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Green Hills


  Sandy, the polar bear, sat on a blanket spread out on the ground. He was having a picnic with one of his best friends, Mister Smudge. He was chewing on his sandwich with a far away look in his eyes. Finishing his sandwich, he reached for a napkin to wipe his mouth and cast a glance at his friends with a pained expression on his face.


     Sandy cleared his throat. “Smudge, do you mind if I ask you a question?”


     Smudge looked confused. “But you just did, and I didn’t have time to answer your question about asking a question before you finished asking a question. Seems rather pointless, doesn’t it?”


     “Then can I ask you another…. Oh, forget it.”


     “You can ask me as many questions as you want. We’re friends, you know,” Smudge reminded him, taking a bite from his apple.


     “It’s just that it’s a rather odd question and I didn’t know how to approach it,” Sandy said.


     Smudge thought for a moment. “Approach it from the left so you don’t startle it. Thoughts sometimes fly away, you know.”


     Sandy looked at him blankly. “Uhhm, of course. From the left. Okay. Then… can you please tell me why you have a clothespin attached to your ear? Doesn’t it hurt?”


     “The clothespin is fine, but my ear hurts,” replied Smudge.


     “Then why don’t you remove it?” asked Sandy.


     “Because I like my ear.”


     “I mean remove the clothespin from your ear.”


     “I couldn’t do that or I’d most likely lose the pin. The 'ouch' reminds me that it’s there.”


     Sandy sat silently for most of a minute, puzzling over this and wondering what to say. At last, he settled on, “What do you need the clothespin for and why did you bring it to our picnic?”


     Smudge swallowed a bite of apple. “I found it on the way here. It’s just what I needed. I didn’t want to lose it so I…”


     “Stuck it on your ear. Yes,” Sandy finished. “If you didn’t have enough clothespins to use for your laundry, why didn’t you ask me if I had any spares?”


     “It’s not for my laundry,” said Smudge. “I already have just enough for my laundry, so I can use this one as a paperclip.”


     Sandy sat silently again. He always did this when he was thinking. “You could have asked me for a paperclip. I have many of them since, as you know, I do a great deal of writing.”


     “Oh yes, Sandy, but that’s why I wouldn’t ask you for one. You likely need them all. This will hold so many pages together that I may never need another paperclip again.”


     “I see. You know, Smudge, that’s very clever of you to think of another use for a clothespin. You are an original thinker. And you’re right about it being able to hold many pages together. Most interesting. I might just have to get some extra clothespins since some of my stories are so long that I have to clip them together in parts.”


     “Here”, said Smudge, removing the clothespin from his ear. “You can have this one,” and he quickly reached forward and pinned it on Sandy’s ear.


     “Ouch!” Sandy cried out. He swiftly removed the clothespin from his ear. “It’s okay, Smudge. I think I will just hold it in my paw.” He could see a disapproving look forming on Smudge’s face. “Tell you what: I’ll clip it on my ribbon….”


     Smudge groaned as if agony. “And it will dangle from your ribbon forever because you’ll forget it’s there. Then it will get covered in moss, and small insects will set up home and raise families….”

     “Okay Smudge. Just keep this one for yourself. After all, you have nothing else to hold your papers together,” Sandy said swiftly, holding the clothespin out to Smudge, who happily re-attached it to his ear with a sharp “Ouch!”


     “That’s okay,” smiled Smudge. “I don’t have any paper yet. I was just going to keep the clothespin for some day when I do have paper.”


     “Hmmm, keeping it for a rainy day,” Sandy said, nodding.


     “If it was a rainy day, a clothespin wouldn’t do me much good. I’d need  something bigger like a serving tray or an umbrella.”


     As he finished speaking, Bucky Bunny appeared and greeted his friends. “Hello Sandy and Smudge. It’s a lovely day for a picnic, isn’t it?”


     Smudge giggled. “Of course it is, and that’s why we’re having a picnic, silly bunny. Would you like to join us? We have more food than we need.”


     “Oh, thank you,” said Bucky as he sat down on the blanket and started to survey the food spread out before him. He reached for a cup and poured a drink.




Mister Smudge, Sandy and Bucky have a picnic

     It was at this moment that Bucky did a double-take when looking at Smudge from a different angle. “Smudge, I don’t mean to pry, but did you know that you have a clothespin stuck on your ear?”


     “Yes,” he replied smiling, reaching for his second apple.


     “I can explain that for you, Bucky,” said Sandy. “Smudge doesn’t want to lose the clothespin he found, so he stuck it on his ear so he would remember it.”


     “That must hurt,” said Bucky, gmimacing at the thought. “Hey, wait a minute; did you say that Smudge found the clothespin?”

     Smudge answered this. “Yes. I found it.”


     “And where was that?” asked Bucky.


     “Funnily enough, it was right by your clothesline and I thought to myself, maybe Bucky planted some here so they would grow in a convenient spot for when he needs them.”


     Both Sandy and Bucky sat silently just looking at their dear friend, Smudge.


     “Smudge, I don’t think you can grow clothespins,” Sandy said gently.


     “Grandfather did. He whittled clothespins from carrots.” He smiled at the memory, and continued. “Sometimes he whittled parsnips just for a variety of colour. It was wonderful. He grew runner beans that were soooo long, he could balance one between the shed and our house and we could use it to hang our clothes to dry.”


     Bucky and Sandy were momentarily speechless.


     Bucky broke the silence. “Smudge, the clothespin is actually mine and I need it today to hold up the other end of my bedspread. If you really need it, I could give it back to you when my.… Wait a minute.” he put his paw to his chin, thinking. “I just remembered. I have a lovely box of brand new clothespins somewhere in my attic. They are among the items I haven’t unpacked yet since I moved into my new house. They’re very colourful - purple, green, yellow, blue, pink - and you can have half of them.”

     “Oh, Bucky,” said Smudge, “Youre the most kind bunny in the whole world.” He hugged his friend.


     “Ouch!” said Bucky, feeling something pinch his ear.


     Smudge looked at him approvingly. “Your ear is a perfect place to keep your clothespin until you get home so you won’t lose it.”











​Smudgeton Hall and the carrot clothespins of Grandpa Smudge

Picnic bunch with Sandy, Smudge and Bucky - use this.jpg
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