Posted in Miscellany, Novellas

Smell the Coffee and Smile

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“Holiday~ Celebrate~” with Madonna singing ebulliently in celebration of her holiday from the radio, Sally woke up to the tune and stepped into a hello brand new day. It was also a beginning of a three-day long Labor Day holiday weekend, and Sally was only glad to stay away from the city chockablock with rushing cars and the usually slightly ireful and forever impatient drivers as well as lumpish pedestrians with luggage, perambulators, shopping bags, and suitcases. So she decided to opt for a quiet leisure of her own comprising reading books she had ordered at the recommendation of the last week’s The Avonlean Book Review. But first, Sally had to have her morning coffee with a nice breakfast meal at Hush Puppy’s. Otherwise, she would be grumpy all day long, and that would certainly not be a way to make her day pleasant.


Her favorite coffee of a day was always hot hazelnut-flavored with half-and-half because it tasted very smoothly sweet without sugar. She thought that Hush Puppy’s hazelnut coffee was the best in town. But Ms. Long, the proprietor of the establishment had recently been worried about a low sales net of her famous coffee because the city council egged on by a group of hypochondriacs was going to put soon warning labels on coffee cups that would say “Acrylamide contained in this coffee may cause a risk of cancer.” Sally knew it from the articles in the Times and thought it was always the people like Ms. Long whose honest-to-goodness way of running business consorting with her moral character and faith that suffered the waves of unfair backlash from the public. Indignant at such injustice, Sally wanted to cheer up Ms. Long in any way she could do within her ability and measure.

IMG_3995“Ms. Long, your hazelnut coffee is one of the best in the town, and I told it to all my friends and colleagues at work and suggested them they come by here.They are not hypochondriacs or bombastic health freaks at all. I mean what can coffee possibly do harm on people? The eminent Baroque composer Bach once said without a cup of hot coffee, he would be like a grilled goat. and as far as I am concerned, I have never heard of any one who has died from drinking too much coffee.” There was a flicker of smile flitting in the gracefully aged face that shinned with her incorruptible beauty from within. Ms. Long had never felt more comforted and warm than ever in her long life as a spinster. “Thank you, Sally, for your caring words. I will continue to make the best hazelnut coffee just for you.” There was in the air something that filled the whole of Hush Puppy’s at the moment. It was wonderfully conflated with the aroma of Sally’s hazelnut coffee that Ms. Long had just finished brewing. Sally’s spirit was flitting in the loveliness of the ambience, soaking herself in the moment of happiness coming from within. It sure was a pleasant morning for Sally.


Posted in Miscellany, Novellas

Elephant Effect

IMG_3963The Elephants are a new family joining an illustrious body of residents of Avonlea. They are from Cape Town,, South Africa, where English is the official language, which makes them easily acculturated to the new environment. The Elephants are shown here they landed at Montgomery Airport named after the founder of Avonlea, “Lucy Maud Montgomery,” located 3 miles away from Avonlea.


This is Mr. John Elephant, the patriarch of the family. Born in September 26th, 1959 to a wealthy family of Old Money (his father was the 5th Earl of Greensleeves Castle in Yorkshire who moved to South Africa upon marrying a beautiful but impecunious American journalist named Judy Shue), John was educated as best as his wealthy father could afford him ) in England by graduating from Oxford University with a B.A. in English in aspiration of becoming a journalist as his American mother used to. However, his innate filial duty that appeared only too well incumbent upon him after his father told him to take care of their assets in the family’s trust fund that had been kept intact for three centuries since their ancestor Earl Richard Elephant set it up following a windfall of great successes in The East India Company  in the 17th Century. With such enterprising blood running in the veins, John has become a successful real estate developer since the 90s and wants to expand his business territory by coming to Avonlea under the privilege of dual citizenship permitted by the South African government.


This is Mrs. Rachel Elephant, the efficient secretary of the home office of the family. She is also an excellent homemaker who manages all the affairs concerning the logistics of the household and attends to the care of each family member with Charity, Faith, and Hope, the capital Christian Values  ornamented by her high intelligence fabulously brilliant all the more by her unassuming witty character. Rachel worked her way through college by working at Delano’s Italian Bakery, where she learned how to make the best cannolis and Amaretto cookies, which she sometimes seels at local charity events. She is also an avid reader of nonfiction books, such as essays by the 19th Century writers, history books on the Ancient Near East, the Classical Greece and Greek, and books on supernatural phenomena.


Eli Elephant is the first-born child of John and Rachel, so naturally, she basks in their all attentions and expectations. Any child in that environment will often express his stress from such parental yearnings and revolts against the parents even at the early stage of life. But Not Elie, whose filiality is inherited from her father and whose intelligence mixed with a good heart passed down from her mother.  She is also something of a social worker, for anyone she sees so pitiful that the sight of the person is registered in her mind, is in her good care. Elie goes out of her way by asking her father to help the person in distress or in a dire need, such as not raising a monthly rent fee for senior citizens subsisting solely and only on their Social Security Benefits and Supplemental Income Aid.


So our Joe Elephant is the youngest but the most adventurous of Elephant Clan. Like his grandfather who used to appear on the east of the Sun one one day, and the west thereof on the other day, Joe likes to venture all things worthy of winning his recognition as well as interest by himself. So it is a family norm to accept Joe’s spirit of adventure as a brilliant legacy of the Elephant Family as aforesaid in the case of Earl Richard Elephant and his Great East Indian Expedition  in the 17th Century. In addition thereto, Joe is adroita at making friends with anyone anywhere without a shade of prejudice based upon a creed, status, or appearance because that is how his parents have taught so far. As the say, “A tree is known by its fruits,” a child is a mirror of  what his parents are and what they want to be. It’s not his peers, or teachers at schools, or actors/actresses on screen that influence a child’s learning and modus operandi of dealing with the everyday life. In this respect, both John and Rachel have been doing great in inculcating the moral and ethical values in their son as well as daughter.

Now that the Elephants have made Avonlea their new home sweet home. they will continue to live according to their moral principles based upon Christian Values and the family legacy spanning over 400 years. John does not forget to remind himself of the family mottos of “Quand Je Puis,” meaning in French “As much as I can. and “Have patience with all things, but first with yourself,” which is actually a famous quotation from St. Francis de Sales. And with these in mind, John looks to the future with Hope and Faith and is ready to hit a new road again -with his dear family, as a;ways – as ever.





Posted in Miscellany, Novellas, Sylvanians - The illustrated stories.

The Avonlea Story – Fruits, Cakes, and Popcorn


Uncle Willie has recently started his private enterprise of selling organic fruits from his at affordable prices in the town of Avonlea. A proud proprietor of his new business venture, Willie’s business prospect is full of auspicious anticipations of making high profit; his business motto is “Honesty makes best policy,” which is a quotation from Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote. Also, Uncle Willie has adopted a business principle of Sam Walton, the founder of “Walmart” who became a business tycoon by means of a mass sale at everyday low prices. But above all this business blueprint for his new enterprise of fruit wagon, Wille’s goodness of heart and simplicity of character, not to speak of his freshy organic fruits picked up from his farm in Green Gable, is the mainstay of his economic and social activities. With his innate diligence, the fruit wagon opens from 8:00 am to 7:00 PM, Mondays to Saturdays at 113 Kingsbridge Street nearby Elysian Park. The fruits are so fresh and scrumptious that you will always come back for more.


The news that his fruits being tested like Ambrosia of Mount Olympus traveled fast all over the town. It’s the case of great power of the grape vine, especially when it is stirred up by women. Brenda Beaver took her daughter Betty last Monday to Uncle Willie’s fruit wagon to to see if she could be a regular customer of his establishment because Betty’s priority was to take utmost care of the health of her family. And Voila! It’s no surprise to see Betty enthralled by the pretty sight of her favorite fruits that looked all lovely to her beady eyes: Grapes, Bananas, Apples, Melons, and so forth… Betty wanted all, but in accordance with her family motto of “Moderation is a Virtue,” she ended up choosing a melon, a bundle of bananas, and an orange.  Her mother Brenda encountered Laura Collie, the co-owner of the “Bonjour Cake Shop” with her husband Paul Collie in the town, who also came to check the new wagon establishment. Of course, the housewives of Avonlea raved about the freshness and affordability of Uncle Willie’s organic fruits, which meant that his business success was a foregone conclusion.

IMG_3892The “Bonjour Cake Shop”is also a new enterprise in Avonlea; Operated by Paul and Laura Collie originally from Scotland, the cake shop has also been busy with newly acquainted customers in the town who come back to taste the homemade cakes for all occasions. The cakes are all made by Laura, who is no only a fine seamstress but also a lovely patissier who learned the art of cakes by working at the famed Patisserie Valerie in London in her maidenhood. In fact, making cakes and cookies has been Laura’s true passion because that’s what she really likes; however, she first had to deprecate her love of making cakes to support her family along with her husband Paul in a new land by working as a highly skilled seamstress. So when she and Paul (who was employed as an assistant manager at a supermarket) saved enough funds to start their own private business, they chose to open a cake shop without hesitation. Surely, Laura’s spirit was elevated when she and Paul signed the contract for the shop at a real estate agent’s office a month ago.

IMG_3904Laura’s cakes are of supreme quality, second to none in comparison with the cakes of  Patisserie Valerie or Laduree or Pierre Herme because first of all, the cakes are all made fresh by Laura herself whose culinary skills are divine. Besides, she makes all her cakes with utmost care for authentic pleasure that can make her customers truly happy when they taste her cakes. In fact, it’s not merely a kind of eatery but a creation of art that provides people with genuine pleasure of life. Viktor E. Frankl, the founder of Logotherapy attests to this principle by telling us that a moment of pleasure, such as from listening to our favorite piece of music, doing things we enjoy, or appreciating a pleasurable sensation therefrom, can equal to a meaning of happiness, which is not at all a grand abstract idea. In like manner, Laura’s homemade cakes can be a good source of happiness to her customers regardless of who they are.


Sally’s sundry wagon is also newly launched; it has popcorn cooked on premise according to her aunt Mary’s family recipes from England passed down from generations. Topped with butter and salt per request, Sally’s Popcorn cups are sold like hot cakes at $1.50 for each. In addition, she also sells candies and cold beverages, all less than $2.00 per each. She likes to talk with her customers when her spirits feels jovial and delightful. Judging her as a moody person is injustice to her true character, however. Sally is something of an artist who wants to dabble many things that she has in mind to express herself against self-doubt and obscurity. She’s well-read, compassionate, and creative. But she does not suffer the fool, the uncouth, and the uncivil gladly. After all, she is just very honest about her feelings and acts upon her principles, for how can one always smile and be pleasant like a robot? Hasn’t anybody heard that a psychopath can be extremely pleasant?

So the new enterprises by enterprising spirits are well established now. They might look a bit anachronistic for the modern time and incongruent to today’s business trend as regards to the business principles set by the owners as aforesaid. But nothing is insignificant or less meaningful in the sense of size or value than any of their contemporary competitors in other places. However simplistic their business ventures may seem, what’s important is their dedication to their work and care for the people they serve, which has become a rarity in our today’s society.




Posted in Miscellany, Novellas

Bluebird Interview


She was born when Saturn and Uranus were housed in the Aquarius. That says pretty much about her. The Aquarian are known for their independent spirits, compassionate and caring nature, and unquenchable wants of knowledge, all enveloped in mysterious estrangement even among the crowds. Yet, Stephanie, the writer and the editor of her two-year old Web log, “The Stylus,” (formally known as “Offbeat) is generally quite approachable and genial although she is never too loquacious at a first meeting. In fact, you might find her quite interesting to talk to, especially when you strike up a conversation with her about books written by classical writers or about history, dogs, or cultures. And if any of these appertains to one of her writings published on her digital log, “The Stylus,” you will see her soul being elevated to the ether with her eyes sparkling like stars on the Persian night sky. On Monday morning at a cozy cafe in Avonlea, Bluebird had the pleasure sitting down  with a cup of warm hazelnut coffee to talk with her about her blog, from the inception, the purpose, and the future thereof.

BD: Hi, Stephanie. As Oscar Wilde has said that a woman who would reveal her age would tell anything about her, I won’t ask you how old you are because I suspect that you will not anyhow.

Stephanie: I appreciate your judiciousness. (Smile) And yes, you are right in saying that I won’t tell you my age. (Smile) But I am neither teen-aged nor maturely aged, single, like one of those 10 vestals in the ancient Roman Empire. (Smile)

BD: Okay, then let’s start talk about your Web log. What was the idea behind the creation of this log of yours? Did it occur to you all of sudden that you wanted to have yours like everyone else?

Stephanie: Well, I first started thinking about having my writing log about 2 years ago. I had always wanted to write things about what I liked and to convey it in written letters because I think writing revels one’s soul in his/her genuine self without worrying about the physical appearance and how to present the self externally in public. In that regard, writing is non-discriminating of all social and biological differences. And I always thought that in people’s writings I could see the intelligence and nature of the writers because people would tell about their innermost feelings by means of writing rather than by speaking, which I think, sometimes seems a bit pompous and artful.

BD: So, is this why you came to create your blog to write about what you think and feel that cannot be shared by speaking in public?


Stephanie: Partly so. And partly it’s because writing seems easier to communicate than speaking, which requires of me instantaneous faculty with dialogue that necessitates breaking from shyness. You see, English is not my mother tongue. Being a native Korean, the language differences between the two languages are as wide and deep as the Pacific Ocean: The English belongs to the Indo-European lingual family, while the Korean to the Ural-Altai to which the Japanese, the Turkish, the Finnish, and the Hungarian also belong. The syntax and the grammar are of course very different. So, it will be much different from, say, someone from any Western European country speaking and writing English because Western European languages belong to the same family as the English. Nevertheless, I want to break from such syntactical, grammatical, and literary inhibitions to craft the art of writing, just as Jack Kerouac felt the same about it.

BD: That’s a sublime motivation to create your blog. Then how about the name of your blog? It has recently gone through some changes…

Stephanie: Yes, indeed. But for the good reasons. First, it was started as “Offbeat” because one of the teachers at the language school I currently work at told me that my blog seemed to carry this offbeat vibes, a sort of New York feel, the independence, the avant-garde spirit that knew no boundary of subject matters of writing. So I thought it was a cool name for my blog and kept it until the last week. But suddenly I came to think that it needed name changing just for a change of scenery; you know the kind of moment when you want to reinvent your image with a new haircut.

BD: Okay, Stephanie. By the way, what are your readers like? Do you have many followers?


Stephanie: To be honest with you, I am more concerned about the qualitative likes I get for what I write from fellow bloggers who also love writing and publish qualitative posts by which I mean the writings, such as musings, creative stories, poems, and/or book reviews. The reason I say this is that recently there has been someone who creates several unsolicited blogs that only contain commercial stuff, copied works of others, or nothing just to get to my blog. And I tell you that I only appreciate the likes from those qualitative bloggers. And I also tell you that I don’t appreciate those of illegitimate ones’ likes. How do I know they are illegitimate? Well, can you like my writing as soon as I publish? That means that person does not bother to read my writing, which I take it as an offense.

BD: Who is that one plaguing your blog with empty likes? Have you done something about it?

Stephanie: First, that one appeared in my spam comment section. He said he liked my blog and asked for some advice of writing. I think I was too naive to even reply to him, thinking that he was going to have his meaningful blog filled with writings, but no… I should have never done that…. This is my character flaw; that I bring trouble and pain on myself through pity and compassion… In that respect, I sympathize with Katherine Cookson, who said the same thing in her memoir Before I go, about which I have also written.

BD: You must be really frustrated with that person… Sorry to hear that.

betty beaver

Stephanie: I even contacted an engineer at wordpress. about this issue in effort of stopping him from visiting my blog, but was told that because it’s in a public domain, there’s no way I could do that… And you know it’s really disheartening to see it happening in my blog because it is a sheer form of sabotage to my blog because my blog is not an object of popularity… Although my current followers are 52, what I care about is my works being duly appreciated by fellow writers, amateur or professional. Nevertheless, I don’t want to canvass for liking my writings. It’s just not me. But if you like any of my writings in terms of the contents regardless of any grammatical errors, that makes me feel fulfilled. And any comment is always welcome.

Don’t be shy to comment on any of my posts because I am a human being, too! (Smile)

BD: Stephanie, I understand how you care about your blog and your love of writing in this interview. Any word to your readers?

Stephanie: I just want my readers to know that I write because I like to portray what I feel about things in my heart in poetry and what I think about books I read in my mind in belief that taste and reason is universal in all human creatures regarding principles of judgment and of sentiment common to all mankind, as Edmund Burke averred in his essay On Taste. So Many Thanks to You, Dear Readers with My Whole Heart.

BD: Thank you, Stephanie. I hope your writings will have a wide range of loyal noble readership.

Stephanie: Thanks! Have a lovely day!