• Linda Nygard

Classy Is

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

I don't know how it happened. Maybe it was just dumb luck; but somehow I won the local town raffle.

Top Prize: To meet the woman I admired most. Fredricka VonClapenshimer was the town’s Glue Artist, dog lover and eccentric. She had inherited a fortune from the family business, Sea Monkeys. It was amazing that industry even survived, let alone existed, and was able to support her.

The night of the formal dinner at the VonClapenshimer home arrived and I dressed to the nines: Formal silver lame ball gown, opera gloves, pink beaded clutch purse and matching flats.

I drove my little Ford Fiesta to her home on the outskirts of town. I was greeted by a pair of men dressed in armor at the gates.

“Name please.” One knight said as the front plate of the helmet slammed down over his face.

“Jeanie Strausheimer”.

I could hear the knight mumble “Damn it” under his breath as he fumbled his chainmail-covered hand over his mask in order to see his list.

“Thank you Madam” he said as he reached over to turn a key which opened the 8 ft wide wrought iron gate. Decorated with gargoyles, no less.

The roadway meandered up the hill, which ran into a moderate-sized replica of a 12th century Scottish castle.

The valet, a young man dressed as a Page Boy, jumped into my car the second I stepped out.

I ascended the brick stairs to an ominous wood doorway with a lion’s head knocker. Before I could lift the knocker, a butler opened the door with a “Hello M’Lady”. He bowed. “Welcome to the estate of Fredricka VonClapenshimer.”

“Why, thank you.” I replied as I stepped through the threshold into an oversized entrance-way adorned with statues of every type of dog imaginable.

“This must be her famous collection.” I thought. Fredricka was well known for her statuettes crafted out of Elmers Glue. There she was at the far end of the hall, Ms. VonClapenshimer herself, decked out in a burnt orange caftan and royal blue kimono. Strands of costume jewelry dripped off of her neck and glistened in the light. On her feet, a pair of yellow house slippers with the head of Tweety Bird on the toes. Each time her right foot hit the ground you heard. “I tawt I saw a puddy tat.” The only thing missing was “I did! I did!”

“Hullo” She greeted me in a husky voice. “Pulease have a seat in the dining hall.”

Meanwhile, a butler walked in front of them carrying a tray of Cheez-Whiz stuffed celery and flutes of champagne.

The impressively-sized dining table held a collection of utensils, plates and glassware at every setting, and at 15 of them, sat a silver dog dish.

“Charles! Let the hounds out!”

A pack of dogs ran into the dining hall., each jumping up onto a seat at the table.

Jeanie wondered what on earth she had gotten herself into.

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