This is what happened on Tuesday
Earth Day 2014
A: How you doing? (She entered the office) Well? (She walked deeper into the office, dressed in a sweater with a leaf pattern, Capri's with badly iron-on silk leaves. The pants, for some unknown reason, had the front zipper pulled down revealing Superman panties, and a crown of flowers on her head. She crunched down on a asparagus stem... chewing with her mouth open)
Z: Sporting wood. (He bounced his eyebrows and pointed to her zipper at which point she pulled it up)
A: (She shook her head since nothing Zi ever said stunned her... anymore) Wood?
Z: (He handed her a short oak branch) I think I'll make something out of it. Save the planet... love your wood.
A: Earth Day just passed. What did you do?
Z: (He gave her a second look and noticed the flowers were real and a green-white worm was nestled in one of the buds, then he ignored it. This wasn't the strangest outfit Ang ever sported) I wrote a short called, Arbor Day is Earth Day But.
A: Can I read it? (The worm dropped out of the flower without her noticing. One of the dogs ate it. She plucked one of the flowers from her crown and since Zi didn't have a lapel, put it in his hoodie pocket)
Z: (He sneezed) What will you trade me for it?
A: What do you want?
Z: Metaphorically... to boldly touch the world.
A: (A snigger slowly gripped her expression) I'll let you touch my phone.
Z: Deal! (He snapped that word out quickly. In the convoluted mind of Zi he knew that she kept her phone in her bra and that meant getting close to her boobs... wearing a sweater meant either under or lifted... he radiated like a twelve-year-old about to play Seven Minutes in Heaven)
A: (She read)
“Jimmy called me a tree hugger. And he made me feel bad by saying so. Is it wrong to want to protect nature?” asked Sunshine of her mother.
Mrs. Matters smiled and replied, "No dear."
"Thank you," retorted Sunshine, "I knew I was good on this one."
“Tree hugger. Tree hugger. Woodchuck hugger. Slimy eel in the stream hugger. Math book hugger. Earth hugger. You’d hug anything,” teased Ronny.
“And you’d hug Janey. Grant said…,” started to report Sunshine but she was interrupted by her brother’s steely look and dissuading grimace.
Their mother noticed the exchange. “Enough. Stop the sibling push you and push me." Their mother corrected with word and look. "The idea of being a tree hugger in itself not a wrong thing. Though the ecology bullies out there have from time-to-time gone far too far, thus they have hurt their cause. I strongly believe we have to protect this planet and fall on the side of the conservationist. Trust me it is very difficult balancing between environment and progress.”
“So we as a family are tree huggers?” asked Ronny.
“Maybe. Maybe not. We do our part. We recycle. Volunteer to clean up roadways and the waterways. Try not to pollute. And every Arbor Day we plant a tree,” said their mother.
“Arbor Day? Is that a real holiday?” asked Ronny looking at his sister who shrugged her shoulders.
“You have asked the right person. I have a couple answers. Want the story?” She sipped her coffee and eyed her children for responses.
The two children snapped back that they did.
"Sure." The two insisted.
“Arbor Day is generally observed the last Friday of April. Why then you might ask. That would be the best time for tree planting. Now, each state has selected a specific date to observe this holiday. But as I said, generally it is the last Friday in April.”
“Where did it begin?” asked Sunshine.
“Nebraska. In the 1800s,” she said as she opened a book she had pulled from the shelf, “Here we are. January 4, 1872, J. Sterling Morton. I wonder if he was the salt man. Morton proposed to some authority in Nebraska a tree-planting holiday calling it Arbor Day. At that time Nebraska was in need of trees for many reasons. Wind breaks, building supplies, comfort and more. April 10, 1872 it was accepted. In 1874, two years later, the state officially proclaimed it as a day to observe. The story continues in that in 1885 it became a legal holiday and was then changed to April 22, which happened to be Morton’s birthday. Nice honor.”
“So how was it celebrated?”
"Maybe by hugging Grant," tickled Ronny. "Snuggie...snuggie."
Sunshine slapped at her brother.
“I suspect that most people who celebrated would plant trees. But I once read that it grew and many small towns would have parades and picnics. Schools would plant trees as a project. Many towns would put plaques on those trees recognizing the specific classes. Spring is a great time and probably any excuse to have a picnic is a good excuse to have a picnic.”
“When will we be going on a picnic?”
“When do you want to go?”
“Today.” Sunshine's eye bolded.
“It is a little too cold, so we could lay out a blanket on the kitchen floor. Dad will love it. We can plan it for this evening. Chicken and salad.”
“Chicken. Salad. Fruit. Drinks.”
“That is a lot to do. You will have to help.”
“Done,” the two echoed.
“Let me add a couple of things since I have this book here. After most states began to observe this holiday a greater respect for our natural environment began to grow. On April 22, 1970, an American public who was driven by environmental concerns changed the day to ‘Earth Day’. A national celebration. The hope was to expand the concern to all things having to do with healthy conservation. In 1990 on the Mall in Washington D.C. there was another gathering, the second, of people to celebrate ‘Earth Day’. This was to bring to the forefront of thinking that we as a people must respect our planet. Arbor Day is not Earth Day yet, yet, has been at least twice.”
“We should not pollute,” insisted Sunshine.
“Tell that to some of your friends. I hear they think it is funny to throw their trash on the ground,” Said Ronny.
"I could. I will," confirmed Sunshine. "It is everyone's Earth, so everyone should protect it."
"Good luck. Some people are just creeps. They act like they have a certain stamp of approval to do whatever they feel. How rude!"
“Ronny it is quite difficult to police the world. You should not pressure your sister to do so. We all try to set the best example.” She washed some apples and set them on the counter.
“I guess I understand. Every once in a while when I do something, like pick up something I found and throw it into a waste can, I get razed by my friends. They act as if I am being foolish or un-manlike. I hate the term goodie-goodie. But I understand,” said Ronny.
"Ignore those who scorn. You are doing the correct thing."
"Can we spell... that's tough?"
His sister began, "T-h-a-...," but was interrupted.
“Trust me. You are doing the best thing. And these pain-in-your-values naysayers know you are doing the best thing. They know. They in some small way don’t like that you’ve wagged it in their face, thought of it first, or assumed that they were not as concerned. Smile and include them. Never bend your values to please others. If you do later, you will be sitting alone and not like that about yourself. Be true to your values and accept the consequences.”
“That can be tough.” Ronny's eyes reflected an honest crick of agony.
“Reply with a jeu d’esprit,” said his mother.
Sunshine and Ronny giggled.
“And that would be what?” asked Ronny.
“A jeu d’esprit is a witty comment. It's French. It is literally translated as a play of the mind. Joke ‘em.”
“So do it. Humor could bond them to the moment. If they laugh then they have a more pleasant sensation around the circumstance. So if they dog you about throwing your papers in the trash, do the reverse-pivot-over-the-shoulder-oh-my- goodness-did-you-see-that-shotity-shot basketball thing. Make a fun thing out of it. Joke 'em. And you’ve helped them embrace the depth of your passion. But... fight and they will fight back. Guaranteed. Ignore them and they will relentlessly pursue you. Trust me. But make it a fun moment and they will eventually join you. Humor is the best fertilizer to grow healthy treeeemendous moments.”
“You are being corny Mom,” said Sunshine. She drew a picture.
“Who will peel the potatoes?” Mrs. Matters asked.
“I’ll do it,” reacted Ronny.
A: It was nice and sweet. I liked it. You write sweetly.
Z: So can I touch your phone?
A: Absolutely. A deal's a deal.
Z: (He smiled that cat-ate-the-canary smile which flew off his face when she handed him the phone)
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