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Thursday November 9th 2017Tim Candler9

 

     It was a pretty day in Saint Barbara, not too warm, nor too cold, sunshine, a light breeze from the west kept aromas from the River Styx at bay. Peepers had emerged from their winter to fill the late evenings with the high trebles that can get on people's nerves, drive them to both drink and distraction. There'd been a Barn Dance to celebrate these signs of spring, Alejandra had made large quantities of her famous Peeper Broth, a sort of nourishing froggy soup with tiny little eyeballs flavored with wild garlic and ginger root, and the Dutchman might have had one helping too many. That morning he wasn't feeling very well as he went about the work of a ticket collector for Saint Barbara's Halt. But, at the Barn Dance while enjoying a whirling boot scoot, it occurred to him that if Rome was going to send emissaries who could read and write to Saint Barbara these emissaries would more likely be high end characters accustomed to the creature comforts, good beds to sleep in, familiar food with proper matching plates, knives and forks, bathing and toilet facilities, as well as things like souvenirs to hang on their mantel pieces at home. None of which were really available in Saint Barbara. And the other thing that occurred to the Dutchman was that high end characters who could read and write were usually accustomed to paying good money for knickknacks and creature comforts. The Dutchman himself was more of an Episcopalian in his choice of God, so he had no clue what a Carmelite might be, rather it was the Emissaries ability to read and write, use really nice stationary, and travelling all the way from Rome that informed the Dutchman's assumptions which as the day progressed melded into a brilliant plan. Rather than sit around waiting for trains and passengers with tickets, he set about building an Inn. And it so happened that the first person to ever earn a wage in Saint Barbara became curious about the comings and goings on the level ground to the east of Saint Barbara's Halt.   

 

Past

     When the Dutchman explained the plan, Young Pudesduckle saw dollar signs and he began to salivate in a most entrepreneurial manner. "I'm all in!" Young Pudesduckle slapped the heel of his shoe in that aggravating way of his, and being effectively the richest person in the county he offered financial assistance. The Dutchman accepted and this was the beginning of the long often difficult relationship of Beek, Pudesduckle and Slattery LLC. The business went on to dominate the hotel and catering trade with it's chain of Yellow Roof Hotels which popped up like poisonous mushrooms all over pioneer country, it struggled a little with the advent of hot and cold running water, flushing toilets and finally went bankrupt with the arrival of things like the electrical grid, coin operated laundries and ice machines. Very fortunately the visitor to Saint Barbara is still able to rediscover the wonders of those early and much happier times, get the flavor, the local color, good times and reasonable rates by spending a weekend in the only existent Yellow Roof Hotel. It's within easy stumbling distance of both Saint Barbara's Halt and Owl's Bar. For those interested, the Slattery in Beek, Pudesduckle and Slattery, was more of an invisible partner. In her book "My Life as a Pioneer" Bronwyn explains in great detail the sin of vainglory and goes on to give as her down to earth example of this mysterious sin how the Dutchman and Young Pudesduckle added Slattery to the partnership because neither could tolerate the idea of their name being the last name on business paraphernalia such as advertizing, stationary and business cards. But I think if there is a point, when Brother Ryan and his two accomplices finally arrived in Saint Barbara, and The Dutchman was finally able to inspect a railway ticket, the county had scented beeswax candles, dried sweetmeats, scrimshawed rosary beads of various kinds, other local crafts for sale, and there were rooms available for rent by the day or week in a Charming Rustic Inn with a freshly painted yellow roof. 

 

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