Saturday, November 26, 2011

St. George...6

St. George, Part 6

My son asked me today if Part 5 of this story was missing, or if he had missed it. I said he hadn't, but when I checked, I labeled Part 5 Part 6, so here's the real Part 6.
            The family arrived at the park just before dusk. The brakes on the big bus squeaked as they applied friction to stop the aging vehicle. This time, the bus was not alone in transporting the small army of performers to the city park a mile from the Larsen’s country home.
            Dad peered out the window and saw the smaller city park alive with activity. Several tables were set up in one corner of the park filled with foodstuffs and other sellable items. People meandered about the tables while kids ran to and fro around the entire park except for one corner of the park where yellow caution tape surrounded an abandoned playground set obviously damaged by the flood. Dad’s eyes scanned further and noticed a makeshift stage and over the stage a large banner gently flapped in the wind. The banner read, “Don’t Blame The Children; It’s Not Their Fault.”
            Following the bus were two minivans packed with children. Mom set the parking break and opened the door. Once everyone breathed fresh air again the large performing group gathered behind the stage and went over some last-minute notes. Each of the children were dressed similarly, the boys wore cowboy jeans and plaid shirts; the girls wore angle-length denim skirts and bonnets. Natalie obviously chose a pioneer theme for the performance.
            As the children met, Dad spoke with MarLinda while walking toward a group of people already assembled around the food tables.
            “I guess Dan and Rodger aren't going to make it.”
            “Nope,” MarLinda said dejectedly. “They called this morning. They said it might take all day to get the animal off that ledge.”
            “Too bad,” dad said. “I think it’s going to be a great show.”
            As dad, mom, MaLinda and MarLisa entered the park, MarLinda let out a cry.
            “Blanch! These are the people I told you about!”
            A smartly dressed woman in her mid-40’s turned at the mention of her name. Once she spotted the family, Blanch hid the apparent shock she felt when she saw Molly, Clarence, MarLisa and all the child dressed as pioneers.
            “Hello, MarLinda,” Blanch said as she greeted her friend. “Apparently, you didn’t’ tell me everything about them.” Blanch turned to mom. “I didn’t know you had so many children…”
            “Why, yes,” mom said blushing. “They are a blessing. I guess all those spirits needed a place to go so they came to us.” Mom’s giggled response garnered attention from a few adults in the area.
            “Well,” Blanch said. “I guess they keep you busy.”
            “Oh, well,” mom said. “They’re not all mine, thank goodness.”
            Blanch looked at MarLisa then shot Clarence a controlled scowl.
            “I take it you’re the father?”
            “That’s me!” dad said proudly.
            “I see you’ve been busy too,” Blanch huffed.
            “Yes, at times,” dad said with a smile. “You see, you’ve got to pace yourself. To make a large family successful, you’ve got to have priorities…you have to know when to have fun, and when not to. Personally, I try to have as much fun as possible.”
            “I can see that,” said Blanch.
            Dad felt a curtness in Blanch’s voice and decided to help the children set up. “I think I’ll go help out the kids,” dad said as he excused himself from the others. As dad walked to the stage, he couldn’t help but notice some unusual looks he received from the adults at the park. Many event goers, mostly women, looked shocked as he passed them, and a few of the men smiled broadly and give him a “thumbs up” as he walked by. Dad had spent some time in Southern Utah, but not enough to understand the strange reaction he was not receiving by the local population. I guess it’s just how they do thing down here, he thought.
            Once the family had all the equipment set up and sound checks on the microphones done, Blanch walked confidently to the stage. Mom, dad, and the kids were all in place with their instruments ready to perform. MarLinda and Marlisa’s children waited backstage for their opportunity.
            “Hello everyone,” Blanch said into the microphone. The murmuring from the audience slowed then eventually stopped as Blanch waited for their undivided attention.
            “I’m Blanch Anderson. MarLinda Larsen and I…” Blanch pointed to MarLinda who stood just off stage and who waved to the crowd at the mention of her name. “MarLinda and I had organized this charity event to raise funds to fix the park. We thank you so much for all you’ve done so far to help us reach our goal.”
            Blanch waited as polite applause greeted the stately woman.
            “And to help us with our charity event this evening, we’ve invited the Fredericksen family from Colorado City…”
            Blanched stopped speaking as Natalie meekly taped her on the shoulder and whispered something in her ear.
            “Really?” Blanch said just loud enough for the microphone to pick up.
            “Um, I’m sorry,” Blanch said returning her words to the crowd. “I guess the Fredricksens are from Salt Lake City.” Again the crowd gave a cautious round of applause through which Blanch could be heard saying under her breath, “…didn’t think they allowed that up north…”
            “Let’s give a warm Southern Utah welcome to, THE FREDERICKSENS!”

To Be Continued...

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