Saturday, January 07, 2006

Send In The Clowns

Miss Deb & Nyssa (Click pictures for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"A clown sees life simply, without complications." ~ George Bishop
This was a birthday party; Lori D.'s party to be exact. Her birthday is the day before mine, or is it the day after, I forget. At any rate, Lori was Nyssa's best friend and next door neighbor for a time. She wanted to have a clown party; a clown spend-the-night party. So, I made clown suits for both of them; the others who came were on their own.

Miss Deb, or Dr. Deb was our neighbor across the street. She reminds me a lot of Vicki. They are both counselors by profession, quirky yet down to earth and incredibly diverse in their talents. Her favorite color is purple and she wears purple a lot, even though she is not yet an "old lady". She has an antique loom set up in one half of her living room and a ten foot tall ficus plant grows there as well. She collects teddy bears and all things purple. She tends to pick up stray animals as I do. Currently she has a long-haired dachshund named Echo, a mixed breed big black sweetheart (has to have some Great Dane in her) named Story and two misfit black cats named Shadow and Bitty Kitty. She scuba dives and loves to travel around the country visiting lighthouses. As you can see above, she also does a clown routine.

The girls had a great time at the spend the night and on Saturday morning, Deb made all their faces up in clown make-up. She told funny stories as she worked and we did a picture session with them in their make-up and clown suits and funny wigs. She taught the girls how to make balloon animals, they had a balloon pinata and of course the obligatory ice cream and cake.

Send in the clowns: Cassie, Lori & Nyssa.

Parties tend to have no specific ending time in Mississippi, it's just over when it's over; when the mothers start to come and pick up the kids then it ends. On this January day at around noon, it started to snow. Not the usual flake here and five minutes later, a flake there that normally happened during a Mississippi snow storm; but a real honest to goodness snow storm. The flakes were large and fluffy and wet and the sky was filled with so many that you could hardly see the house next door. By two o'clock when Cassie's mom arrived there was almost three inches and another inch on the way.

The girls went wild. They bundled up into winter coats and old boots found in the back of closets and hit the yard. Nyssa didn't bother to take her clown face off. They built a snowman, well at least a little one and as seen here, had a snowball fight. In all, around four inches fell that day. It was cold. People started fires in fireplaces and the smell of burning oak was in the air.

As if this were not enough excitement, suddenly the sirens of fire engines were heard and flashing red lights appeared at the end of the street. They kept heading in our direction. The truck stopped two doors down across the street and that was when we saw it; the stream of smoke coming from the back of the neighbor's house. We thought it was just the fireplace going and in a way it was. A chimney fire. A fire in the fireplace caught the soot and sap on the chimney walls on fire. Neighbors streamed out of the houses in the snow and as the volunteer fire fighters put the strange fire out, we gathered for conversation and to see if anything was needed. The kids, at first entranced by the fire engine, soon went back to their snowball fights.

Soon enough the fire was out, no major problem with the house or its contents. The snow stopped and the kids, thoroughly soaked and tired returned to their respective homes for a hot bath, hot cocoa and an early bedtime. Alas, the night air warmed and poor "frosty" snowman began his melt away such that by early Monday morning all traces of his existence save the carrot nose and rock eyes were gone. Only the memories of an exciting birthday celebration remained in the pictures of children with strange painted faces, playing in the snow.

(end of post)

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