SYBIL'S STORY BOOK CORNER: Good evening Boys and Girls!! I hope you're indoors where all the snow and ice can't chill your bones...or freeze your little toes off! Would you like to hear a story?? A story about a beautiful lady who lived a long time ago in New York City when it was still a friendly place with nice stores??? ...you would?? Well, get Sybil a nice cup of hot chocolate while she warms herself by the fire and I'll tell you... Oh, and Darling please make it a very, VERY big cup, and put some of your Father's scotch in it, but let's not tell him, ok?...
Once upon a time, there was a very lovely lady named Cornelia Eustachia Pinkleberry, of the famous Pinkleberry Department Store & Emporium fortune. She was as sweet as she was beautiful! And as beautiful as she was wealthy! Everyone loved her, and liked to be with her. And some men liked to be with her alone, but she said NO!!! Well, one day, Corny (that was her nickname, but only special ladies from her Women's Gymnastic and Interpretive Dance Seminars were allowed to call her that!) went out in the evening air for a walk and to get a beverage from a local café that served ... um... special kinds of drinks for special customers. Corny often went to this little café on Tuesdays... or any day of the week actually. And sometimes EVERYDAY.... When she walked in, the tiny brass bell on the door tinkled happily as if to say "Hello, Corny!" as she entered. She spoke politely to Big Hank, the nice man with one eye behind the counter, and gave him some money, and he gave her a bottle wrapped in brown paper. He did it in a funny way, because he slipped it UNDER the counter top instead of on top... That's how Corny liked to get it, and she told him so, but politely. And she even let Big Hank pinch her bottom sometimes, even though when he smiled he only had three teeth. Then she took her nice treat out into the snowy night, and began to walk home... along the way, she felt chilly because the wind had started to blow sideways, and the snow was beginning to block the view of the cozy houses with their glowing windows on 5th Avenue where she lived..... thirty-eight blocks away.
She stopped in an alleyway to have a little sip of the nice drink that Big Hank made in a bath tub in his basement while funny ladies did dances in coconut brassieres and grass skirts in front of ..uh...."theatre-goers". The nice drink made her feel warmer, and she started out again for home. But within about 7 feet she decided that she'd like another little taste ...and then another.... and then another. Pretty soon... well, can you guess what happened, children? Yes! That's right. She ran out of the nice drink, and the bottle was empty. Corny was sad...and very chilly. She thought maybe she should go back to Big Hank and buy another nice bottle. Or maybe make him GIVE her one for free because the first one wasn't full enough and she might have to tell him so... but then she thought maybe Big Hank was too far away now, and she was closer to home and she could get warm there. But she couldn't quite figure out how far she was from her home either... Has that ever happened to YOU?? You know where you live, but you get lost anyway?? And then you get a little scared? That happened to me once, and then a bad man asked if he could help me, but I screamed and ran away. But that's a story I'll tell you some other time. Back to Corny.
So she was very, very cold, and she decided to go home, but she didn't know where home was because the snow was blowing too hard, and the drink had made her a little dizzy, and she had started singing songs at the top of her lungs....and doing pretty dances like she learned with the other nice ladies. After a while she got a little tired because she had danced all the way down to the Hudson River! Do you know where that is? Well, it's a very nice place to visit in the Summer, but not on a Winter night in 1888. Corny looked out at the water and thought to herself, "I don't remember a canal running down the middle of 5th Avenue! Why, it looks just like Venice where Papa took me last April! I'm going to sit on this bench and wait for a gondola to come by so I can buy a pizza." And do you know what happened, Boys & Girls?? No, now don't all shout at once! YES! That's right!! Corny went to sleep!! And the snow fell for a long time... for three whole days!
One day, some men who were sailors walked by a snowman that was near their boat, and they thought it was funny that it was wearing a lady's hat! And then, they looked closer and saw that it was beautiful Cornelia Eustachia Pinkleberry of the Pinkleberry Department Store and Emporium fortune!… because everyone at that time knew Corny from her pictures in the fancy ladies gazettes, calendars, and naughty playing cards. They asked her if she was feeling alright, and they even shook her a little, but POLITELY, because that's what gentlemen did back in those days, even sailors. Corny didn't answer them, which a lady would ALWAYS do to men who shook her...even sailors. And then she sort of fell over, and the big sailors screamed... sort of like girls who see a spider! ... a really BIG spider. They would have run away, but they remembered that Corny was very rich, so they carefully picked her up out of the snow. She was folded into a funny shape that people usually aren't in except when they sleep in the snow... for a long time. And they carried her back to her beautiful house on 5th Avenue, after they got the address from Big Hank who was a friend of theirs too... He was a friend of a lot of folks back then.
When they took Corny back to her home, all the servants in the house were very, very sad! Some of them were so sad, they went through her pockets and even up to her room to take souvenirs because they loved her so. And they also noticed that Corny was just as beautiful asleep as she had been when when she was awake. Mr. Prumble, the head butler, said that it was because she was the sweetest and most beautiful creature he had ever seen. And Mrs. Curnt, the head cook, said it was because Big Hank's nice drink was special, and had stuff in it that would keep Corny looking beautiful for 25 years. And then all the servants stood around and remembered nice stories, and they decided to call a very friendly man who lived in Greenwich Village who painted pictures of ladies.... sometimes with no clothes on. They wanted him to come to the house right away and paint Corny exactly the way she looked right then with her eyes wide open and her hands in her favorite muff, and her head tilted just so... and that's just what he did. He asked them for some money, and they gave it to him. And they gave him some hot chocolate with marshmallows and some of Big Hank's special drink in it. And then they all hung the beautiful new picture of Cornelia in the big entry hall right over the fireplace that greeted visitors when they came. And the glow of the fire lit the room with warmth and cheer, and Corny smiled down at all of them. And she would smile just that way... forever, and ever.... and always be beautiful!... Well? What do you think, children? Was that a nice story to hear on a snowy night??
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