Far from the paved streets and many miles down a dusty dirt road sat an abandoned farm house. The weeds had grown so high the once traveled driveway could not be seen at all. Tall oak trees still shaded the vacant home and flowers once planted in love still poked their heads up to display splashes of color here and there. Apple trees still produced yellow and red apples for the local wasp and bees to fight over. Tall pear trees stood stately with most of the yellow pears near the top. As time passed all of the fruits fell to the ground to be eaten by the local critters. Occasionally children that lived nearby would fill their bags with the luscious morsels and carry some home for the rest of the family.
An elderly couple had lived in this quaint spot for nearly fifty years. Their possessions still sat inside waiting for some family member to come and discover them. Curtains still hung from the windows and the porch swing moved gently as the warm winds blew.
The front steps that once were painted a bluish gray were worn by sun and rain. The rails were no longer strong but rotting from the ground up. Ivy grew along the porch and up the side of the house making a wonderful home for birds, insects and small lizards. This wonderful old house had been the home of the Gecko’s for decades. Even when the elderly couple sat in the rocking chair or in the swing they could see the tiny fellows scampering about taking care of business as usual.
“Hey come on guys we have work to do. It is almost time for our yearly parade and we haven’t done anything about it yet. So get up off your tails and let’s get a move on. All the other animals are busy working on theirs. We don’t want to be the last ones again this year!” Arnold exclaimed. He stood upright with his hands upon his hips and his voice was scratchy. His big eyes sparkled in the sunshine but there was definitely a scowl on his face.
“I’m coming as fast as I can. It is not easy climbing down this ivy with a load of stuff on my back. I’ve seen the time when I could scoot much faster than most around here but time as taken its toll on this ole body of mine.” Priscilla replied. She was all out of breath and clearly out of sorts for having to carry such a heavy load all by herself.
“What is wrong with the younglings around here? Can’t you get some of these strong-legged fellows to help out with all the supplies or must I take care of that too?” She snorted loudly.
“I suppose I’ll have to get a switch and go beat the bushes to wake them all up. This is what happens when they stay up till all hours of the night. I still think we need to have a curfew around here. Maybe then we could get them out of the sack before noon!” Arnold answered all in a huff. “What is this world coming too?”
“I’ll put this stuff down here on the swing and go see if I can light a fire under some of their hind ends.” Priscilla puffed as she made her way back up the vine. It was very clear she meant business about getting some help and get it right away.
It wasn’t long until the ivy began moving with Gecko’s. There were green ones, red ones, orange ones, yellow ones and some with spots all making their way to the porch.
“Praise the Lord!” Arnold shouted as he waved his hands in the air. “I do believe this parade is about to be put together. Last year the fire ants took the show but this year we are going to be spectacular. Whew! It just takes my breath away to see such a kaleidoscope of colors. We have one week to get this show on the road so everyone better listen up. If we lose this year there will be an eight o’clock curfew and I mean exactly what I am saying.” He preached vigorously.
Within minutes the ceiling was covered with colored lizards. Some were purple, blue, pink, black and of course the lime green ones people see most often. The Gecko’s feet have the ability to adhere to the ceiling with ease. Many have special toe pads which enable them to climb smooth areas, vertical surfaces and even cross indoor ceilings with ease. They were scampering down the wall as if it were nothing at all. The air was filled with their short chirping sounds. It was music to Arnold’s ears and he was so please his smile spread clear across his face. Since Gecko’s have no eyelids Arnold used a special transparent membrane to lick his eyes to keep them clean and moist. He was overcome with emotion as he watched all of the Gecko’s spring into action.
The Gecko’s worked all day every day getting everything ready for the big show. At the crack of dawn on Saturday morning, Arnold and Priscilla began lining up everyone. As far as the eye could see animals of all sorts began marching in the grand parade. Each group had high hopes of winning the award for best display. The frogs sprang into action twirling and jumping to the sound of the music. Turtles moved slowly but with snails stuck on their backs.. Their long necks moved side to side and their faces were full of smiles. Butterflies flew like small airplanes above all the fire ants.
Grasshoppers stacked themselves on top of each other and held on for dear life as they hopped along. Spiders big and small sped along behind the wasp trying very hard not to pounce upon one for a snack. Beetles danced about waving fuzzy plumes from the tall grass. Snakes slithered along, coiled themselves up and jumped as if attacking its prey. Rabbits hopped along throwing petals from flowers along the way. Crickets rubbed their legs together making their unique sounds. Squirrels waved their tails and chirped as loud as they could while tossing nuts to the critters on the sides. Mosquito’s buzzed above the squirrels tails in circles and honey bees did acrobatic dives in the air. Ladybugs sat pristinely upon the caterpillars back.
The birds of all kinds flew above all the others singing a melody only heard once a year in the parade. At the end of the parade rolled a carriage made of feathers and drawn by four mice. Sitting on the carriage dressed in spectacular colors sat the tiny hummingbird. Following behind the carriage was the most glorious display of color ever seen under the heavens. The entire company of Gecko’s covered the ground with an awesome array of color. They bowed their heads gracefully to all the animals on the sidelines. Then lifting their tiny heads they all began to sing.
You Are My Sunshine
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are gray.
You’ll never know, friends,
How much we love you.
Please don’t take our sunshine away
Each Gecko carried a sunflower and waved it in the air as they repeated the chorus. It was a song they had heard the old lady who lived in the house sing for forty some years. Because of the Gecko’s the song can still be heard at least one day each year. Needless-to-say the Gecko’s won the award for being the most creative and the most colorful group in the parade. There was no curfew that year!
Written by Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved
Copyrighted July 2011
Question: Who was the best in the parade? What happened to the curfew?