Ash Fork Madness©️
Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison
copyright 2019 Nana Cook and Charlotte Madison
Ash Fork Madness is Part 2 of a trilogy. Each book stands alone if it must, because it does not have a plot, it is just a compilation of sequential true tales meant to charm you. However you really do need an explanation of the characters, before you delve in to the midst of it all
These books tell you about two very odd people. Charle is a happy, gentle passive Canadian, artist, an only child of British parentage, born in Vancouver, B.C. There were two brief inappropriate marriages, long over before she moved to an “arty” west coast island. While her children grew she amused herself doing community set prop and costume design as well as fine art
Charle was forty four when all the children had gone out into the world, and it seemed like a good time for her to head out also - in case they began to come back. She went on a painting adventure in her favorite place, the American Southwest Toward the end of the trip, not uncharacteristically she debarked from the bus in the wrong place, a woebegone tumbledown old mining town in Arizona. There she met G.B. Madison.
G.B. was a boiling cauldron of emotion born in Oklahoma, the proud son of a tyrannical sharecropper. G.B.’s mother was from Georgia and his bible thumping hot tempered father was from Louisiana so combined with two years at University G.B.‘s accent had a rare blend of sounds and expletives. Four marriages failed and the fifth left him recently widowed. Through the internal emotional torment of this tragic loss, and the flowing tears, he managed to maintain a hyperactive, workaholic vice grip on his little town.
When he said “his,” town he really did mean it, even though he only owned one third of Ash Fork Arizona. The flagstone company he supervised for the big Boss in Phoenix’ allowed him to hire, rent to, loan to, sell gas to and by a variety of ways, control a vast percentage of the 500 people in town and owners of the outlying ten and forty acre ranches. On the other hand it allowed him to threaten with his pick handle, scream at, fire, evict and demand repayment from anyone, if he was feeling a trifle irritable.
In books of this trilogy we hope you will share the passion and humor of Charle and G.B.’s unlikely love affair and marriage.
"I have seen countless signs that this master of mine is a raving lunatic who aught to be tied up – and me, I can’t be much better, for since I follow him and serve him, I am more of a fool than he."
SHOWBIZ REARS IT'S UGLY HEAD
And like a bull moose giving birth to a baby elephant – G.B. bellowed, “CHARLE! WHAT THE HAYLL IS A-GOIN’ ON?”
There had been a great deal going on – right under his nose. You see, in order for me to be a truthful person, a happy and kind, peace loving wife, it was sometimes necessary for me to be an evasive person – an evasiveness that on rare occasions ran over into deceit. My Grand Deceit began so subtly that even I barely noticed . . . .
One cold wintry night after dinner I was in the kitchen washing the dishes and G.B. had settled in the living room on his sofa to watch the news on T.V.. The calm was interrupted by an impatient sounding rapping on the living room door, so G.B. called through the dining room to the kitchen, “Charle, it’s the door!”
I replied, “I’m in the sink Hon, could you get it?”
He muttered his annoyance at the disruption and moved to the door.
“Hayll!” G.B. blared out at the visitor, “What y’all want with her Shirley? We’re busy.
“It’s my church G.B.. They want me to produce the Christmas pageant this year. I’ve never done a show before, but Charle has – dozens of shows. She’d know how to do sets, props an’ costumes on a shoe-string. I thought if me an’ her could have a session together she could gimmie some ideas, save the church money an’ me time. The Baptists would really appreciate it G.B..”
G.B. admired Shirley, as well as being somewhat intimidated by her. She was deeply involved with her church, on twenty-four hour call as one of the two Ash Fork E.M.T.’s, and she kept the books for several local businesses. With her husband, Bill, they ran the Whiting Brother’s service station and were raising three sons.
G.B. paused while he considered her request, and as I hurried to the living room I called out, “We could do it in the evenings. It would be so much fun!”
G.B. shot me a dark glance, so Shirley jumped in with one more try, “G.B., the congregation would be so grateful to you.”
Shirley knew him well. Pleased and flattered, G.B. reared back on his sofa, and with great benevolence spoke, “Charle I want y’all to tell Shirley everthang y’all know ‘bout shows. Y’all can do it Saturday night – after y’all finish with work, dinner and dishes.”
“Great!” I replied, but thinking, Oh yes cram 5 years into 5 hours, and then I pushed Shirley out the front door before G.B. could change his mind.
The following Saturday night, “the producer” arrived late. We hurriedly took over the den knowing we had to make every second count. While G.B. dozed in the living room we emptied out the congregations’ donated rag bags and unrolled Shirley’s sewing remnants onto the floor. She had old sheets and bedspreads, pieces of burlap, a set of textured drapes and yards of billowy linings.
“Perfect!” I enthused as I began to spread the fabrics on the floor. “Now, tell the shepherds to wear swimming trunks, so they won’t balk at wearing tunics, and don’t let the actors wear their watches on stage! For each tunic take two rectangles of burlap, tack the two pieces together over one shoulder and together along both sides from the waist down. Trim the tunic just above the knees, make a headband out of the scraps, give each shepherd a staff, and use Liquid Sew to prevent fraying.”
“Oh,” volunteered Shirley, “an’ I have a sheep’s pelt. I could drape it over one of ‘em!”
“Perfect!” I agreed. “Now, everyone else in the cast will wear the same pattern – a caftan. Just use different fabrics, colors, trims and accessories. You can dye sheets Madonna blue for Mary, wine for Joseph and ochre for the peasants. And for the Magi, use the linings and brocade drapes. Okay, now the big collars, cuffs, turbans and trim. Shake out those scraps.”
My eyes widened as I watched her unroll lamé, brocade and satin scraps. “Shirley! You struck gold! These are perfect for the Magi.”
Then with a flamboyant gesture Shirley reached deep into her bag of wonders and pulled out jars of glitter, bags of rhinestones, sequins and a large pot of glue. I gasped, “You’ve got it all!”
“Wait!” She said as she held up her tightly clenched fist, and slowly opened her fingers to reveal four gems the size of robin’s eggs lying in the palm of her hand. She was in possession of a “ruby,” an “emerald,” a “sapphire” and an exquisite “diamond”!
“I found ‘em at K-Mart.” She stated smugly.
“Oh Shirley, what a design team we could have been.”
We were totally in our element and gabbling like agitated turkeys. The floor was knee deep in chaos and we were enveloped in reams of fabric and sparkling with glitter. By chance we both glanced up and saw G.B. leaning against the broad archway between the dining room and the den. His mouth hung open as he gazed around the room in fascination, seeing a sight like no other seen in his experience. Shirley and I shrieked with surprise to see him standing there, and then we burst into giddy laughter. Slowly he shook his head from side to side, again and again, then asked softly, “Y’all know what y’all’re a-doin’ Charle?” Without waiting for an answer, he turned away, waving his hand as though to push us out of his thoughts. As he returned to his sofa he muttered, “Y’all’re crazy – both y’all.”
That night I gave Shirley a crash course in theatrical design and the next day I went back to the gas station, thankful not to have the responsibilities and deadlines of a show.
Shirley did an impressive job as producer and her church pageant was a success. But judging by her enthusiasm I concluded that the “Blonde” was a “Showbiz Volcano” waiting to erupt.