Trixie Belden Frayne gasped in surprise as she scanned the calendar for July. "Oh, no! Jim, we've got to call an emergency Bob-White meeting!" Her blonde curls bounced in agitation.
Her husband, Jim, turned away from the stove, where he had just flipped four perfectly golden-brown blueberry pancakes in one skillet, and a second skillet sizzled with fragrant, perfectly browned and crispy bacon. He inhaled the aroma and smiled at his wife. "What is it, Shamus?" he asked, using the nickname he had given Trixie many years earlier.
"Jim, it's really important! Trish's birthday is in just a few more days, and I haven't got the foggiest idea what to give her for a birthday gift. We owe her so much of our happiness! Why, if it hadn't been for her, we never would have been locked in that elevator and discovered our true feelings for each other." In her distraught state, she paid no attention at all to the table, already set with plates and flatware, a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice at each place and a jug of warm maple syrup in its center. Even the steaming pot of fresh, decaf coffee failed to attract her notice.
"Trix, you're absolutely right. I'll never think of the beach at Newport, Rhode Island in the same way again. Did you have anything in mind?" Jim brushed the top of his wife's curly head with a kiss, and she reached up absently to caress his stubbly cheek. Turning his attention back to the stove, he slid the pancakes onto a heated serving platter and lifted the sizzling bacon from the skillet to a paper-towel-lined plate. Smiling at Trixie, Jim placed the food onto the table and pulled out her chair.
"I've thought of any number of things, but none of them are really right." Trixie frowned. "Maybe with all of the Bob-Whites together, we can think of something that's just exactly right."
"Well, it's Saturday. We'll call everyone after breakfast." Jim caressed the small bulge of Trixie's stomach, and was rewarded by a faint kick. "Surely we'll be able to have a meeting sometime this weekend."
Sunday afternoon, all seven of the Bob-Whites, plus honorary Bob-White Liz Wilson, who was Dan's fiancée, were assembled in the old clubhouse. Despite Trixie's urgent plea for a meeting, she and Jim were the last to arrive.
"Sorry we're running a little late, everyone! Just as we were heading out the door, the phone rang. It was important, so Jim had to take the call." Trixie's face wore a telltale flush as she offered the excuse.
"Greetings and salutations, my sororal sibling! Now that our esteemed co-presidents have arrived, perhaps we can discover what business required our assembly," Mart Belden greeted his almost-twin as she and Jim entered.
"Whatever!" Trixie frowned at him. "Everyone, Jim and I called this emergency meeting of the Bob-Whites of the Glen because a very important birthday happens this week, and we need to think of a perfectly perfect present."
Honey Wheeler Belden was fanning herself. "Whew! I thought the bright yellow color on the clubhouse walls would be cheery and cozy. But right now, it's making me feel hot. I vote that we repaint the walls soon."
"Honey, you are absolutely not to think about doing any painting! No ladders and no paint fumes." Brian Belden ran a hand through his dark hair in frustration. "Holy poop! I can't believe you're even thinking of such a thing!"
Honey patted her distended belly. "Well, of course I didn't mean I was going to do it right now."
"Earth to Honey! It's time to focus on Trish's birthday present. We only have a few more days." Trixie tapped her size-six foot against the clubhouse floor.
"You three girls did such a great job in the hula recital. Maybe you could do a hula dance for Trish." Dan looked at Trixie, Honey, and Diana in turn. His face wore a beatific smile.
"Dan, you goofball!" Liz' swatted his firm, muscular, gluteus maximus. "The girls are all pregnant, and Diana is just about to pop. Maybe you guys could do a hula dance for Trish."
Dan looked slightly stunned. "I'm sure they could still wear those gorgeous dresses. And they all look so ... so ... radiant."
"Liz, my friend, you're forgetting one tiny detail. It's a violation of the manly code for guys to dance the hula unless they're actually in Hawai'i." Brian glared at Liz from his position behind Honey's chair.
Mart raised a hand. "I'm with Brian. Guys don't dance the hula unless they are attending an authentic luau in Hawai'i."
"Um, Dan, I appreciate the sentiment, but no." Diana smiled at him to show she wasn't mad about his suggestion. "I have a better idea. If it wasn't for Trish, I wouldn't be a professional photographer today. Maybe I could take a group picture of all of us. We could all sign it, and Jim could make a handcrafted frame for it. Don't you think she'd like that?"
"I'd be glad to make a frame, Di! Thanks to Trish, Frayler Academy was able to hit the ground running, and it's on a solid financial base. I'll even use wood from the site. I have some nice pieces of walnut that will make a beautiful frame." Jim looked pleased with the idea. He was skilled in woodworking and knew he could make an attractive frame in a short time.
"I'm supposed to be the wordsmith," Mart ventured. "Maybe I could write a poem for Trish. It's the least I could do. Thanks to her, my sweet cupcake has made me the happiest guy on the planet." His eyes glazed over and a smile softened his face as he patted Diana's shoulder.
"I know! I could embroider a sampler for her. The one I'm making now is already more than halfway finished. It was going to be a Christmas present for you, Trixie, but Trish has really helped my parents and me to get closer together. I'll have time to make you a new one before Christmas." Honey's huge hazel eyes shone with happiness.
"I'm sure Trish could always use a good first-aid kit. After all, she has three kids. I'll make one for her. Do you think that would be special enough?" Brian's brow furrowed as he thought about his idea.
"Brian, I'll contribute a Gucci makeup case for you to pack it in. That will raise the special-ness quotient." Liz beamed as she made the offer, to prove that she wasn't angry about Brian's use of the manly code to get out of dancing. She had been looking forward to watching the guys dance. AlthoughTrish doesn't deserve to suffer through that, she decided.
"I have a few contacts in the FBI, and I think I can get Trish a copy of Jack Palmer's official headshot, and an autograph." Dan was proud of himself for thinking of this gift. "You know how much she likes him."
"Dan! What a terrific idea that is!" Trixie's curls vibrated with excitement. "I know what I can get her, too. Jim, you won't mind if I call Riordan Grant, will you? I just know Trish would like an autographed picture of him, too. And maybe a gold coin."
"As long as you don't let him drag you into any new mysteries, I guess it'll be okay." Jim sighed.
"So let's make a list," efficient Liz suggested. "Brian is going to make up a first-aid kit, packing it into the Gucci bag I'm going to give him. Jim is going to make a frame for the Bob-White group picture that Diana is going to shoot. Dan is going to get an autographed picture of Jack Palmer. Mart will compose a piece of poetry. Trixie will get a signed portrait of Riordan Grant. Honey will finish her sampler and give it to Trish for her birthday. Now, who is going to get all of this stuff to the Rocket City in time for the big day?"
Just then, Bobby Belden burst into the clubhouse, panting for breath. "Moms said you were all in here having a powwow about what to give Trish for her birthday. You've got to let me in on the plans, too. If it hadn't been for Trish, my football team would never have won the Orange Bowl. I owe her big for that one."
Trixie's eyes gleamed as a sudden thought occurred to her. "Bobby, you're on summer vacation now. Wouldn't you like to take a trip down to the Rocket City to deliver Trish's presents?"
"Sure! Maybe Moose, Kevin, and Thump would like to go with me. Preseason practice doesn't start for another ten days. We could even head down to Panama City afterward."
"Great! There's only one more thing to arrange. We've got to have a cake - it's not a birthday without cake." Trixie tapped her foot again as she thought. "I wonder if Moms would be willing to make her new chocolate cake recipe? It's the best ever."
"I'll bet she would do it for Trish," Honey suggested. "She and your dad have been acting pretty ... frisky ... lately, and I'm sure Trish had something to do with that."
"Ew! My ears!" Trixie and her brothers covered their ears, while the non-Beldens laughed heartily.
"Honey, maybe your cook would make the icing for the cake. I've noticed your parents have been in an awfully good mood, especially if a person surprises them alone together." Dan winked at Liz, and Honey's face turned a deep pink.
"If we're going to talk about people's ... happiness ... I'd say your uncle spends a lot of time smiling since a certain young lady has been coming around." Brian was the first of the Beldens to recover from the thought of his parents' romantic escapades.
"See? Just like we have been saying, Trish is responsible for an awful lot of happiness in Sleepyside lately." Liz held her left hand up to the light and admired the flashing colors of the diamond engagement ring it sported.
Dan leaned over to place a kiss on first her hand, and then her lips, staring into her eyes and saying, "She sure is. Thanks to Trish, I don't feel like a seventh wheel in this universe anymore."
"Don't forget, she caused some unhappiness, too." Jim frowned and unconsciously pulled Trixie closer to himself.
"That's true." Trixie smiled up at him and squeezed his strong hand. "But there's one less bad guy around, and we're happy together in so many ways. I'd say all in all, she did us a favor." She snapped her fingers. "There's one more thing we can do for Trish!"
"What is it, Trixie?" Liz's brown eyes were sparkling with curiosity. "I think we've thought of some great gifts."
"We'll invite her to be an honorary Bob-White." Trixie's smile was dazzling.
"You're right, Trix!" Honey clapped her hands. "What a perfectly perfect idea!"
"If you want my candied opinion," Diana paused to allow the requisite groan at her misstatement. "I think Trish will be happier about that than anything else we can give her."
"She deserves it. Not only does she keep everyone at Jix and Zap's entertained with her stories, she always takes the time to keep up with other people's troubles and celebrations." Brian nodded thoughtfully.
"All in favor of making Trish an honorary Bob-White, say Aye!" Mart proclaimed.
A chorus of Ayes answered.
"All opposed, say Nay."
Silence greeted this invitation.
"All right, it's unanimous. Trish is the newest member of our semisecret club, the Bob-Whites of the Glen. All for one, and one for all." Jim began to clap, and each of the Bob-Whites joined in.
"For she's a jolly good fellow,
For she's a jolly good fellow,
For she's a jolly good fellow,
Which nobody can deny!"
Mart's original effort produced only a limerick:
There was once a girl named Trish
Who was such a beautiful dish,
Her talent and smarts
Creativity and heart
Are all that anyone could wish.
He tried again for a sonnet, and although it doesn't really have quite the right meter, he said it was the best he could do:
How do I find thee? Let me count the ways.
I find thee in the sunrise, when rosy light
Sets glowing all creation, displaying
The Creator's majesty and power.
I find thee in medicine's healing art,
That guides me to alleviate some pain.
I find thee in the friendship of a clan,
In love that creeps up softly after loss.
I find thee in the language of the poet,
With ev'ry word that falleth from my pen.
I find thee in the bond of sisterhood,
In shared joys' and in sorrows halved by love.
I find thee in the moments of each day,
And know thee in the darkness of each night.
The characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House, and I am not making any money by their use.
This story was truly a team effort. Many thanks to my lovely editors, Ryl, Ronda, and AprilW. Your suggestions were deeply appreciated! The talented Vivian helped me with my page layout and made the lovely shiny red strip as well as the little star graphic - you're fabulous! Jack Palmer and Riordan Grant are the property, respectively, of AprilW and Susansuth, and are used with permission.
The title of this story honors Trish's A Season and a Time uni. It makes many references to happenings from Trish's Seuss universe; Dan's turning to mush around the pregnant BWG girls happens in Trish's Dia de los Muertos story; and I made the Gucci bag reference in honor of her Undercover Angel uni. The male code, cited by Brian in this story, has been well-defined by Trish and is a perfect example of why men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Trixie's comment, We owe her so much of our happiness! refers to Trish's storyline in which Bobby and Diana plot to get Jim and Trixie alone in an elevator, which they then shut down. The graphics were made by me (using images from istockphoto.com) and symbolize Trish's love of chocolate (the cake and background color), Trish's birthday month of July (red, white, and blue), and the titles from her Seuss universe (the Curlz font).
In honor of Trish, this story is a non-CWP, although it contains 14 elements, selected from 11 of the CWPs. Included elements are:
1. A bright yellow room (CWP #1.1); the clubhouse is painted yellow inside
2. Appearance of another author's created character (CWP1.4) Liz Wilson, Moose, Kevin, and Thump - Trish; Jack Palmer - AprilW; Riordan Grant - Susan; they are used with permission of their creators.
3. The word "frisky" used in any context (CWP 1.6) -Trixie's parents are acting frisky
4. A holiday song/ one that fits the mood of the holiday - For She's a Jolly Good Fellow (CWP 1.7);
5,6. Someone blushing and an inconvenient phone call (CWP1.11);
7. A new recipe (CWP 2.1 happy holidays 2004);
8,9. Wood and a calendar' (CWP 2.1 -5th anni);
10. A group project (CWP 2.2 - 6th anni) theBWGs plan Trish's birthday presents;
11. Someone feeling like a seventh wheel, (CWP 2.4)
12, 13. A holiday from May 20 til the end of July - Trish's birthday, of course! And the expression, "Holy poop!" (CWP 2.5)
14. Mention of a hula recital (CWP 2.6)
Copyright 2007-2017 by MaryN.