Sybil's Stories From Folks Around The World: Welcoming Spring!!!

 ......and so boys and girls, in Scrubbed Knee, Iowa, a charming tradition was begun in the 1830s with the first settlers who trailed their way across the new American countryside. Parson Ebeneezer Brackle decided to welcome Spring to his community each year by staging musical recitals after Sunday prayer services in the Little Chapel Of Unfettered Cheer. His family was known for its musical virtuosity in several different instruments including the folksy-fie-fiddle, the rum-jug, the scrub board and thimble, the jaws harp, the diddley-bow, the wash-tub bass, the flat metal cymbal-thingie, the teaspoons (both bent AND straight!), and the cornstalk blow-flute. Their improvised song-lettes, their charming little dances and caprices, and their limericks about farmers' daughters and assorted animals embellished with their uncanny knack at barnyard sounds always charmed and intrigued the worshipers...and even edified them about moral questions. The traditions of those happy though Spartan times was passed from one generation of Brackles to the next, father to son, grandfather to nubile daughter, uncle to perky niece, touchy-feely Aunt to strapping young nephew, friendly cousin to a group of other eager cousins and perhaps a nice boy from next door, drooly step-brother to half-sister's 1st cousin twice remov....well, you get the idea. Each generation inherited the old musical instruments, the original songs and poems, and some costume pieces that hadn't been washed in several seasons. Finally, in 1936, Cyrus Brackle Jr. and his daughters Enid and Farina were in the middle of "The Brackle Family Spring-Fling" when one of the gaslights accidentally ignited Cyrus' "fertility-clown pointy-hat"..... he was half-way through his deeply emotional rendition of the "Farmer In The Dell" where "the bull takes his wife".... or "the horse starts to moo", something like that. Enid and Farina were acting out each of the characters with appropriate barnyard sounds and dance steps when their father, the Holy parson, burst into flame. The parishioners continued to clap and sway respectfully thinking that "it was all a part of the show" as Mrs. Caralee Tubbins told the fire brigade later. No one thought the screaming or the sight of the parlor organ exploding was out of place. Sadly, it was only when the girls had torn off most of their pinafores and the Pastor had been reduced to a pile of smouldering ashes that the Refreshment Committee decided there had been some sort of problem. On a positive note though, it was discovered that the Little Chapel Of Unfettered Cheer had been constructed entirely of asbestos based materials. Even the boldly patterned wallpaper had remained completely soot-free. And that was enough for everyone to give thanks for when the apricot sherbet was served at the Ice-Cream Sociable....

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