Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Giant Fleas and Powdered Donuts

I'm reading Bedknob and Broomstick by Mary Norton to Bailey. It is the book on which the Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks is (loosely) based. Great book. Great movie. Two completely different stories with the same premise.

To begin before the beginning, the story features one Paul, a five-year-old. At one point (before the begining of the story, as I said) Paul's older brother and sister had gone to a natural history museum and seen an enormous model of a flea. Poor Paul had missed the trip, and hence missed the flea. Of course a child of that age feels that his life will not be complete if he doesn't see that giant flea.

Jumping ahead, Paul is given a present from a witch: a magic bedknob, which enables Paul's bed to take him anywhere, anywhere in or out of this world and also back in time. Naturally he and his brother and sister are anxious to try out this new magic. But it is Paul's bedknob. Only he can use it. Given the opportunity to go anywhere, where does he want to go? To see the giant flea.

When I was about Paul's age, I always went in the summer to my grandparents' farm with my older brother. One day while visiting the farm I was tired and needed a nap. So I stayed with my grandma in the little trailer where they lived while at the farm and napped. When I woke-up my brother told me that he had gone with my grandpa to a man's house. Apparently the man's name was Martin. My grandparents and their farm-neighbors come from the old stock of rural Utahns that pronounce "cord" as "card" ("don't trip over that extension card!") and "gums" (the body part) as gooms (rhymes with "blooms"). Thus Morton, as in Morton Salt, is pronounced the same as Martin. I think, though I'm not sure, that this is why this man, Martin, was known almost exclusively by the name "Salt."

Anyway, when Cory got back from Salt's house, and I had woken up from my nap, he told me that he had sat on Salt's bed and that Salt yelled at him ("it isn't a chair!"). He also told me that they had had powdered donuts and orange juice. Oh how I wanted powdered donuts and orange juice! I cried for a long time about it. Eventually I stopped crying. But I never stopped wanting powdered donuts and orange juice.

Years later I finally visited Salt's house. I met Salt himself! I sat on Salt's bed and was yelled at! But, Salt never offered me powdered donuts and orange juice. Since then I have bought powdered donuts and orange juice for myself. I have enjoyed them. But they do not taste as sweet as Salt's powdered donuts and orange juice would. I'm sure that Salt is dead now and a fundamental piece of my life will be eternally absent: Salt's powdered donuts and orange juice.

If I had a magic bedknob, if I could travel anywhere--and back in time--I know where I would go. I would visit Salt on the day that he served powdered donuts and orange juice.


Evelyn said...

One day when I was nine or so my dad and I thought of the funniest phrase ever (not exactly a joke, more a one-liner). It reminded us of the phrase "That and a quarter will buy you a cookie," but it was a little different. We both forgot it, and I have all but given up on ever remembering the funniest phrase in the world. If I had a magic bedknob, I would go back in time and write down that phrase.

Sunnie said...

Cory told this story to Emily a few weeks ago. Very funny.
If I had a bedknob I would use it every day when I go grocery shopping, just think of how much you would save on gas. I would take little daily vacations, like the one in the book when they go to the island, I would travel the world. Most of all, I would use the bedknob to travel back in time to see things I didn’t get a chance to see: the library of Alexandria, the world trade center, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Wall Arch, the hanging gardens of Babylon, the tower of Babel, and the Texas Governors mansion.

Sunnie said...

I would like to add pre Ike Galveston to my list.


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