AUG 20th, 2012
It was a fine, sunny morning in the village of Rooibosch Hill. All of the grandmothers and grandfathers in the village came together at Teri’s Tea Room at the Sylvanian Market, just like they did every Monday morning. They loved to get together and chat about their adventures of the past weekend, or boast about their grandchildren. They also loved Teri Chocolate’s delicious donuts and pastries!
The Maces were the first grandparents to make the move to Rooibosch Hill and as soon as they arrived, they fell in love with the quiet little rustic village by the sea.
It didn’t take long for them to start convincing their friends back in Grinpa to join them and they were quickly followed by the Spotters, even though their children decided to stay behind in Grinpa until they could find a suitable place to stay.
To be honest, Cliff and Clarice Spotter didn’t need much convincing to make the move back to Rooibosch Hill. They were both born here, and had grown quite homesick living in other parts of Sylvania.
When the Spotters arrived, they decided to start their own social club, the Silver-years. They would have a meeting once a week to discuss everything that the members got up to. This also gave them an excuse to go on all sorts of exciting
club-outings and to host tea parties for their friends every now and again.
The Spotters were already seated in their usual spot by the time that Ashley Maces and the Snow-Warren grandparents, Bernard and Edith, arrived.
“Good morning dears!” Clarice Spotter greeted them.
Her greeting was met with bright smiles and big hugs all around. It didn’t take long before the Silver-years group fell into their usual chearful chit-chat.
“Good morning you bunch of old crocks! How are the old aches and pains this morning?”
Mack Periwinkle, the ex-Sylvanian Open Tennis Star greeted his friends with his usual banter.
“Ah, you know the story, Mack! That old bones aren’t getting younger.” The quirky Cliff Spotter replied.
“Where’s that lovely wife of yours this morning, Ashley?” Bernard Snow-Warren asked, putting his arm around his wife, Edith and giving her a hug.
“Hmp! You know how the wives get when they become Grandmothers! Always off knitting scarves or baking cookies, just in case the children surprise us for a visit. Laura is over at Donna Butterglove’s gift shop in search of
new colouring books for the little ones.” Ashley answered while pouring cups of Teri’s famous hot cinnamon cocoa.
As usual, the arrival of the Periwinkles meant that all ten current members of the Silver-years were present. But, when Teri Chocolate came over to take the group’s orders, they noticed that Christopher and Carmen Cottontail were not present.
In all the fuss and between the photos and the recipes, no one had noticed that their friends had never arrived for their weekly get-together.
“Oh bother, I wonder what is keeping those two.” Cliff Spotter said absentmindedly while he took a great big bite of his chocolate-bunny-muffin.
“Well, I saw Sorrell in the Sylvanian Market when I picked up our medication for the week just now. I am sure she would know what is going on. I’ll go ask her, I forgot to get camphor cream for Mack’s cracked heels anyway. I won’t be
able to stand a night with those sandpaper feet without it. ” Mabel Periwinkle added with a smile as she got up and went off to find Sorrel.
Just then, Sorrell Cottontail came out of the Sylvanian Market, looking quite grim indeed. Mabel quickly caught Sorrel’s attention and waved her over to them.
“Good morning.” Sorrel greeted the group with a tired smile.
They could all see that Sorrel was looking quite run down and that she had most likely not had very much sleep lately.
“Oh dearie, you look just dreadful! What on earth is going on at the Cottontails’ warren?” Mabel Periwinkle asked with a very concerned look on her face.
“Well, you see…” Sorrel started. “It is Aaron’s father. He has been ill of late and since there isn’t a hospital in Rooibosch Hill yet, he won’t be able to get the operation needed to get him back to health. Mama Carmen has devoted
her time to taking care of him now, and I have had to take over her chores. Without them to help look after the kids and with all the extra work, I don’t get much sleep these days.”
Sorrel went on to answer all of their questions relating to her father-in-law’s condition. She told them that he had a degenerative disease which had been giving him trouble of late. His tail was badly affected and he would need a
transplant soon before the tissue degeneration could spread to the rest of his body.
The Silver-years group all hugged Sorrel as she said goodbye and silently watched her as she dragged herself down the road to the Cottontails’ warren.
“Well, we can’t have that now can we.” Laura Maces’ tiny voice broke the silence.
No one had even noticed that Laura had finished her shopping and had returned to the table with bags of gifts for her five grandchildren. They all jumped a little to hear her speak out so unexpectedly.
“You’re absolutely right Laura! We can’t stand about having tea and pastries while our friend is in pain and torment!” Mack Periwinkle exclaimed. “Now you see, it just so happens that I know an excellent doctor. He’s a surgeon!
Did both the operations on my tennis elbow when I retired and I have never had trouble with it since.”
The group started discussing their plan of action. Mac and Bernard were to go fetch the doctor and arrange the emergency operation. Clarice and Mabel would get the Cottontails ready while the rest of their little group made the
arrangements at the Rooibosch Hill day clinic.
Mabel and Clarice found Christopher Cottontail reading the newspaper in the midday sun in their back yard, under the watchful eye of his wife Carmen. He looked very pale and tired and they could see that he hasn’t been well for some time.
“Good afternoon dearies!” Mabel Periwinkle greeted the Cottontails with a sweet smile.
“Oh, good afternoon you two. I didn’t know you were coming over, I would have been better prepared.” Carmen Cottontail said, straightening her dress and fidgeting with Christopher’s jacket.
Christopher was too tired to complain and he just greeted their guests with a weak smile.
“Now, now. There’s no need to fuss, Carmen! Let’s take Christopher inside for a rest, and then we will talk.” Clarice added brightly. “Poor man is deathly pale, looks like he is going to fall down any moment now.”
Clarice and Mabel helped Christopher into a living room chair and hastily returned to find Carmen still in the garden.
They told her that Sorrel had already explained Christopher’s condition to them earlier that day and that they had a plan to help him. They told Carmen about the surgeon that Mack had arranged and that their friends were already at the Rooibosch Day Clinic to get things in order for Christopher’s operation.
Carmen couldn’t believe her ears. She stood listening to her friends in stunned silence before throwing her arms around them and hugging them by turn. Mabel and Clarice gave Carmen a short, but stern lecture about not telling
her friends when they needed help and after telling Carmen to have Christopher at the Clinic in an hour, they were off.
The only problem now was for Carmen to get Christopher to agree to the help that their friends so kindly offered.
Christopher, who had been listening by the living room window, had already heard everything and Carmen didn’t need to explain much. When she turned around, she found him standing in the doorway to their home with a tear in his eye.
“Don’t worry, darling. It will be all right!” Carmen soothed. “Mabel says that this surgeon has done lots of operations on old Mack to keep him from falling apart, he knows his stuff.”
“It’s not that, dear…” Christopher trailed off to wipe a tear from his eye. “We have such great friends here in Rooibosch Hill, we are so blessed. How would we ever be able to repay them for their friendship?”
Carmen hugged her husband and helped him back inside to get ready to see the surgeon, very grateful that she did not need to fight her dear old stubborn husband for once.