Thursday, July 15, 2010

The View from Vermont

Abbot and I went on our greatest adventure thus far when we got to accompany my maker and her daughter to the magnificent state of Vermont. We stayed with my maker's sister and her children on beautiful Lake Chaplain. The terrain was quite rocky, something we are not accustomed to seeing, and the views over the lake were spectacular.
Curbing Abbot's sometimes exasperating enthusiasm was a challenge. He doesn't understand all the dangers that exist around him. More than once I had to save him from diving into the water, grabbing him by a toe. More than once I caught him sneaking a life vest from the supply shed so he could go sit on the sailboat. More than once I found him standing on a chair with his nose in the freezer because he was too hot. He DID find this wonderful stump by which we posed, all dried out and gnarled from the rough lake winters. Shortly after this photo, Abbot followed a spider to the edge of a cliff and almost went over himself. I had to remind him that spiders cling to walls, even sideways, but woolie monsters would not.

But those antics were nothing compared to the visit to the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory.

We posed for a lot of photos at the factory tour, but the highlight was when Abbot broke away from the tour because he couldn't wait to get the free ice cream at the end of the tour. As the rest of the crowd enjoyed the video on how Ben and Jerry's was created, Abbot twiddled his thumbs. I asked him to settle down, that the free ice cream would come soon enough. Next thing I knew, Abbot was missing! I tugged on my maker's arm and told her Abbot had run away to find the ice cream. Just then the video ended and we were escorted to another room to see the machines that make the ice cream. My maker told me to be inconspicuous and look around for Abbot. We didn't want to get in trouble. I felt like a spy, skulking around corners, looking over my shoulder, creeping down low on my belly. But all that skulking was in vain because Abbot was in plain sight! He was sitting next to a factory worker who was pressing buttons on giant vats of milk and cream and sugar. The factory worker appeared to be explaining to Abbot how the ice cream was made. I was scared that Abbot would be arrested, thrown in the ice cream jail, and be forced to eat ice cream the rest of his life. But worse than that......I wouldn't be with him!

Abbot was reprimanded, but was released on the grounds that he was temporarily insane for being around ice cream. "It often happens," said the factory worker. We then took a walk to the Flavor Graveyard, where flavors that don't sell very well go to be buried. Some of them sounded pretty good to me and I was sad they would no longer be made. Once you're dead, you're dead. Unless you're a ghost.
This needs no explanation.

When we finally got to sit on the jet ski we had to don a life vest. It's the rule. Since we are a little small we both fit into one vest. It was snugly and cozy, and felt safe. And it's a good thing, because the wind blew us off the ski and almost into the water! And everyone knows Abbot and I don't REALLY swim because of how we're made. But we know how pretend very well.
Until next time.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fabulous Fourth

July 4th was almost as large of a celebration since Christmas. Except it was hot, sunny, and there was no snow. I also did not need a parka to be outdoors, in fact, I almost wished I could remove some of my wool. Alas, I know I cannot do that because I know my wool holds my stuffing in place, as well as my heart.
It began, as I wrote in my last entry, immediately upon my return from Little Rock. My maker was working on a painting of a building that would become the backdrop for a parade float. I didn't understand why it was called a float, until I actually got to see it completed and ride on it! Abbot watched me as I painted a little of what would become the grass. My maker was sure not to put too much paint on the brush. It would never come out of my wool, she said. I was very careful as I swished the brush across the canvas, the green paint looking like a cool oasis compared to the hot day.
Abbot, who never takes off his necklace I made him, climbed around the chair we were perched on. He squiggled and squirmed. Sitting still to enjoy painting is not his cup of tea. We climbed off the chair, and just before Abbot took off to chase after the dog, my maker got this photo. The painting was nowhere near completed and she could no longer put up with Abbot's impatience. She shooed him away, and I along with him, and we found something dastardly to do. Shhhhhh.
The parade float turned out wonderfully! It was a scene depicting a park from back in the 1930's. Can you see why it is called a float? It appears to be floating down the street in the parade, if one can overlook the giant red truck that pulled it along, that is. Abbot and I were tucked under the bridge. My maker told us we could be the bridge trolls. I was not sure what a bridge troll was, but I did remember hearing about trolls in the story book about gnomes. I was not sure if being a troll was a positive part for me to play, but Abbot and I took our parts to heart, growling, scowling, and trying to intimidate the crowd. Having discussed this after the parade, we decided we were not even sure if the parade-goers saw us hidden in the green of the plants. They may have been too busy watching the two little boys go fishing for river trout, or watching the boy in his old-time uniform and baseball bat, or eyeing the attractive young lady in her 1930's garb. The painting my maker did was the backdrop for the scene, and the float did get many cheers along the route.
After a good long nap (parades are exhausting) we were ready for a comfortable evening at the fireworks display. Abbot was a little scared, and I must admit, I was too. Everything we had heard about fireworks was a little frightening. Loud noises, bright explosions. What was the attraction to this anyway? We arrived at the park and claimed our seats on the aluminum benches. I had on my fabulous bow that April gave to me, and it was then that Abbot noticed he had lost Stanley. Stanley was the bug he kept in his pocket. Abbot was so heartbroken that I almost couldn't get him to smile. I told him that it was possible Stanley had been found by another monster who would take excellent care of him. This raised Abbot's spirits a little, but he still moped the entire evening.
I looked around for something to distract Abbot. It was then I saw a funny statue in the park. I pointed to it and asked Abbot to race me to it. I know how much he likes to race. It took a moment for him to crack a smile, but as soon as he did he was off the bench and running. He reached the statue first, but offered to let me sit in the crook of the statue's arm. He is so thoughtful. The statue is of a man named Dee Palmer, who has conducted the DeKalb Municipal Band for many years. In fact, he conducted the concert we saw too!
The band tuned their instruments before the concert started and Abbot and I scurried down to the front of the stage. We were a little nervous. From what my maker has said, stage crashers are not often well received. Our hearts pounded in our chests. We didn't want any trouble with the police, so we dashed away from there as quickly as we could.
The band began to play and the sky grew darker. We felt some raindrops and gusts of cool breezes. The crowd was getting restless. Tired children were crying, and many people in the crowd ate hot dogs and ice cream. Older children threw flying disks around in the air, and others carried sticks that glowed in yellow, orange and green. The music was inspiring, and patriotic, and most of all, vivacious. People were clapping and singing, and some even danced. My maker did anyway. But she always dances when she gets a chance.
The sky was turning to black. I don't believe I was ever out of doors in this much darkness. It would have been scary had it not been for all the people around me. They all stood up as the parade of flags made their way to the stage. People put their hands over their hearts and listened to the songs of the branches of the armed forces. Abbot and I did the same. We love the United States too.
Everyone then sat down again. And the band kept playing. But all of a sudden people's head tilted to the sky. There were loud BOOMs and tiny explosive pops that followed. The entire sky came to life with sparkles and glimmering lights that faded after just a few seconds. Then another giant sparkly flower shot through the sky, then another, and another. It was nothing like I'd ever seen or imagined. And though it was loud, Abbot and I watched in awe of the entire spectacle. Abbot grabbed his ears a few times because of the noise, and he even tried to grab mine. I didn't mind the noise. To me, it was part of the show. After the band grew tired of playing, hundreds of shots went into the sky, launching the most amazing sight ever. The colors were so many I could not count them all, and the pops and BOOMs came again and again. After it all ended the whole crowd cheered. And the band played one last song. The crowd stood and sang along with the band a song I came to know was The Star Spangled Banner. A song about the American flag.
What a beautiful display of citizenship, patriotism, and love for life in the United States of America. I can hardly wait until next year.
Until next time.