More Moods...


I just can't seem to get out of mood-writing. So, here's a story this time, instead of a poem. Jowy, I want you to know that I wrote this story long before speech class. :D First, here is a little background information:

Born on June 6, 1755, Nathan Hale received his diploma from Yale College when he was eighteen years old. He became a schoolteacher first in East Haddam and then in New London before joining the Continental Army when he was twenty. Hale showed himself to be both patriotic and brave and soon rose to the rank of captain. Meanwhile, General George Washington, desperate for information, asked for a volunteer to spy on the British. Hale was the first man to step forward. Posing as a Dutch schoolmaster, he mingled with the British and gathered information. The night of September 21, Hale was stopped while trying to return to the Americans. Incriminating evidence was found on his person, and he was immediately condemned to die the next morning. At the gallows, Hale is reported to have said, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." On the morning of September 22, 1776, Nathan Hale was hanged, but his heroism has been remembered and honored by Americans ever since.

I realize that some of the facts in the following story are not historically accurate, but they have been changed for the sake of the story mood and imagery. Any comments you have would be greatly appreciated.


The Night Wind Blows

The warm, fall breeze wafted softly through the room, rustling papers as it passed. The distant sounds of the sentries made their way in through the windows. The sounds of the sea were carried softly, yet always present, on the night air. On the smooth, shiny desk, a candle burned, sending forth a warm glow and flickering a little when its bright flame met the evening breeze. Working at the desk was a man, General William Howe, Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in America. His dark hair shone in the candlelight, and his brow furrowed in concentration. His pen scratched across the paper of his letter. The soldier outside his door stared ahead unblinking. Like the waves in the ocean, the gentle breeze flowed through the room, then receded.

A scuffle broke sharply across the peaceful night, and then suddenly a horse was heard galloping away at a great pace. Several sets of hoof beats joined it, and a shot rang out. Silence fell once more.

The general glanced up when he heard the sounds and ceased to write his letter. He stared hard into the darkness outside his window but was able to see nothing. The soldier outside his door blinked and wondered what had been the cause of the shot. The evening breeze gathered strength and swept into the room, shifting papers and threatening to extinguish the candle. The general rose and shut the window until only a small crack allowed the night air access. Striding slowly back to the desk, the general paused as a new sound caught his ear. Several horses stopped outside the door of the house. He made his way to the window and strained to hear what the soldiers were saying, but the night wind whistled through the window crack with an eerie sound that carried away the soldiers' words. Sighing, the general made his way back to the desk and sat down. His letter outlining his battle plans on Manhattan lay before him. He signed and sealed it and set it aside.

A knock at the door startled him, and the sentry at the door let in two soldiers with a young man. One soldier guarded the young man while the other stepped up to the general's desk with a packet of papers.

"We found him outside camp. He was carrying these papers, sir," the soldier said.

The general took the papers and glanced up at the young man. The breeze coming in the window ruffled his blond hair, and he stood straight and tall, his blue eyes gazing ahead with strength and resolution. A moment only the general paused and then fell to examining the papers found on the man. Nathan Hale he was and a schoolmaster with a diploma from Yale. The general tore open a carefully-sealed packet of papers and looked to see the man's reaction. No fear was there in the man's blue eyes, but still there was that same confidence and resolution.

The general started perceptibly as he read through the papers. On and on he read, his astonishment and confusion growing by the second. Hale's account made the letter he had just now signed and sealed seem like old news, like yesterday's newspaper. The precision and attention to detail of Hale's writing stung him when he thought of how carefully he had planned and how secretive he had endeavored to be. He gazed into the man's clear blue eyes and for a second, wavered. Hale was only twenty-one. He had served his country loyally. Was he now destined to give up his own life? Would he now sacrifice the greatest sacrifice of all for his country? Hale's strong, steady gaze shamed him. Had Hale gone to his death kicking and protesting his innocence as the general had seen many men do before, he would not have such doubts. Hale, standing before him, seemed to personify all the ideals he fought for, and those the general could not argue with.

He looked down upon Hale's papers with wonderment, and the hint of a smile curled the strong lines of Hale's mouth. He had done his duty to the very end, and now it was up to the general to do his. With resignation he addressed Hale.

"I surmise you know your fate?"

Hale nodded.

Assuming as business-like a manner as he could muster, the general instructed the soldiers, "See to it at dawn."

"Aye, sir," the first soldier said, and the two soldiers escorted Hale out of the room. Watching from his window, the general saw Hale striding between the soldiers as they turned the corner.

That night a terrific wind storm battered the town, and all night the general worked on revising his battle plans. However, as hard as he worked, he could not forget Hale, his confidence in what he had done, his clear, steady gaze. As the wind howled around the house, the general fought within himself, trying to justify Hale. In the early hours of the morning, he finally made up his mind. Hale had done his duty, and he must do his own. Of all men, Hale would not resent his actions.

At dawn, the general rose from his desk and stood at the window. Despite the strong breezes that still blew, he opened the window wide. He heard the drum roll and took off his hat, an indication of the deep respect he felt for Hale. A volley of musket fire echoed over the island.

The wind stopped, and all was still.

Cookies Galore!


Guess what I did all week?!

Yep, Mom gave me a week off of school to make Christmas cookies. Of course, I'll have to do that school farther into the summer, but I'm very short-sighted and don't really care at this point. :D

So, I started out on Tuesday with my trusty cookie book.

Actually, I didn't use it right away. I began everything by draining some maraschino cherries - you know, those red things you pick off the top of your ice cream sundaes and try to pass off on your younger siblings. These cherries were for chocolate-covered cherries which I actually don't really like, but our neighbors rave about them every year, so we have to make them.

I then used some of those cherries to make Buried Cherry Cookies, a chocolate cookie with a cherry on top smothered with frosting.

Wednesday came, and I covered the dry cherries with a white concoction which I'm sure is something kin to the white stuff inside Oreos. (that comment is for Beth)

Next I rolled out peanut butter balls for Buck-Eyes.

This looks like something out of Tron. Can they steer their motorcycles between the big blobs?

On Thursday, I started some sugar cookies that I was going to decorate. My recipe called for Ammonium Carbonate, also known as baker's ammonia. Don't ask me why we put it in cookies, it doesn't sound like something that belongs. (It's actually a very unique leavener.)

Its smell didn't help, either.

The comparison was striking.

Lighting a candle to cover up the ammonia smell, I rolled out, cut, and baked 87 of these little things.

"Evaporation is a cooling process. Evaporation is a cooling process."

That's what I think every time I wash warm cookie sheets.


...and wax...

 heat, and an exchange of energy takes place.

In other words, time to cover the cherries with chocolate.

This is called "what you do with left-over chocolate."

This is when I finally stopped ignoring the clock, and started thinking how it had been 6 hours since dinner and how there were 6 hours until when I was supposed to start practicing piano.

I got to bed at 1:40.

Friday afternoon, I started frosting my sugar cookies, and I frosted all 87 of them for a long, long time. I had my first encounter with making and using Royal Icing. It turned out fine, and actually reminded me of tightened meringue. The only problem was that the recipe made maybe a little more than four times more icing than what I actually used.

I'm glad Sally came to pay me a visit.

Next, at maybe about 10:30, I made Oatmeal Scotchies, oatmeal cookies with butterscotch chips.

Then after that, I made Rudolf's Antlers.

Then at 12:00 I started dipping the Buck-Eyes in chocolate.

A few guys came to get a tour of the process and were fascinated.

Fortunately throughout the tour, there were no casualties... except for this poor soul.

I did meet a few strange characters, though.

Somehow a Muslim got mixed up in the group.

One of the Beatles came too.

Or maybe it was just a guy who needed a haircut.

I got to bed at 3:00.

Here they all are on Saturday morning.

Peter counted them all as Ab and I were arranging them on plates for our neighbors. He came up with 437 (more or less). My only disappointment is that I didn't make any really light cookies,
like Scandinavian Almond Bars.

Oh well, if it hadn't been 3:00, I would have made them too.
Anyway, that's a somewhat brief review of my week. (Yes, it's brief compared to how long it was in real life.)

A Day in the Life of Benzo Traverston Jr.


Here is a video!!!


The boys keep bugging me about it, and now I finally have a video on my blog, so they can stop bugging me.

This is a little video for Ben, to remind him of home. *sniff, sniff* (or maybe he doesn't want to remember some things)

Sorry for the bad quality; it was only taken with Ab's camera. Thanks to the boys for their help and to Jacob for editing and messing with the video so that it would fit on my blog. Yep, I'm not smart enough to do it myself, so I had to get my eight-year-old brother to do it.

Ben just pretend the camera is you. In spite of your weird voices, height, and hands.