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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thermal warming at it's best!

Thermal warming. Not to be confused with the fear-stirring buzzword—global warming. We’ve heard enough about that one to re-chill the icebergs! Or else make bigger holes in the ozone layers. Astounding, isn’t it? Does man really believe he can change the Creator’s plan, the planetary cycles and processes that have shaped and reshaped the earth from its birth? And this by more political rhetoric we hear only when the election cycle regurgitates yet another do-gooder that, if elected, will save the planet?  Sigh.
Oh yes—it was thermal warming I was aiming to chat about this morning. I’ve gained new appreciation for thermal things, a warm bed in particular. While we enjoyed six lovely days at camp, I slept on an air-mattress in an unheated cabin—at night anyway. The air in the mattress takes on the temperature of the room, and transfers that chill to the body resting on it. Need I say more? Brrrrr!
Layers didn’t seem to help much, on the bed or on me! And believe me, I had enough layers on me to scare the dust-bunnies as I passed by on my middle-of-the-night trek to an even colder spot—the necessary!
It was a lament among many of us—too cold, not enough warm clothes. Funny how you forget from year-to-year just how cold 50 degrees can be. Why, we think it’s a heat wave in April after a frigid NE winter!  Not so in October, when we’re still in July-mode.
So, when we got home, some of us fell ill to sore throats and sneezles, coughs and headaches. I—being one of them—came to appreciate my cozy bed, warm feet and hands, and a warm insulated house!
Turns out that Bic, Ben and Rodney learned a lesson in appreciation too at Pine Acres. You may recall they sneaked away from Miss Winklesnout during the Huckleberry Fair. Their plan was to mimic the Cricket-Clan’s trapeze act that they’d watched earlier, so conspiring together, they decided to hide at the edge of the woods where no one would see them and wait till the all fair-goers left. Then they would play on the ropes and poles to their hearts' content!
Sure enough, everyone left except the crew. The boys hadn’t counted on that! The men worked hard at closing down booths, turning over tables, storing valuables and perishables carefully against the rainy weather forecast. The boys didn’t count on the stage being dismantled and they watched in dismay as all the ropes and poles were taken down and tucked inside of an oak-tarp lean-to.
“Great! What’ll we do now?” Rodney whispered. “Do you know your way back to the cabin and Miss Winklesnout?”
“Psshaw! Of course. We’ll find our way back. I paid attention on the way over here…” Bic boasted confidently as they set out to find their way. Alas, they had come to Huckleberry Fair in the daylight. Things looked remarkably different in the dark and this was strange territory to them all. They set out, however, skirting the edge of the fair grounds, hoping to elude the crewmen still ambling about, before they too headed to their barracks for the night.
“Well now young fellas!” a booming voice startled all three. They jumped back, huddling against each other. “What brings you out here at this hour of the night. Where are your folks, might I ask?”
“Ah-h-h… ummm! That is, we’re staying with our teacher, Miss Winklesnout at the Pine Acres Resort, sir. She left already and we were just finding our way back too.” Ben spoke up.
“And would she have several other young students with her as well…?” the manager questioned further.
“Yes, sir. We are on a class-trip.” Rodney spoke with a tight, nervous voice, pushing his thick glasses up further on his snout.
“And how is it you are not with her now, young man?” Dark beady eyes bore down as he gripped Rodney’s shoulder firmly.
“Do you know what lurks out in that dark woods at night just waiting for luscious, chubby little mouselings like yourself?  Huh? Do you know?” he glared in turn at all three.
Bic looked down at himself. Chubby? Luscious? Harrumph!
“…And you, young man!” the manager let go of Rodney and turned to Bic. “Are you the instigator of this little adventure?”
Bic, straightening himself, clasped his hands tightly and braved the reply. “No sir. I mean, yes sir… that is, well, I guess I am. We thought it would be fun to play on the trapeze and be like the cricket-clan act. We didn’t know it would get dark so quickly…”
The manager stood silently, disapprovingly. All three boys stood waiting.
“Come with me.” The command was absolute and not one of them thought to disobey.
They were shown to a small bunk in the back of the crew’s barracks. “Set yourselves down right there and don’t move until I come back. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes sir…” they said, almost in unison.
They watched wide-eyed and silent as the other crew members lolled about the long table in the middle of the room. Rows of bunks lined the perimeter, and some of the men had already turned in for the night. Others ate at the table, some silently, a few regaling tales of the day. Some glanced now and then at the three boys hunched together in the corner bunk, but no one addressed them.
In a short while, the manager came back with three small bowls of stew and some crusts of bread.
“This is your supper… eat it and then go straight to bed. I will take you to your cabin in the morning when it’s light. No one should be out at this hour and most certainly not three little mouselings!”
So three little boy mouselings clung to each other, sleeping lightly, waiting worriedly for the morning.
True to his word, the manager brought them directly to Cabin 22 at Pine Acres. Tapping lightly on the shoebox door, he waited for the schoolmarm to answer.
“Oh sir! Oh thank you for bringing them back, sir!” she exclaimed tearfully as she spotted the three boys standing there.
“You’re welcome, ma’am. I think these boys have learned a valuable lesson on their field trip. You can take it from here.”  He bowed gallantly and turned to go.
Bic, Ben and Rodney spent the morning sweeping the porch of Cabin 22, taking turns with the tiny pine-needle broom Miss Winklesnout had made to keep their little cabin tidy. Whenever she saw them slacking, all she had to do was look sternly at them. They knew there was penance to be paid and they’d better be at it.
“We will talk about this later… and again with your parents…” she’d said when they first arrived."For now, you’ve work to do."
At suppertime, they all enjoyed acorn chowder and fresh biscuit crumbs from Mama Hare’s gracious hand-out. The boys were exhausted after their adventure, and a near-sleepless night. Not a squeak of protest was heard when Miss Winklesnout announced bedtime. All three boys were quickly in their jammies and tucked snuggly into their warm cotton-batting beds—thermal warming at it’s best!

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