Episode VI – Welcoming Uncle Willie in Avonlea

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Sally Lamb of The Calico Times

When Sally Lamb, a resident reporter of the town’s one and only newspaper “The Calico Times” heard the news from Mr. Randy Beaver, an able-bodied mechanic who also functions as a town’s great plumber, that his distant maternal uncle named Mr. William Rustis had arrived in the town a week ago, her journalistic instinct prompted her to meet him in person. Besides, there had been no newcomer to this small town where urbanity meets rurality, teeming with a peculiar charm of fairy-tale like atmosphere created by the affably plumb and flurry appearances of the residents.

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Sally gives a ride

So she drove to Dryad Park, where Mr. Rustis was reported to be seen with his camping belonging days and nights. When Sally got to the entrance of the park, she could see who Mr. Rustis was without a ray of doubt; a big sombrero, an orange-colored scarf tied in the fashion of a boy scout, a large and hefty frame, most of which was dominated by his wide waist circumference, and most of all, a striking grinning that was instantly recognizable of him even in a far distance. There he was, her Interviewee Of The Day.

 

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Mr. William “Willie” Rustis

“H~~~~i, There ! I’m here!” was the exultant voice of Mr. Rustis with a Great Grinning. Sally, being always shy in public but bold in pen, was embarrassed by such an exuberant welcoming, when she would be the one who would welcome her interviewee to make him feel comfortable to have a good, productive interview result. ‘Thank God’, Sally thought to herself while scurrying toward the Man with Great Grinning by the fountain, the interview site. “There are just a few people in the park now. Is he a sane man as Mr. Beaver said of his uncle?… What if he dos not talk sense?… What if he bursts out a sudden fit of tantrum?… A man with such a seemingly perpetual grinning on his face will never be a sane man after all. I’d better finish this interview as quickly as possible.” So much mental ado was straining Sally’s sophisticated inner world as she was approaching closer to her subject.

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Always Affable Uncle Willie

“You must be Ms. Sally Lamb! I am Willie Rustis, Randy Weaver’s old uncle. He told me many good things about you! Boy, aren’t you a lovely darling? You must have may boys and men who orbit around you. Don’t you? Ha! Ha! Ha! I’m darn glad to be interviewed by a lovely lass today! Randy didn’t tell me that you were! He just told me that you’re a good writer of a newspaper. By the way, what’s the name of your newspaper?” Sally was both stunned by his extravagant greeting, which was actually quite pleasing and flattering because she was renowned for her somewhat austere tendency toward strangers and people whom she regarded mentally benighted, especially men. Besides, she did not think herself as the “It” girl. “How do you do, Mr. Rustis. I work for “The Calico Times, the one and only newspaper of Sylvania.” Shall we begin?” “Oh, well! Sure! But please call me Willie. Being called Mr. Rustis makes me feel like I am senile! I am and always will be Willie! Ha! Ha! Ha!,” was the beginning of the day’s interview. And lo, it was a productive, intriguing interview as set forth in the following narrative of Mr. Rustis:

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Willie reading the newspaper

Well, it’s been— I don’t know the exact numbers of days I have been spending so far in this new place, but it almost feels like a week or so. I could have gone to Randy’s as he himself and his lovely wife Brenda insisted – and they still insist! – and stay there until now, but I opted out for living here in the nature because I want to know more about this new place and feel the atmosphere myself in the most natural way, uninhibited by any superficial ways that creature comforts usually afford. Not that it’s bad, but that’s not my way of knowing a certain new thing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been a soldier too long, but I guess it’s in my nature. And in terms of the residents of this town, it’s hard for me to appraise their characters, tendencies, personalities, and so forth at this time. And people are people. As long as humanity exists, as it did thousands years ago, and it has been in existent thus far, there’s on one either extremely evil or angelically good.

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Willie’s books and map

I must say, it’s a life of pioneer in the West at this juncture. Thanks to the generosity of the park administration, I can stay here as long as I don’t cause fire and keep the place clean. Although I don’t have a tent, I have a good old army sleeping bag that I still keep from the Glory Days of The Cavalry, some food provided by good Randy and his lovely wife Brenda on a weekly basis, a radio, and books! I am a librophile, a term I coined to mean a book lover. I love reading nonfiction on the subjects of ancient history, mythology, and the Classics. Right now, I am reading Plutarch’s Lives, which is just wonderful to read! You know that Plutarch himself was Greek, but could understand the Latin language, although not to the apotheosis of lingual perfection, and could write about all those great ancient figures of the time immemorial!

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Uncle Willie talking

In fact, I am talking in terms of Logotheraphy, the third Viennese School of Psychoanalysis found by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl. Yes, I read his book Man’s Search for Meaning. I know it inside and outside. Well, do I? But once in a while, you need to keep yourself detached from the crowd to ponder about what you have seen in Reality that shapes your mind in the way you perceive the swing of things in the world in your own way, all in order to establish your own Reality. Well, right now I am having the moment, a moment of laughing about my anxieties and anguish about myself and future. And this won’t last long, for in fact, next week Randy will help me set up some small business to start. And going from there, I will see if I can move onto the next big thing, another new step to climb up my Alpine Path, so steep but so worthwhile.

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Sally writing at the end of the day

It was indeed a stellar Interview of The Day. What began with Sally’s uneasiness with her unknown subject ended on a high note -with a kindred spirit. Willie was an embodiment of living Logotheraphy, a human endeavor to live in quest for meaning of life. Also, Willie was something of an intellectual, a man who practiced what he preached like George Orwell, one of the favorite writers Sally admires all the time. With her Traveler’s Notebook full of wonderful accounts of the interview, Sally drove back to her home to type them, to publish urbi and orbi about a man extraordinary in thinking but ordinary in acting, that is, Willie and his Weltanschaung – the view of the world.

 

 

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