCH better writer."
"Thomasina the tortoise!" I cry. "Why, all she produced was an unfinished novel with a nonsensical name. Turtles and Tears! Such stuff!"
"Turtles and Tears was a masterpiece in the making!" says Tallulah hotly. "All the reptilian critics agree. If only Thomasina hadn't been run over by a carriage, she would have been a writer to reckon with - much greater than your Miss Austen." 
Oh, the futility of trying to combat an unreasoning literary prejudice! Though filled with just indignation at this slur upon the talents of a recognised genius, I strive for composure, and am presently able to respond in a tolerably dignified tone. "May I remind you, Tallulah, that I am trying to tell our readers about your new friend? Perhaps you'd rather write this post yourself?"
"I thought you'd never ask!" says Tallulah, as she climbs onto the keyboard and elbows me out of the way.

Howdy, readers! Tallulah the Turtle here. Mrs. M having kindly (ha!) handed over the keyboard to yours truly, I thought you might like to hear about someone I met recently. It happened like this:

Last Sunday, after weeks of being stuck indoors, Mrs. M finally took me for a ride. (She claims that her legs have never recovered from the September virus, but I think she's just been slacking off due to the cold weather.)

As we tooled along, I kept seeing these really fuzzy turtles crossing the road. They were few and far between, but you couldn't miss them - all bristly, with black and rust-colored stripes. Plus they were pretty quick on their feet. (Come to think of it, they had an awful lot of feet. More than any turtles I'd ever seen before.)

When Mrs. M stopped for a photo break, she put me down on the road to stretch my legs. And wouldn't you know it, along came one of these fuzzy guys. My lucky day! I couldn't wait to find out all about him. (Enquiring Turtles Want to Know.)

"Hello!" I said. "I'm Tallulah. What's your name?"

"Hi, Tallulah! I'm W.B.," he said.

"What kind of a turtle are you?" I asked.

"I'm not a turtle at all. I'm a Woolly Bear."

"Is that what the W.B. stands for?" I asked.

"No, the W.B. is for William Butler. My parents were big poetry fans," he said. "What kind of turtle are you?"

"I'm a crochet turtle," I said proudly. "One of a very rare breed."

"A crochet turtle?" he asked. "Is that anything like a painted turtle?"

"Not really," I said. "But let's not talk about me - I want to know more about you. For one thing, why are you crossing the road?"

"To get to the other side, of course. Is there any other reason?" (Made sense to me.)

Just then, Mrs. M began making agitated noises.

"Who's that?" asked W.B.

"That's Mrs. M, my chauffeur," I replied.

"What's she getting so worked up about?"

"I don't know," I said. "She seems to be squawking about a car or something...."

Next thing I knew I was being seized and whisked off to the side of the road as a car rushed past at terrific speed.

"What's wrong with you, Tallulah?" demanded Mrs. M. "Didn't you hear that car coming? You might have been run over."

"I was busy, if you must know, talking to the fuzzy guy down on the road." I said. "Why didn't you pick him up too?"

"You know I never pick up caterpillars," said Mrs. M. "I just take their pictures and leave them alone."

"Caterpillars!" I cried. "He's not a caterpillar, he's a bear. Weren't you worried that he might get run over too?"

"Of course I was worried! I worry about all the animals I see on the road. But the car was going so fast I barely had time to pick you up. Is your friend okay?" said Mrs. M, turning me to face the road while she (for some reason) looked the other way.

But I had shut my eyes. "I can't look," I said. "You tell me."

"I can't look either," said she. "I can't stand it when animals get run over."

There we stood, frozen with dread, as the wind rustled the dry leaves on the trees. What would we see when we finally looked down?

To be continued....

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*Miss Austen's pet tortoise is a complete fiction. Don't tell Tallulah.

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  1. Oh I can't wait to find out....did anyone happen to see the driver of that speeding car? And what was that they threw out the window? Hmmm looking forward to the next installment. :)

  2. Oh no! I do hope Tallulah's new acquaintance is okay. W.B. is quite an adorable caterpillar…perhaps there's a crochet caterpillar in Tallulah's future? I'm looking forward to her next post (and in great suspense!)

  3. This is wonderful. Thank you Tallulah and Mrs. M. and a bow to Miss A. I am eager to hear the rest of this story. I do so love little woolly..wooly? bears. I have seen a few in the last days. They make my heart smile.
    Thanks so much. (p.s. i agree that there should be a w.b. crocheted from your capable hands. perhaps there might be a secret love affair and alliance between the two...oh, i do think so.)
    xoxo, e.

  4. What a treat! I guess now I'm going to have to crochet a wooly bear!!! Tallulah size!

    Happy, happy birthday, Susan, dear,
    Happy days will come to you all year;
    If I had one wish then it would be
    A happy, happy birthday to you from me!

  5. Shshsh and hush..this is only for Tallulah's not mention this to Mrs. M. This is totally private..between you and me.
    I am using a very small voice here to you dear T. I think that W.B. is swooningly handsome. And, I did notice that he was casting a very appreciative eye your way. I do think that I heard a bit of a wistful sigh. And if you could and would send a wee message to the most handsome Mr. W.B. please do. It would be can see so very much up high from Mrs. M's bicycle, but think of the wonders he sees on the ground. It's a joy to combine lovely minded people.
    Miss T. think of the cold winter that is coming and that handsome one who could curl up with dream big. Midnight stories and weaving of love. Sigh.
    Love to you both, Miss T. and Mr. W.B. Life is fleeting, each day will never come again..grab it while you can. Love to you both..xoxo.

  6. I like Tallulah's style, short and punchy, rather Hemingwayish. Love woolly bears, haven't seen any here yet. Aren't they a sign of a cold winter?

  7. I retired so my husband got a new bike....go figure
    glad you and T got out in the gorgeous fall weather

  8. Oh Lord I can hardly handle the suspense....... Please let Tallulah's new friend be okay!!!!

  9. The thing is if you both can't bear to look how will you or we ever know? and to be honest I wouldn't be able to look either, the suspense is killing me. :)

  10. Goodness gracious! What has happened to Wooly Bear, T ? Do tell soon please! [I like happy endings by the way] And Sue, taking my cue from Snowcatcher I hope you had a very happy birthday celebration and that God will grant you many happy years to come! xx

  11. Happy Belated Birthday. I do hope Ms. T's friend is ok. I am not sure that I can look either.
    P.S. I am able to put some weight on my ankle now and I started physical therapy. I may be out and about soon. :)

  12. Obviously you are correct in your assumptions, Ms. Tallulah. Animals DO make excellent authors!

  13. Hang in there Tallulah! Sorry I'm late, but I've been in Las Vegas at Interauthor for reptilian critics. After perusing your writing, I feel it fitting you complete Turtles and Tears. Thomasina would be proud. Keep this in mind, J. Austen (a true Austen would be spelled Ahstin) is nothing more than William Wordsworth's alter ego pen.

    Go turtle! Keep up the good work!

    Lee Zard


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