Read an Excerpt
"What! I don't believe it, " Jim Small said, as his son Andrew read him the news he had just received.
"Dad, it's true, I won. I entered a contest that came listed in my Scouting Magazine and the letter says I have won a trip to CooperHill, England."
Jim Small smiled, then started to laugh. "Why on earth would you enter a contest called Running the Cheese?"
Andrew looked a little sheepish. "Oh, I don't really know. I've never won anything in my life and I thought it sounded so bizarre and interesting that I'd try. The entry asked why I wanted to come and participate in one of the oldest forms of entertainment in Britain. I thought 'Running the Cheese might be a druid ritual, and after our success in finding Queen Boadicea's treasure, that it might be interesting to go back to Britain."
Dorothy Small came into the kitchen and heard the last part of the conversation. "Who's running what? Did you say cheese? That sounds like it could turn out to be a horrible mess."
Michael was in the livingroom watching television, but the word treasure made his ears perk up and he had to find out what was going on.
"Did someone say treasure?"
Andrew laughed. "No, but we did say cheese. Would you believe that I won tickets for two to go to Gloucester, England, to a place called CooperHill to participate in an old ritual called Running the Cheese?"
Michael didn't know if his older brother was pulling his leg or not. "That sounds crazy. Who runs after cheese unless it's mice?"
Dorothy laughed and then all of them burst out laughing. Georgina and Meghan came into the kitchen to see why everyone seemedto have gone crazy.
"What's happening? Why is everyone laughing over cheese?"
Jim put his arms around his two daughters.
"Don't mind us; it's just something that Andrew told us about. Would you believe he has won a contest?"
"Has he really? What is the prize?"
Andrew by this time had wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes. "Prize, oh that's explained in the letter. I get to keep four seven pound cheeses that survive the downhill racecourse at CooperHill in England."
"Well, you have to be loony. I'd never want to run up or down a hill chasing after a wheel of cheese," Georgina said, although she started to break up laughing.
"Andrew, you are the only one I know who would enter such a silly contest," Meghan said, and then she started to chuckle. "Running the Cheese. Wait until I tell Jennifer."
"Come on, lets look it up on the Internet," Michael said and the four children raced upstairs to where the computer was set up."
Dorothy hugged her husband. "Sometimes I wonder about this old world. But this certainly is funny. Why Andrew entered such a contest is beyond me.
However there is something to be said about winning four wheels of cheese.. That's 28 pounds. Let's hope it's a mixture of mild, old and ancient cheese."
Jim laughed. "I guess we'll just have to see. So this place is in Gloucester, I think I have a relative living there. I've not talked to him in years and to tell you the truth I'm not sure if Uncle Archibald Mallock is still living. He was getting on when I last saw him and that's nearly ten years ago. Perhaps I could write him and see if he's heard of such an event."
Dorothy laughed again. "When I married you I didn't think I was marrying into such a lunatic family, but I guess I was wrong."
"We're not all loonies, just some of us, but hey it's worked so far. We have two bright and beautiful nine-year old girls and our sons are doing remarkably well. It's hard to realize that Andrew is almost as tall as I am. Michael will be in high school soon too. We haven't done badly."
"I know we haven't. But it does seem that every time I turn around the children are involved in yet another mystery. This Running the Cheese smells to me like it could turn out to be another one of their adventures."
"You are being too sensitive. Perhaps it's your educated sense of …"
"Smell?" Dorothy questioned. "Something smells and it's not in 'the state of Denmark'."
"Remind me to tell you 'I told you so', when we find Running the Cheese runs us into something totally unexpected."
Copyright © 2005 George W.J. Laidlaw