Live! On The Air!
It's the Yard Yeti Radio Show!!!
Cue the Noon Whistle! That's your subliminal signal, to pull up a chair, throw your legs over the armrest, grab something refreshing from the cooler and tune in...to Me, your favorite Not Yet A Yeti...and my infamous tweeting partner, my pet parakeet Pepper.
"Tick tock goes the clock...time won't stand still. But we can...let's catch up. It's Yard Yeti Time. (my trademark opening line)
I am so excited to be broadcasting today, seated as I am on the stage of the Chautauqua Building, located in the center of the Park and Fairgrounds, smack dab in the middle of our fair city. In lieu of a weather report, I'd rather describe to you the atmosphere of the astounding event about to transpire.
The Chautauqua Building is a gathering place. A large white wooden structure, octagonal in shape, with a shingled roof and a metal spire pointing to the heavens. It is an open air arena surrounded by tall screened windows welcoming and open to the elements, regardless of the season. The wind whistles to and fro across the interior space lined with spacious white wooden tables, seating available for the few or the many. At the front, a large raised stage.
The Chautauqua Building is the centerpiece of the riverfront park. Outside, walking west, a rutted path leads to an oval track and the grandstands. A similar foot worn path lies to the east, parallel to the winding river. A small log cabin sits near the bridge, a historical reminder to this our town and its simple beginnings. A badge of honor to the farmers and the settlers, the first gardeners to till this soil, to plant their seeds and to reap the abundance of Mother Nature's bounty.
If you are very very still, you can hear the pounding hooves of the trotters racing past the grandstands. The roar of the crowd. You can hear the swish swish of long, hand-made dresses and the giggles of children running about. You can smell the tobacco from the pipes of the men lined up along the track, dollar bills in hand.
Follow the path and peek in the screened windows. The tables are lush with homemade pies and cakes, covered dishes, jars of pickles, corn, jams and jellies. The aroma of freshly baked bread and muffins. The scraping of chairs as the families settle in for a good feed and a chance for conversation. Children dance in pairs on the stage, older boys and young girls cast fleeting glances under their eyelashes. Later, as the night air cools, a small band will take to the stage and the dancing will begin in earnest.
Or perhaps, reuniting families will gather together for a group photo. And at last, as the stars begin to twinkle, people will head outdoors into the moonlight, spread their blankets, and lie quietly under the night sky. Babies lulled to sleep in their mother's arms, and tuckered toddlers resting their heads on their grandparents' laps and slipping into slumber. The only sound is the river splashing over the rocks below the bridge and the cicadas singing in the boughs of the trees overhead.
A gathering place. We are gathered. The Yard Yetis and the Yetis-To-Be, like me, are gathered here in this place. How? How did this happen? This reunion. This drawing together of the most mysterious and elusive creatures on the earth?
I have a big mouth.
I whined and moaned and groaned about missing letters in the mailbox. Pen pals. Friends keeping in touch over long distances. Cards and notes and messages and conversation and communication and talking and sharing...you know...my stream of consciousness rabid ramblings. My feathered friend Pepper has the same addiction to uncontrollable and over the top commentary. Hence the Bleep button I keep very close to me while we are on the air. Not to mention the 10 second delay...just in case...of...a...slip up hiccup.
But today? Today?
Today I am almost speechless at the sight before me. A gathering of Yard Yetis. From all over the world. An unprecedented and highly unusual sighting of the most mysterious and magnificent women representing Mother Nature's gardens from tropical rain forests, to the rolling desert dunes, from atop the mountain ranges of South America, to the tundra of the Siberian plains, as far away as Finland, from ivy covered cottages in the Cotswolds, the ebony edges of volcanic ash beaches in the South Pacific, as far as Tasmania and as close as the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Eunice Everlasting, the most highly esteemed Yard Yeti Emeritus, felt sorry for me, so she sent out a signal, heard only by Yard Yetis in the wild, and the response was overwhelming. Virtually overnight, the fairgrounds filled with the beauty and wonder of bouquets of beautiful women, dressed in native garb, their facial features framed in frilled foliage.
Gertrude Golden Wattle from Australia. Sophie Shamrock from Ireland. Trudy Tudor Rose from the UK. Candace Camellia from Alabama. Astrid Apple Blossom from California. Tillie Tulip from Holland. Olivia Ox-Eye Oopsy Daisy from Latvia. Sadie Saguaro Cactus Blossom from Arizona. Tessa Thistle from Scotland. Rita Rosa from Ecuador. Imogene Iris from France. Lolita Lily of the Valley from Finalnd. Corky Columbine from Colorado. Janie Jasmine from Paraguay. Dora Daffodil from Wales. Stella Sunflower from the Ukraine. Misty Mountain Laurel from Connecticut. Petunia Plum Blossom from China. Myrtle Maple Leaf Of Canada. Cassie Camomile from Russia. Flora Flame Lilly of Zimbabwe. Ophelia Orange Blossom from Florida. To name a few of the precious petal-packing prima donnas seated before me.
Lush, languid, loud, luminous and luscious ladies all.
Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! Ouch! Pepper rudely interrupted my reverie with a nasty reminder that I forgot to mention the birds. His flock. The birds of a feather that flocked together. His international counterparts. Because yes, dear friends, no decent Yard Yeti is ever fully dressed without a twittering avian accessory. While the air is fragrant with the scent of wildflowers, the air is replete with the song and the chatter of the birds of paradise.
Petey, the Perky Peregrin, the Divine Davina Dove, Mad Marty the Magpie, William Woodpecker, Esq., Thomasino the Talking Toucan, Kenneth Kiss-Me Kestrel, Ricky the Romancing Raven, Gerry the Giant Ibis, Wild Warren the Whooper Swan, Ollie the Ogling Owlet, Walter the Handwringing Wren, and Andre the Andrean Cock-Of-the Rock.
Andre and Pepper are now engaged in a wing wrestling, beak poking frenzy over which of them has, uh, well, the greater, the bigger, uh, the widest wing span. Andre is in the gold trunks and Pepper is the one in the saggy shorts with the flask tucked in the back. This may not end well.
While the testy testosterone tweeters tussle outside, let's return to the scene before me.
Tables filled with treats and tastes, elaborate florals and yellow wellies...everywhere. Pompous pompadours. Brilliant costumes in every color and hue. Each and every countenance punctuated by the same...o...o...o...oh my oh my oh my oh my...o...o...o...no need for translation or interpretation...the "o" as in wonder.
Yard Yeti Women speak a common language.
The language of the garden. Mother Nature's native tongue.
Yard Yeti Women are opulent, stately and majestic fashionistas.
The fashion of the garden. Mother Nature's palette.
Once everyone settles in, the fun begins with a duck race on the river. Each of the Yetis holds a numbered plastic yellow duck. Together we troop down the rutted path to the bridge. Nellie Nasternium signals the start with the ringing of a bell, and all of the Yetis drop their ducks into the river at the same time. Pandemonium ensues as the women race along the riverbank headed for the finish line. A flash of yellow as Fifi Forget-Me-Not holds the winning duck high above her head. And the winner is...
Ida Impatiens. Who else?
Immature. Impertinent. Impudent. Impulsive. Indignant. In-A-Hurry-Toe-Tapping-Tsk-Tsk-Tsk-Tsking Terror. C'Mon. C'Mon. C'Mon. Ida.
All the Yard Yetis smile as one. Forgiving. A state of grace. These women of every age and every nation know the importance of acceptance and the practice of patience. The importance of peace.
Once the race is won and the dinner din dies down, the sun starts to sink into the horizon. The Yard Yetis gather their blankets and wander out into the park. A satellite photo of their bodies, spread out, head to head and toe to toe, yellow wellie boots on the ground, would appear as a crazy quilt. A patchwork of color. A seamless breathtaking landscape.
They practiced for this moment.
In the pool learning the Yard Yeti Synchronized Swim Team routines.
In the garden, whispering sweet somethings to reluctant bloomers.
How...how do I describe to you what is happening here? How do I impart to you the significance of this festival, the sea of eager, expectant, itching, yearning, ardent faces facing skyward?
The ringing of the bells.
The sound only the Yard Yetis perceive.
A beckoning call.
An away-with-the-fairies assortment of the women of the garden. Under the night sky, where we set our geographical coordinates, by simply raising our eyes to the sky, opening our hearts and holding each others hands.
Hands rough and calloused from Yard Yeti work. The work of tending to, taking care, mending, feeding, healing, building, sowing, reaping, planting, meeting, greeting and letting go.
These are the women who teach. The women who do. The women who have no time for snarky divisiveness. These are the women with a job to do. A garden that needs tending.
The women who championed our right to vote and do.
The women who march for freedom not just for the exercise or the headlines, and if not to the finish line, pass the baton with a firm and encouraging pat on the back to the next generation of Yetis To Be.
The women who want a simple life, in a world where nothing is simple.
The women with the courage to get up and get going each and every day, despite the floods, the famine or drought, because they know that hard work leads to harvest.
The women who help each other up, rather than putting others down.
In the Yard Yeti Garden, everyone is welcome.
The initiation fee is good behavior.
The motto: Practice before you preach.
The time has come when we must say our good-byes. One by one, a Yard Yeti rises from her blanket, puckers her mouth into a tiny o...focuses on a star...and slips right through...to the other side and beyond.
You see, stars are impostors.
They are not twinkling objects or reflected light.
Each Yard Yeti has her own star. Her own infinitesimal entrance into the universe. A celestial gateway to the true light, the light beyond the stars. You may think you witness a falling star, but truly, it is simply a novice Yard Yeti, making her first run, and missing the target. What you don't see, are the older, seasoned and reasoned Yard Yetis, lining up into a constellation, one dot of light after another, pointing the way...Home.
The Chautauqua Building is closed for the night. Time for me to lean into the microphone and say...
"Your secrets are safe with me...except for the ones I posted on the Internet."
You may think this is just an old wive's tale.
Just a grass roots movement.
A story for the birds.
A Not-Yet-A-Yeti-Like-Me leading you down the garden path.
Well, when all those magnificent Yard Yetis vanished into thin air, Pepper fainted. Or maybe he just passed out.
Me? I'm off to the Ben Franklin Store to buy a telescope. Maybe with that and my reading glasses, I might be able to read the skywriting and find an opening with my name on it.
Chapter 11 | Chapter 13