I am Tide Springs. And I would like to introduce the little town of Melvile to you. That is we call it a town, and to us it. However, I recently learned that in Ohio they call a city with 5,000 people a village. That shocked me for several hours, well, days. Five thousand people is not a village! I mean that is a massive, huge, large, giant amount of people! I can’t fathom that many people! But hey, whatever! And any way back to what I was saying,
“Welcome to Melvile.”
A farm town. My home. Population 107 people. (I still can’t figure out how there are so many people! I thought there were maybe 50 people, at the most! But 107, that is a lot! Why, the town’s getting so big we’re almost, well, we’re almost a village!)
I grew up with four siblings on the outskirts of this village and I am still enjoying life immensely. Some say they’ve had a happy childhood, but praise the Lord I’ve had a happy life-hood! I really have a lot to share so I’m gonna go right to my story!
‘Miss Tide’ is what all the children call me because I’m their Sunday school teacher. And I run the hair stylist shop in the village. I wanted to call it the ‘Fix It Shop’ but the mechanics didn’t want to change their shop’s name so I named it The Hair Styling Palace! (Besides wanting to be Tide, The Fixer-Uper, I wanted to be a princess!) I was actually really impressed with that name! I’ve always wanted to work in a palace! But my reign was short! When telling my older sister about the name of my store I simply messed up, it just came out wrong!
“I have decided to name my shop something other than the ‘Fix It Shop.’” I told her.
“Oh? What?” She wondered.
And in that fateful moment my brain went completely blank! “The stylists, um . . . the, the stylists . . . oh, thingy . . . ma . . .Thing!”
“The what!?” She wondered laughing at me.
“Don’t laugh, I completely forgot the word!” I exclaimed. Knowing my sister would tease me I scrambled through my memory, but I was too late.
“Well,” She laughed, “I know what I’m going to call it!”
“Oh no.” I groaned, “What nickname do you have now?”
“The thingy-ma-thing!” She grinned at me like a pleased cat, “It fits I think.”
“Palace! That’s what it is! At least call it the palace-ma-palace!” I exclaimed, “We have too many things around here anyway!”
“Nah, one more won’t hurt.” She decided. And sadly, she was right. The name stuck. And so instead of working at a royal palace, I ended up working at the Thingy-ma-Thing. So it sounded like I lived in a Dr. Seuss book, but then again maybe I did!?
I must say though that the Thingy-ma-Thing is a great name for my palace. After all it has ended up being more than a hair styling shop. It is my office, where I write, where I eat, and where I end up sleeping because I stay there working till midnight. No one, least of all me, was surprised when I ended up selling my store and buying a house to set up shop in. So instead of having to leave I can just wake up and get right to work! It’s where I live, some people could not stand to live in their work place, but I could not stand to leave! My work is my life’s calling, and I love every bit of it!
Like I said I am a hair stylist and a Sunday school teacher. I write, I clean (a lot) and I spend every day very busy and extremely happy! You see there’s a big sign propped up on my front porch that says, ‘The Thingy-ma-thing.’ And there are children’s finger prints all over the windows, and there are always snacks in the kitchen. I am mostly in my garage (a.k.a. Shop) doing hair or writing. And Mister Tootles prows about like he owns the place, but then again, he does.
I keep my store clean, though the rest of my house can be a rather big mess! (Especially when Mister Tootles had kittens and they had to stay in the house the first six weeks of their lives. I was going to call Mister Tootles a ‘she’ after that but I never did remember to!) I love it all. I wouldn’t change Melvile for the world, even if it does have the most original name ever. (It’s named after our founder, Mr. Mel.) And It is my home. It always will be my home, until Heaven that is. But then again Melvile must be in Heaven. We have our pains and trials, we all cry and get mad, but really, is it a place I want to leave? No, it’s not. Let me tell you about it, and you will see why.
It was summer time. I was fully aware of that as I began my morning walk. I was hoping to have a really great summer! I wanted one I would always remember! And I had just decided to make the best of every moment when I reached the General Store. So in I went for, of course, it was one of the best parts of morning walks.
“Good morning, Tide!”
“Good morning.” I greeted Mr. Bringly as I entered the General Store.
“How are you today?” Mr. Bringly smiled.
“I’m good? How are you?”
“Doing quite well.” The older man smiled across the counter at me, “What can I get you today?”
“I’m just looking for some cheese.” I noted and headed for the fridge in the far left corner of the room.
Whoosh! The June wind jumped suddenly as the door swung open.
“Good morning.” Mr, Bringly called.
“Morning Grandpa!” Eight year old Ada announced.
“Hey sweety!” He grinned at his eldest grandaughter, “You ready to work today?”
“Yep!” She danced into the room her ponytail bobbing, “And Mommy said I could have a cookie today, whenever I want. Here.” She placed a dollar on the counter, “Cause guess what!” She hurried on without waiting to hear his answer. “Mom and I finished cleaning the whole house, in three days! It took a lot of work and she says she couldn’t have done it without me!” She grinned, her eyes bright with excitement, “So I get a cookie!” Ada and her family lived on a big farm a few miles from Melvile. Their house was huge, mostly because of their ten children.
Mr. Bringly laughed as he pushed the dollar back to her, “You and your Mom know you don’t have to pay for treats!”
“But Mama says pay anyway, so that’s what I intend to do!” She grinned mischievously, “Any way, I want to pick a cookie now. Are they all out or are some still bakin’?”
He laughed, “Nope, they’re all done.” “Goodie!” She dashed to the front stand to inspect the cookies as I approached the counter.
“I’ll take a pound of this.” I told Mr. Bringly and placed the cheese on the table.
“Alright.” Mr Bringly took the cheese and began skillfully slicing it.
Just as he began to slice the cheese Ada come back over. She was carrying a giant monster cookie, grinning from ear to ear, and nibbling on the m&ms.
“Oh, that looks pretty good!” I exclaimed.
“It is!” She announced, “I love these cookies!”
“I know,” I agreed, “cookies are the best.”
“Mmmmhm.” She nodded.
“Well, here you go Tide.” Mr. Bringly informed me, handing me a plastic bag. “Can I get you anything else today?”
“No, but thank you.” I smiled and paid him for the cheese.
“Don’t get blown away in that wind!” He announced.
“I’ll try not to!” I laughed as I headed off.
And when I stepped out the door, the dusty, summer heat hit me full on. Dust blew down the highway as a semi truck full of grain rolled in. Though the wind was no help to the hot summer day the kids were still active. There were kids washing windows, or selling lemonade, or biking down the streets. How they managed to keep so active I did not know! It was so hot that even Super lay panting beneath the old oak tree.
Super was the town dog. He had appeared at several back doors one hot, summer day. After being treated kindly by everyone, he stuck around. He was not a pest. He, in fact, was a pest destroyer. He chased away rabbits, skunks, squirrels and the evil species, el gato! (Also known as the cat! This did cause some issues and he soon learned which cats put him in his place!)
Some decided he was a hound at heart for he loved chasing critters. Others said he was a retriever since he was golden, but because he was only two feet tall they decided against that idea. Most agreed he was a mutt, maybe part terrier, retriever and hound. But in the end the children decided what kind he really was. He was a super hero! And thus he was named.
That particular day Super was hanging out by a lemonade stand run by two best friends Ali an Jordan! I smiled at the girls and remembered the times my siblings and I had sold lemonade. We had usually drank half the lemonade! As I left the store, I turned right and passed the post office. Then I dashed across the road to the girls.
“Hey Tide!” Ali Johnson called.
“Hey girls! How’s the lemonade going?” I wondered, as I scurried up.
“Pretty good!” Ali smiled, “Want some?”
“Of course!” I announced, “I’m going for my walk, having a lemonade to drink would be super nice!” Super, who was watching us, lifted his head when he heard his name. “Hey buddy!” I laughed, “Do you think I’m talking about you?”
“What,” I questioned Jordan, “did he say? I can’t speak dog!”
“He said yes. He said that because he thinks every one should talk about him!” She grinned at Super who whined. “Oh, yes of course, he knows, not thinks, everyone should talk about him!” She added.
“Super,” I noted, “you’re silly.”
“Whmph.” He plopped his head on his paws again.
“Here’s your lemonade.” Ali announced holding up the cup.
“Oh, yum! Thank you!” I took the cup and paid them. “Have a good day.” I called over my shoulder.
“You too!” They replied.
And then I took off on my walk and headed down Main Avenue. Super, deciding he forgave me for calling him silly, jumped up and followed me.
Main Avenue was a highway that literally went straight through Melvile. Most people zoomed through on the highway hardly even noticing the town. But, despite it’s small size there was still a lot of activity going on.
Before work, at eight o’clock each morning, I enjoyed a stroll through town. After talking to the girls I headed on and passed the fire station. No one was there. As I passed the community building I remembered and made a mental note to be there the next afternoon. Several of the farm wives were getting together to bake food for harvest and anyone could come help. I reached Bingo’s, the wonderful restaurant owned by Mr. and Mrs. Zack. Or Chase and Adelina as every one called them. I decided to not go in because I would just end up buying some pizza. (I loved their food!) I scurried past Bingo’s but I did stop at the candy store. Leaving Super to guard the door I headed inside.
The bell jingled merrily as I entered.
“Come on in.” Someone hollered from way in the back.
“I will!” I hollered back realizing it was Johnathan. His grandma had started the candy store. She still worked there but she was often busy so he ran the store in the mornings. I pushed past balloons surrounding the entrance and stepped into the store. The smell of chocolate tickled my nose and gum balls, lollipops and mints filled the stand in front of me. I resisted the urge to browse the candy, I knew what I was wanting to buy and didn’t need to get any thing else! So I headed to the front of the store. Johnathan was behind the desk but on his hands and knees working on something. I figured he was probably trying to fix something.
“Hey, what are you doing?” I wondered, peering over the desk.
“Oh, trying to get this drawer unstuck!” He sighed, motioning to the drawer that was half open and stuck at an odd angle. “It’s not working! Oh well.” He gave it a little shove, “Anyways, what do you need?”
He stood up quickly and, bang, he whacked his head on a shelf hanging above the counter! Candies flew everywhere, peppermints, lemon heads, and more, all of them scattered off the shelf. Johnathan started laughing.
“Great!” He exclaimed, “That’s just how this day is going, first I popped all the birthday balloons, then the drawer, now the candy!”
“Nice.” I noted, “That makes life much more colorful!”
“Yah.” He laughed, “I, you know, planned that.”
“Oh really?” I chuckled.
“Wanna help me clean up?” He suggested.
“No.” I laughed, “But I can.”
“Actually, what were you in here to buy?” He asked.
“Oh, two bags of chocolate balls and one bag of gummy worms.”
“Your going to the Hope Center again?”
“Yep, I am.” I told him “So lets hurry and clean these candies up!”
“Thanks for helping! Just set them on the counter they need to go somewhere else anyway.” He informed me.
We set about working and talking, and I decided to grab some peppermints to go to the Hope Center.
The Hope Center was started by my cousin Kate, ten years earlier. It was right outside of town and was dedicated to helping children with cancer. It had continuously grown. It was not only a place for cancer research and treatment, but was also an orphanage. Orphans with cancer or special needs came there, and I was in charge of giving all the kids their monthly hair cuts. They didn’t all enjoy it, especially the little kids so I always took candy to pacify them. And it worked quite well!
We picked up most of the candies and I headed of again, after telling Johnathan to be more careful when standing up. He just laughed.
Beside the candy store was an old, unused building, in need of great repair. Beyond it was the gas station. There was a street beside the gas station. And past that street were houses, but no stores. So I scurried across the street, after waiting for a semi truck to pass by. It was harvest time and the town was full of trucks hauling their grain to the elevator. Super barked at it twice as if to assure me I was safe from the big truck! I just laughed and patted his head.
I crossed the street reaching another forgotten building. Then I came to the craft store which was beside it. A friend of mine had started the store and several people helped her run it. The store had a large amount of craft supplies and we all extremely enjoyed it!
“Good morning!” I called as I stepped in the door. My sister Addy was working there as she always did on Tuesdays.
“Hey Tide!” She grinned. She was on the left side of the store folding up some fabric. “Do you need anything?”
“Nope. I just stopped by cause you were here.”
“That’s what I figured! How have you been?”
“Good! How about you?” I came over and started helping her fold the fabric.
“I’m good, actually there was something I wanted to ask you. What was it? Oh, I remember. Are you going to the ladies baking tomorrow?”
“Yes, for a little. But we have our first practice for the church play, at two thirty, so I can’t stay long.”
“Well, Sara was just saying she needed some one to keep Hannah, since she’ll be there all day. She wondered if I’d ask you. She said she didn’t have you number, and I didn’t have my phone so I didn’t get your number to her!”
“That’s weird, I thought she had it, oh well. Hey, do you have her number?
“In my phone.”
“Well, I should just text her now. It should work for me to keep Hannah. I could get here when I go to the baking and take her with me. I’m sure she would love going to the practice.”
“Here.” Addy had walked over to the counter and grabbed her phone. I pulled out mine and added the number,
“Thanks. Oh, that reminds me, I’m heading to the Hope Center so I can’t stay, but we were wondering if you could come by sometime and be in the play. Since it’s about reporters they thought it would be fun to interview you. You would just need to practice a little to kind of know what to do. But, you would basically just be yourself. Anyway if you want to do it we need to discuss it sometime.”
“I would love too!” Addy grinned, “Just call me sometime and we’ll figure out when I can come.”
“Alright! Well I better go!”
I scurried at the door knowing it would soon be eight thirty, my ten minute walk always grew when I stopped to see people! I scurried past the General Store and the post office. I waved at Ali and Jordan and then hurried across the street. Painting, I slowed a bit and laughed as Super bounded onward. I ran past three houses and crossed the high way that intersected with Main Avenue. Slowly, I chugged past the empty house and saw my place, the Thingy-ma-Thing.
It was along the high way with trees behind it and a fence around it. Super barked joyously for he would get a treat when we got there. I heard several kids squealing and laughing and knew they were playing on my swing set. Across the highway was the Hope Center, trees surrounded it, but I could see the biggest building looking out above them.
I was dragging my feet by the time I finally reached the Thingy-ma-thing. Super was laughing at me but I didn’t care, I was to tired!
“Hey, Miss Tide!” Seven little kids sighted me and dashed wildly over.
“Hey ya’ll! What’s up!?” I scooped three of them into a hug, wheezing and laughing. Suddenly, we tumbled to the ground in a big pile of laughing kids! The other four jumped on top and Super started barking joyously and dashing madly about us!
“Stop! Stop! You’re smothering me!” I exclaimed, he-hawing with laughter.
“You’re not smothered when you can yell!” Thomas, a crazy eight year old, hollered, “Everyone keep tackling her!”
“Mmmph! Mmph! Mmmph!!” I breathed.
“Nice try!” Hailey laughed, “We know your kidding!”
“What are you kids doing to Tide?!” Someone exclaimed.
“Kate!” They all cheered releasing me.
“Kate!” I gasped, pretending to be in shock, “They . . . they . . . attacked me! I don’t think I’ll survive.”
“You might, but your outfit and hair sure won’t.” Kate observed peering down at me, “Get her kids, I think she’ll be fine.” She decided mercilessly.
“Noooo . . . “ I gave on final yell as Kate and the kids piled on top of me.
“You think we got her?” Cindy asked.
“Yah.” Kate decided after a long pause, “We can let her go now!”
“Thanks a lot!” I groaned, “You destroyed my outfit!”
“Oh well!” They laughed,
“But do you know what you really destroyed? It’s something important!” I giggled evily for suddenly all eyes were watching me, “ I did have three bags of candy, but I don’t think there’s much left!” I held up the three forlorn bags!
“Oh no!” They shrieked, “Oh no, oh no, oh no!”
“Kate.” I grinned. “Maybe you’d better think twice be for tackling me.”
“Nah.” She stated, “I know you better than that!”
“Maybe, but if you tackle me I have to tickle you!”
“Oh. . “ Kate broke of her sentence, “You wouldn’t!”
“Kids!” I called.
“Noo!” Kate squealed.
“Kids, go tickle Kate!” I pronounced.
“Yes!!” They whooped.
“NO WAY!” Kate took of flying down the lane with seven kids and Super behind her. Laughing, I headed to the house. They’d never catch her, but at least I’d have time to change my clothes. A glance in the mirror showed grass stains, a birds nest for hair, and a disheveled shirt, yes, I definitely needed to change!
“Kids.” I smiled “You gotta love them!”
And as I heard Kate and the kids squealing with laughter in the distance, and Super barking, and the wind breathing, I knew that it was going to be a very fun summer!