Julie has a sweet tooth. She loves bonbons, jelly, fruit candy, and butterscotch candy saturated richly in fresh milk. She savors them not in excess, for her motto is “Nothing in excess. Moderation is a virtue,” which is a synthesis of Apollonian adage found in the terrace of the temple at Delphi and Christian virtue recorded in the bible, a wonderfully syncretistic maxim created by her father Willie Shue, an intellectual food vendor of Avonlea. But today is not one of those lax halcyon days of Julie’s; neither Sally’s Sweet Cart stuffed with fresh buttery popcorn, Ice Frappuccino, chocolate-covered bananas, sugar-coated churros, and bottles of Coca-Cola nor her good old chum Lana seems to perk up her innate conviviality. It seems as though Julie was under the spell of a malicious witch bearing generational grudge against the Shues.
Anyone around Julie is flabbergasted by her sudden change of mood. None has seen her this lugubrious, saturnine, and crestfallen. This perturbs the heart of ever altruistic, magnanimous Sally, who is tending her aunt Mary’s Sweet Cart today and tomorrow during her brief jaunt to Lake Leda 10 miles away from Avonlea. Having known Julie for over ten years since she and her vagabond intellectual father Willie made their debut entrance to Avonlea. Although the father and the daughter have been living in a hut with limited bare necessities, they are rich in humanity, knowledge, and imagination. Knowing this eggs on Sally to ask Julie if all is okay with her and her father.”No, Sally. Actually, I am deeply worried about my father. Last Wednesday, he went to see his physician for his result of a blood test. And the doctor told my father that his kidneys were damaged and that he needed to take medications everyday for two months until the next appointment with the doctor. My father has been diagnosed with “Acute lobar nephronia”. That was why my father was often dizzy and stumbled on the ground as flat a pancake.”
The litany of Julie’s woebegone feelings becomes a heartrending ballard of life in which we have to deal with unforeseen forces of malice and misfortune akin to those of Odyssey, Hercules, Jonah, and Aeneas according to the whims and caprice of gods and goddesses, and God. So would Willie’s predicament be a fortiori sign of divine intervention in the maning of his life? The new medical revelation of Willie’s ailing kidney poses a concatenation of philosophical musings that seems like Sphinx’s famous riddles: Delphic, visceral, esoteric, and maddening. Sally is wondering just what Willie is thinking about his decided fate, a diagnosis of his failing health. Perhaps he takes it in stoical attitude. Or according to Elisabeth Kubler Ross’s five stages of dying, he will be at Stage 1, which is “Shock and Denial.” It’s all a priori assumption that Sally can think of as far as Willie’s state of health goes. But most of all, Sally’s heart is now heavily laden with pathos for Willie and his daughter Julie. What will become of Julie if Willie’s symtoms gets exacerbated all of sudden, and he does not wake up next morning?… With all her a posteriori assumptions about Julie and Wille locked in her mind, Sally consoles Julie with a cup of buttery popcorn and a bottle of ice-cold Coca Cola for free and tells her that she will drop by her house to say hello to her father Willie with a box of Julie’s favorite bonbons later in the evening.