Sunday, June 11, 2017

Serenity and Serendipity by Margo Hoornstra

Nadine Archer is the Queen of Snark. She’s a character created by my CP Jannine Gallant. I borrowed Nadine to include in a couple of the stories within my self-published anthology

A twenty-year high school reunion in Serendipity, Vermont
changes the lives of former classmates and leads to unexpected futures.

Here are some of Nadine’s more distinctive appearances when she runs rough shod over the sign in table at the Saturday night Dance of the reunion.
Three Strikes Thursday

“Sign in! Sign in!” Molly McCarthy stood beside Nadine Archer behind the registration table. Talk about opposites. Molly was as sweet as cranky Nadine was sour. Their friend waved them over with a generous sample of her trademark Polly Anna smile. “Barry!” Eyes wide, smile grown wider, she hustled around the table the moment she laid eyes on him. “Last night was so much fun. And now we get to have even more.” She enveloped him in a fervent hug he gladly returned. “I’m so happy you’re back home. Have I told you that?”

“Not since last night.” He straightened with a smile as she released him.

“And Amanda.” Molly went on without missing a beat. “It’s always good to see you.”

“You too.” She smiled as Molly bestowed another eager clinch. “Always.”

Two on Tuesday

“Blane! Over here. You need to sign in.” Caught up in the perpetual exuberance of Molly Carter, class Polly Anna, Blane stepped up to the registration table and smiled. “Write yourself a name tag.” Molly pointed to the one she wore over her right breast. “Like this.”

“Thanks.” Smiling, she picked up the felt tipped Sharpie.

Molly had married Ned McCarthy from their class. Blane didn’t remember much about him except how their senior year Ned was voted Most Responsible. From out of nowhere, jealousy of the life Molly must have reared inside her.

“When you’re done with the name tag, move on to join the festivities.” A beaming Molly trilled, oblivious to a distasteful glance from the woman beside her, Nadine Archer.

Her Snarkiness Extraordinaire. Blane remembered Nadine well. Especially when she commanded Molly to bring it down a friggin’ notch with the rah-rah. Nadine was always such a bitch. Exchanging sly looks, both Blane and Molly looked elsewhere, choosing to ignore her.

“It’s so much fun having all of you back home here for the weekend.” Molly streamed a bright yellow highlighter over Blane’s name on what appeared to be a class roster.

Blane enhanced the smile Molly had brought out of her with a small laugh. “This is turning out to be fun.”
I’d like to channel Nadine for a few moments to snark out my own frustrations. But first the set up.

A native of Detroit, I now live in the relative peace and quiet of rural America by choice. As some of you know, my husband and I are avid walkers. Each day, we try to log at least two miles, five if we’re particularly ambitious. Our usual route takes us through Main Street in ‘downtown’ where vehicular traffic is minimal at best, out to the peace and quiet of a recreational area and lake a couple of miles from our house. There we join like minded individuals as we stroll along a dirt path and into the seclusion of a small forest where we might catch glimpses of deer grazing and birds singing, swans gliding.

Are you sensing a pattern? Out here in the country where we live, serenity and stillness are the norm.


When you read this, out here in rural Michigan, we will have survived another onslaught of visitors for yet another weekend festival of some kind the city fathers and mothers see fit to burden us with each year. In the name of enriching local businesses, particularly a couple of bars, (the reality is the local treasury usually ends up just the opposite), they allow the intrusion of Ferris wheels, Tilt-a-Whirls and the like in our City Park. Heavy food carts on our newly paved streets. Late night fireworks that always upset our dogs and those of our neighbors. Disturbs our sleep and makes it rough the next morning.

Litter and grease spots remain in the streets when they leave. Tire tracks mar the grass in City Park. More debris out at our treasured recreational area.

I’m reminded of a bumper sticker I saw once when I was a visitor myself out of state. It read: Welcome to Florida, Now Go Home!

My thoughts exactly. There’s a reason we don’t live in the city, Folks. If you so love being out here, buy some property and join us permanently. You’re welcome for that, and we’d be glad to have you. Just remember, we’re here for the peace and quiet. You should be too.

I wonder if those in Serendipity feel the same as I do. Do you?

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and the stories I write, please visit my WEBSITE


Diane Burton said...

LOL at the slogan (welcome, now go home). I feel like that when traffic gets horrendous and there's no place to park at the state park. This is just starting and will go on all summer. Don't get me started on fireworks. (Those are from our neighbors.) We don't have pets, yet. I can't imagine what our visiting dogs will do over July 4th weekend. Like you, Margo, I grew up near metro Detroit. I love the atmosphere over here on Michigan's west coast. Laid back, somewhat conservative. To avoid the increased traffic, I'm learning all the back roads. Enjoy your quiet village.

Jannine Gallant said...

Don't get me started on tourists. Tahoe is a tourist mecca! Granted, without them, most people wouldn't be employed, but still! Winters, they're mostly just here on weekends, and Christmas and New Years weeks, and ski & skate week (kids out of school) and, and... You get the picture. Summers, they're here from mid-June (now) through Labor Day without reprieve. We have a two lane road around the lake clogged with tourists and massive road construction. If I didn't go to work at 5am, I'd give up driving and ride my bike everywhere! Funny, I forgot I created Nadine for our old Class of '85 series. It was fun seeing so many characters get passed around for those books.

Leah St. James said...

I too live in a tourist destination, The Historic Triangle area of Virginia (Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown...with a Busch Gardens thrown in the mix). Less than 50 miles southeast is Virginia Beach which has somehow garnered a reputation of being a fantastic beach getaway. I suppose if you've never been to another Atlantic beach it is, but the Jersey Shore is so much better. (And there's not an ounce of prejudice in that statement!) Anyway, the traffic around here is bad when it's not tourist season, and I rarely brave the clogged bridge/tunnel system to head south. During the summer, I count my blessings that I don't have to. I'm proud to live in an area with such rich history, though. It's what drew us here, so we try not to complain...too much. :-)

Brenda Whiteside said...

And I live in "Snowbird" country. Winters are the worst. Although, up north in AZ is where everyone goes to get relief from the heat. Payson is a mess. But I don't blame them!

Andrea Downing said...

If this is a game of one-upmanship, ladies--I live in the Hamptons. Maybe you all come close, but I have to tell ya... I guess if we decide to live in these beautiful places, we're asking for it so shouldn't complain. Time was the Hamptons packed up completely after Labor Day. Now, folks want Thanksgiving here, Easter--some even want Xmas. The only time the parking meter ticket dispenser (free 2 hr parking) is covered is Jan-April. I stay at home, walk locally, and am just thankful for the sea breezes that keep us so much cooler than NYC.

Margo Hoornstra said...

I love to visit Detroit, Diane, where there are lots of memories and such, then love to come home to my peace and quiet. I got a kick out of that slogan too. Kind of says it all. It's funny how we all et kind of proprietary about our own little parts of the world.

Margo Hoornstra said...

I know, Jannine, you get it worst than most. I worked on Mackinac Island the summer after I graduated from high school and kind of enjoyed watching and working with the tourists. I don't think I would so much these days. Yep, good old Nadine. She brought some real emotional color to my books.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Ooooh, Busch Gardens. I prefer their parks to Mickey's. I've never been to the Jersey shore. Sounds pretty urban to me. (No offense ;-) although I do love the ocean. Getting around in traffic of any kind is a real pain. Glad I no longer have to do so on a regular basis.

Margo Hoornstra said...

You sure get it too, Brenda, don't you? We have family in AZ. Nice place to visit.....

Leah St. James said...

The Jersey Shore is what I'd call suburban, Margo, but you're right, it's definitely not country! :-)

Margo Hoornstra said...

You're right, Andrea. If those are the places we choose to live, we need to take the bad with the good. We just don't have to like it so much. I imagine NYC in summer can be brutal.

Rolynn Anderson said...

We go earlier to restaurants and avoid the busy areas (Pismo Beach). July and August are busy months on the Central Coast, so it's a good time to take trips for locals. I realize our area is a blessed relief from broiling climates, so I understand the draw...we came to live here for the same reasons. As many of you have said, we enjoy temperate climates.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Ooooh. I could do suburban, Leah. I've seen pictures. Looks beautiful!

Margo Hoornstra said...

You're absolutely right, Rolynn. We all love the beauty and temperate climates. Just not the crowds! LOL Kind of an oxymoron, I guess. The greatest part, we can all live where we prefer. We purposely spent most of the weekend out of town!

Alicia Dean said...

Ha, Nadine is quite a pill! I enjoyed the excerpts. Looks like you have a beautiful place to walk. Good for you and your husband. I should get off my butt and walk too. My area isn't as lovely as yours.