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There resided in Joyville, a young man named Fibber Lygood. He combed his brown hair into a big wave. This wave sometimes fell below his eyebrows. His brown eyes sparkled when he talked to young people. He motioned with his hands, changed tones of his voice, as he related events in his life. As he talked, children would see Fibber flash a smile, then appear as though his thoughts were from another time.
It just happens that this month people are preparing for Christmas. In the Joyville Park, children are at play except for one group that had become idle. Becoming aware of this, Fibber walked by the four youths.
"What's the problem here?" Fibber asked, "why aren't you having a good time?"
Betty's blue eyes glanced overtop her eyeglasses. Her short blond hair tried but failed to hide the right side of her face. She said, "we heard that we might not get any gifts for Christmas this year."
"Yeah," said Bobby as he looked down, his right foot scraping the ground. He reached up with his left hand to scratch his ear. His brown curly hair was good at causing his ears to itch. He said, "Because maybe there isn't any Santa Claus."
Fibber bowed his head nearly to his waist. With both hands to his stomach, he shook with laughter.
"We don't think it's funny!" Sue said, trying to stop her crying. Her black pony tail was about to become undone. Sue had a habit of running her fingers through her hair when she became upset.
Winding down from his laughing, Fibber said, "It sure is funny to me!"
Jimmy had his mouth closed with his bottom lip pushed upward. His frown looked as though it didn't get put on straight. His ruffled red hair poked out from under his ball cap that had been placed on backward. His brown eyes narrowed as he said, "Sure is funny, heh? Why is that?"
"Because of my experience last Christmas." Fibber explained, "My, I thought I had told everyone. Didn't you all hear about it?"
"No." Sue answered, using the back of her right hand to remove a tear. "What happened?"
"I actually saw Santa Claus in person." Fibber said. "Yeah, we can too" said Bobby, "all we have to do is go over to the department store." Fibber said, "You won't see the real Santa.
There is a reason why Santa doesn't like for people to see him in person. Everyone knows that a lot of people like to be Santa helpers during Christmas season. Ahh, it's too bad you four weren't with me last year when I went after my Christmas tree."
"Why is that?" Jimmy asked, "what made that so different?"
"Well, I wanted a Christmas tree that was perfect." Fibber said, "I had decorated and strung lights outside our home. I shopped at all the places that had trees for sale. I couldn't find one that was close to what I wanted."
Fibber sat down on the seat of a swing so he could better face the young people. Also to put a little more distance between himself and Betty.
You have to watch out when you are around Betty. She always has bubble gum in her mouth. Some times it is just resting under her tongue. She likes to sneak behind her friends. The plu ... KRAK! It was fun watching people jump!
"So, what was wrong with the trees?" Betty asked.
"Some trees were either too fat or too slim."
Explained Fibber, "Many trees had limbs too long or too short. Then there were trees that had limbs either too close together or too far apart."
Sue asked, "Then where could you find a GOOD tree?"
"I had recently got my driver's license." Fibber began, "so I used my lawn mowing money to buy an '87 chevy station wagon. I drove out of the city and stopped at a farm. After I talked with the farmer for awhile, I gave him money for a tree. I drove down an old sawmill road that was covered with snow and ice. The road led deep into the woods. I saw a few nice trees but I kept driving along. Then, out all by itself, was a beautiful tree!
I used a chain saw to cut it down. I put the tree on top of my car, tying it to the carrier. As I tried turning the car around, the back wheels began spinning. Before you know it, the car bottomed out. I couldn't get it to go backward any more, or go forward."
"Why wouldn't it go?" Jimmy asked.
"Because my car doesn't have four-wheel drive." answered Fibber.
Bobby asked, "Did you call for help?"
Fibber said, "I didn't have a cell phone with me. It wouldn't have done any good for me to yell. It was miles from where anyone lived."
Betty asked, "So you had to walk all that way out?"
"By this time," said Fibber, "it was too dark. The clouds had swallowed the moon, not allowing light to squeeze through. I had a flashlight, but it made only a glow. The batteries were run down. The bad part though, this happened to be Christmas Eve. It looked like my Christmas was going to be ruined."
"How awful!" said Sue. "What did you do?"
"I figured I'd have to stay in the car until morning. About this time it started to snow. An hour later there was so much snow on the ground that the road was now out of sight! Another hour later, I thought I must have been asleep and was dreaming ... I heard sleigh bells jingling. Then reindeer and sleigh landed just twenty feet from my car! Santa walked over and motioned for me to roll my window down."
"Well!" Betty said, then she asked, "what did Santa say?"
"He said, 'Fibber, you need to get home. I'll help you get there.' Then he walked back to his sleigh."
Bobby asked, "What did Santa do then?"
Fibber said, "Santa unhitched the reindeer from his sleigh. He then tied the lines to the front bumper of my car."
"That would work!" Bobby said, "So the reindeer pulled your car all the way up the road."
"No," said Fibber, "He did better than that. He told me to scoot over into the passenger seat. Santa got in behind the steering wheel. He made a strange humming sound. The reindeer reared, we were pulled up above the tree tops!"
"SUGAR my GRAPEFRUIT! Jimmy exclaimed. He asked, "Could you see anything below?"
"Yes, it was then that the moon escaped from the clouds." Fibber said, "Has anyone ever told you that a family of bobcats live in Echo Valley? In a creek, a raccoon was playing tag with crayfish. A black bear was eating a honeycomb. I had seen him take it from the hollow of a beech tree. Near a field, two shocks of corn were leaning against a rock pile. I counted ten whitetail deer walking up that way. A fox and a rabbit were in a race, speeding across a meadow."
Sue said, "That must have REALLY been something!" She asked, "Was it like riding in a plane?"
"Not exactly." Said Fibber, "It didn't hit any air pockets like the small planes do. It felt like riding on a flat, smooth surface."
Betty asked, "did you see other stuff as you looked down?"
"Yes, I could see the lights of Joyville" Fibber said, "I counted fifteen young people on Sled Away Mountain.
They were using inner tubes, snow boards and cardboard boxes. If only they had taken time to look into the night sky. They would have seen the sight of their lifetime. We flew right above them!"
"What else?" Bobby asked.
Fibber said, "A horse was drinking water from a pond. Through the open doorway of a barn, I saw two milk cows."
Jimmy asked, "Did Santa take you right to your home?"
"No," Fibber answered, "Santa took us in for a landing on a wide area of the interstate highway. In fact, it was right at mile marker twenty-two. Then ..."
"I know where THAT is!" Bobby interrupted, "we go past there on the way to my grandparents!"
Betty asked, "What did Santa do next?"
"Santa untied the lines from the bumper of my car. He than got astride a reindeer he called Donner. He could now return to get his sleigh. Before he left, he said, 'you can now get your tree trimmed for me. I'll be at your home later tonight. Just make certain that you are asleep. Remember: For a gift to be special it has to be loaded with surprise! As you would expect, I was careful ..."
Sue interrupted by saying, "I'm going over to the department store!" As she hurried away, she said, "There's a lot to look at!"
The three remaining youths quickly followed Sue.
"Hey!" Fibber shouted, "Don't you want to hear what all I got for Christmas last year?"
"Not now!" Betty answered as she glanced back over her shoulder. "We want to look at TOYS!"
In Joyville, young people anxiously awaited the annual Easter egg hunt. They yearned for baskets filled with candy and gifts. Abruptly, a day turned sour when four young people fell into despair. Once again, it was Betty, Sue, Bobby and Jimmy. When this news reached Fibber, he went to talk with them.
Whistling an Easter tune, Fibber stepped high, as in a marching band. Wobbling his head coaxed his hat into bouncing in time with his music. No one else has had a hat like THIS one! Oh, people at political rallies have little hats that LOOK similar to the kind owned by Fibber. His hat has a flat brim. THIS one has checker board squares in multi-colors. No, this isn't the only difference!
As Fibber approached the children, he asked, "why are your spirits cast down?"
Betty answered, "because we heard that there is no Easter Bunny."
The four youth watched Fibber's reaction. His eyebrows scurried about as ants disturbed from their hiding place. He parted and closed his lips in silence. His jaw trembled, his head jerked to the left, then to the right.
"No Easter BUNNY?" Fibber asked, He said, "I see why you are sad. You SHOULD be upset when you hear a tale like that! Those people should have a talk with me. If they know so much, perhaps they can explain a mystery that happened. Have you noticed my hat?
Sue said "I can't take my eyes off it!" She then asked, "but what does that have to do with anything?"
"Everything!" Said Fibber.
With his left hand, Fibber twirled his hat. The hat arose as a helicopter, going high above his head. As Fibber stepped aside, his hat settled on his head as a hen on her roost.
"CURDLE my MILK!" Jimmy said.
"As you can see," said Fibber, "this hat is very special. Two years ago, I imagined this hat I'd like to have. To get such a hat, only the Easter Bunny could deliver it."
In doubt, Bobby said, "so on Easter, your hat just HAPPENED to be in your Easter basket."
"No," said Fibber. "When I got out of bed, I discovered that my basket was empty! The Easter Bunny hadn't left me so much as a blade of paper grass. I couldn't understand why he had passed me by. Especially since I had written him a letter telling what kind of hat I wanted, I mailed the letter to his address which is on Easter Island, so there was no way he couldn't get it!"
With a frown, Betty said, "well, you got your hat! It's snuggled on your head!"
"That's true," Fibber said, "yet there was cause for me to wonder. That morning, I was sad, but when I learned that the Easter Bunny hadn't left anything for the child next door, I sat down and cried, I ..."
"Uh ... Huh!" Bobby said, "that PROVES that there isn't any Easter Bunny!"
"It did appear that way," Fibber agreed. He then said, "we need to understand an important point though. Disappointment always wears a cloak of reason. What we some times believe, can be like trying to find caterpillars while overlooking butterflies! Knowing this, I decided to take a long walk.
I followed a path through the woods. I came to a creek where I sat down on a rock. Sitting quietly, I watched mosquitos dive and kick the water. This was their way of teasing the fish. A gray squirrel scampered by and leaped upon my right foot. He remained there for half a minute. He then ran up the side of a hickory tree. At last, the sun had made its way across the sky and started down the other side. That's when I began walking back toward home. As I neared city limits, I heard someone call my name. I stopped and looked but I didn't see anyone. I started to walk once again and a voice said, 'Fibber, look to your left. I'm hiding behind this maple tree.'
His arm was outstretched, as pointing toward a blackberry patch. 'Over there are gifts for you and the child next door. I must hurry, I'm still looking for more cargo.' Then I knew! I asked why he had to SEARCH for gifts. He said, 'I had a huge load when I departed from home. My deliveries were almost completed. Then I noticed that many packages were missing.
They had tumbled off my wagon as I traveled this bumpy road!' He said that from now on, he would have helpers. "This had been such an ordeal for him this time."
"So!" Betty said, "did he look like an ORDINARY rabbit?"
I couldn't see that well." Fibber answered. "among the clouds, the moon kept playing peek-a-boo with me. Also the Easter Bunny did such a swell job of blending in, it was almost like he is invisible. I saw only a portion of his side. I'd say his height would come to just above my knees. As he moved farther away from me, I wasn't sure if he was LIMPING or if he was HOPPING."
Jimmy asked, "what all did you find?"
"As I walked along, I saw this hat lying upside down on a log. Inside the hat were two candy eggs and two bags of jelly beans. Beside the hat was a paint by number art set and a kite. The child next door and I will NEVER forget that Easter!"
With a smile, Sue said "I'm going home and color eggs!"
"Me too!" Betty said.
Bobby and Jimmy followed
Fibber resumed his whistling as he slowly walked in the opposite direction.
Jimmy stopped and turned around. "Hey! Wait!" he said "you mentioned something about a mystery!"
Fibber said, " a mystery? Yes, there is one!"
Fibber walked back to the group. Extending his hat, he said, "everyone admires my hat. They all say it surely is brand new. Look at it closely. Does it look like it has just come from the factory?"
All four youths nodded in agreement.
"Well," said Fibber, "this hat was made by a company that went out of business way back in the last century!"
Tossing his hat from hand to hand, he said, "I really appreciate my hat."
With a quick turn of his wrist, Fibber threw his hat. As a frisbee, it cut the air in direction toward home of the youths. With expectation, the four youths gave chase, each hoping to win the hat for a prized possession. Alas for them, as a boomerang, the hat circled and returned into the waiting hands of Fibber Lygood.
Easter Island has faxed a special report. Their statues are endangered of being buried under mail to the Easter Bunny. Number one on every list is for a hat just like the one worn by Fibber Lygood.
In Joyville, it was time for an annual event to begin. Soon as Spring kicks Winter aside, excitement charges the air. Young people are joined by their older relatives on nature tours. The object is to find the most unusual or strange item. Such as a rock, plant, flower or even a bug! All entries are judged, alas, the task is always too difficult. This way, EVERYONE is declared a winner! So all the young people get money and a free pass to the summer circus.
Leaning against a lamp post, Fibber Lygood flipped a gold coin from one hand to the other.
The nature group came near to Fibber.
"Tis a fine day to be lookin' for the most unusual, isn't it?" Fibber said to no one in particular.
"That it is." Said Sid Wellstone. Sid wore his new bib overalls and old straw hat. His eyelashes kept swiping his eyeglasses. "Care to join us?"
Fibber said, "I started MY nature hunt quite some time ago. It was just before last St. Patrick's Day. That was when I was over in Ireland, you know. When I didn't find what I was looking for, I came back home to search here."
Fibber placed his left hand into his right shirt pocket. He pulled out a small leather pouch with a draw string. Five gold coins came from the pouch.
Excerpted from FIBBER LYGOOD AT CHRISTMAS EASTER AND ST. PATRICK'S DAY by Carl W. Sypolt Copyright © 2006 by Carl W. Sypolt. Excerpted by permission.
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