W elcome!

(Page 5 of 5)

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"The Finding of Nowever Then" by Paterson De Sanctis continues:

Now ... a few moments after Franklin passed through our extremely narrow border he noticed that Front Ridge and the beach district were swarming with people. A short while later he became aware that the people were looking at him. Many were waving. Some jumped up and down, scurried from spot to spot, and behaved in other animated ways indicative of extreme excitement. Soon he heard cheering. They were cheering him! They were waving him on!

Franklin could not have known it, of course, but he had arrived in the middle of our tri-annual fortnight festival, Tempus Ludendi, a glorious party that runs day and night for two straight weeks. At the time of his appearance I was with numerous friends and family members on the great lawn of my estate. My son Bertrand was in the middle of a talk with an acquaintance (the subject being Kant's Prolegomena, recall). Scratching his beard, Bertrand changed his subject in mid-sentence: "And therefore, I do believe that ... that someone knew what he was talking about when he spoke of a visitor possibly visiting our festival." He nonchalantly lifted his walking stick and pointed out to sea."Your Dies faustus perhaps, dear papa?" I was quite filled with oysters and champagne, much of which was on the front of my tuxedo, when the sudden gleeful cries of those around me injected Bertrand's change of subject more forcefully. I saw my vague stare sharpen. "What?" I snapped, and instantly I knew that the prediction I had made weeks before had come to pass. Day of favor indeed, dear son.

Most of the others already had left the airy Moorish tent that housed us and were rushing to the edge of the property. Even my small private orchestra, which had been performing Cole Porter selections, was overcome. They stopped, stood and watched as Xavier, the bandleader, bounded down the lawn in his baggy white suit, still pinching his baton. "Right as usual, my dear old man," Bertrand said as he offered me his arm. "I'll settle the wager shortly."

We re-assembled ourselves at the long marble wall-bench that borders the eastern edge of the lawn. There we could hear the cheering below and the calliope music from one of the merry-go-rounds. A red-and-white-striped excursion balloon peeked north of the mountain as it headed back over the beach. "Look, papa, on the ocean, there!" my daughter Ernestine exclaimed.

Yes, there it was - Franklin's tiny white raft, which glowed in the golden light of the early summer day. A small schooner, the Fern (graciously named after my wife's crippled niece), picked up Franklin before he reached the shore. His expression, according to one grizzled boatman, was "balanced between childlike awe and diffident uncertainly." Quickly the schooner was seized on by numerous bathing beauties in their striped costumes and flowered caps. They escorted the vessel to the beach where a small brass band struck up a Sousa number and Mayor Rotundabule pushed his considerable paunch through crowds of the curious. The mayor removed his top hat, bowed deeply, and extemporized an official greeting: "By order of the ... yes ... I hereby ... declare - yes, declare - this day to be ..." Rotundabule sputtered a few syllables and leaned toward Franklin. "What's your name, young man?" Stuttering, Franklin told him. "Well, then, I hereby declare this day Juh-George Feh-Franklin Day.' An explosion of mirth arose from the crowd.

Henrietta Clapsaddle, the current Miss Nowever Then, threw her arms around Franklin and planted a big kiss on his lips. Apparently it was love at first sight; and I am happy to note that one year later the two were married in a brilliant ceremony at the Presidential Mansion.

Henrietta Clapsaddle-Franklin. Besides being an expert on Thales of Miletus,
she is a virtuoso on the goat-bladder bagpipes.

Unlike the others who witnessed Franklin's landing, I did not wave or visibly "emote." Rather, I absorbed the sensation of being alive on such a fine afternoon, during such a fine festival; and I thrilled at the knowledge that, quite possibly, the new president of Nowever Then had finally arrived.

***

As you may have gathered, presidential candidates must arrive in a spectacular way - and with the proper portends. I am told that this happens - like magic - when the current president reaches an advanced age. After a six-month orientation, Franklin was installed as President and he moved into the Presidential Mansion. President Paterson retired. You cannot imagine two happier men. (NT)

HERE ENDS PATERSON DESANCTIS' ACCOUNT.

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