Frollo Goes to the Fair

Part Two


What is this? Danisha returns to 'The Porch' only to find that dear Claude has vanished. Where's His Grace? Nisha, cast your eyes to the far end, for your 'sugarbritches' is about to give fairgoers a very sexy treat. Read on...

12:15pm
Where's Claude? I have all this food...lamb kabobs, ribeye steak sandwiches, lemonade shakeups, fried green tomatoes 末 The whole nine yards. But...Hold it! Time Out!

Claude Frollo is that you? What ARE you doing?!

Sure enough, when I returned with a fairtime treat, all eyes were on the tall slender man clad in an elegant Western ensemble. His deep 'in-the-basement' voice crooned a sweet 末 actually sweet and steamy 末 version of 'I Can't Help Falling in Love With You'. He kneeled before me while he poured out his heart; every word of that song touched me in ways that I'd never imagined.
Hmm... The stern, austere, oh-so-serious, 'I wouldn't dare do this in my time' Judge Claude Frollo, serenading me with the sweetest rendition 末 Dear Claude actually improved upon the original.

Claude Frollo played to the crowd as though it was second nature. I had to check out the crowd's reaction 末 They LOVED it! Oh yes, there's a few ladies here, drooling over my sexy baby...Even a couple of grandmas are getting sweaty...Damn, Claude, do you have to...?

The crowd went crazy when Claude ended the song. Even the DJ stepped up to the mike, shook Claude's hand, and told my sugarbritches that was "The best performance I've seen in a long time. Hey, did you ever think about a career in show business 末 You've got the presence, the talents, the moves..."
Claude Frollo smiled broadly as he replied, "My good man, I only did this to impress a certain young lady. I have no intentions of...How do you Americans put it? Ah yes: 'Giving up my day job!'"

I can't believe this! Claude...?

Needless to say I was sort of embarassed, but...
"Danisha, don't look so shocked! After all, it's only fair."
"What's only fair, Claude Frollo?" Was my expression that noticable? Dear Claude had always surprised me in the most wonderful ways, but this beat everything! But what did he mean by 'It's only fair'?

Claude took his place at our table while I sorted through our day-at-the-fair luncheon. He was still smiling as if he'd done his good deed for the day, and people were still coming up to him, shaking his hand, and complimenting his performance. Performance?! Claude...Why??
Claude picked up on my utter speechless, then coaxed me to sit down. He took my hand in his and said that he thought that performance would please me.
"My darling, all the wonderful things you've done for me 末 You rescued me, suffered with me after that conspiracy...Danisha, I only wanted to please you, to..."
His voice trailed off as my mouth stretched into a broad grin. "So," I said with gratitude, "you got up in front of all those people, and sang your heart out, just for me."
Claude kissed me then took a sip of lemonade. He said, "Danisha, has it ever occurred to you that I enjoy being with you? I can't explain it...but...Darling, I love being with you! Everything is so...different."
That said, I knew he meant well. Sweet Claude, that was one of the nicest things you've ever said to me...I'm going to make this one unforgettable day!

Lunch Time!
"Now what do you call this?", asked Claude as I unwrapped our noontime repast. I knew that he hadn't sampled fair food like this, but I was also aware of his food preferences and decided to nix the taffy and cotton candy.
"Here," I said, handing him two lamb kabobs, "These are really tasty. They're marinated, then grilled." I then unwrapped two steak sandwiches, a large basket of fried green tomatoes, some fresh fruit, and a container of stir-fried veggies.
"Lamb?", he said upon first taste. "Wonderful mixture of flavors...My compliments to the chef! Excellent! Although I can't say the same for many of your fair treats. Tell me, Nisha", Claude asked, indicating a tent across the street, "What is a 'banana-on-a-stick'?"
When I told him it was a banana dipped in chocolate then frozen, he wrinkled his nose and said, "And people actually eat such a concoction? While I've come to like such tropical delights末"

Claude paused while his eyes followed one of the 'shuttles' that transported folks all over the fairgrounds. I knew he'd ask about that...
"Danisha, what is that vehicle? From my many visits, I recognize the tractor, but these benches hitched behind..."
"Claude, that's the State Fair shuttle; it's the main transportation around here unless you want to walk."

Dear Claude studied the many shuttles coming and going then suggested, "A trip to the other side. I have a strong feeling there's something wonderful awaiting us."
The smile came quickly as I finished my steak sandwich and lemonade. I told Claude that the other side of the fairgrounds can be quite interesting. "There's the machinery field with the all the farm equipment. The Natural Resources area is always interesting, and then there's my favorite spot."
Claude's eyebrows shot up as he sampled a fried green tomato. He favorably commented on the "unusual sweet-tartness" of the tomatoes, then he asked about my 'favorite place'.
"Let's finish lunch first, then we can take the shuttle around to the other side 末 Unless you want to walk."

1:15pm

Mmm...Walking through the fairgrounds with the man I love. And the heads are turning, for this is no ordinary man I'm with...Oh no! He is Claude Frollo, the Minister of Justice, a man of the 15th Century...And he's sharing a day with me, in my city, in my time...Claude is having a wonderful time; I can tell...

Claude Frollo was all smiles and full of questions as we walked past the midway (which I've avoided because of the high cost and Claude understood this. He said, "My love, I've always hated the 'carnival' atmosphere, and I can tell that the noise of that place is NOT your style.").
Claude, you know me all too well.

Anyway, we walked past the midway, and reached the Natural Resources area within a short time. Being with this wonderful man from medieval France gave me the opportunity to act as 'tour guide'. And he seemed quite amazed and intrigued when I pointed out the beaver pond, the butterfly garden, the wildlife recreations, and the 'mini prairie'.
"Danisha dearest, this is so fascinating! But, tell me; where is this 'special place of which you've raved so."
Taking his hand in mine, I smiled and replied, "Stick with me, sugarbritches. It's down the road a bit, but we can still walk and look, and maybe we can get in some good old-fashioned entertainment."
Claude looked at me with questioning eyes as we strolled past the machinery field. He said nothing, but the smile returned as he posed comments and questions on virtually every piece of farm equipment. Claude finally assessed medieval agricultural methods which those of the late 20th Century.

"In my time, farming expenditures were a minute fraction of what farmers of your time spend."
I could only respond with, "Well, Claude, if you want to see what farming was like in the 19th Century, keep walking, for this will give you an idea of what the pioneers went through."
I believed that I piqued his interest as we crossed the machinery field and neared the Pioneer Village. The things Claude Frollo would soon learn and experience were the highlights of his entire day at the fair. These memories would be treasured forever. It's too bad he can't tell too many people about all this. Maybe he'll tell Jehan and Quasi; but aside from them, he can't share his experiences with ANYONE! Who'd believe him?

"Claude? Are you ready for a step back into history?"
"My sweetness, in my case that would be a step forward."

2:30pm - The Pioneer Farm and Home Village...

The Pioneer Village was actually a conglomerate of several displays depicting life as it was in Indiana during its territorial days.

Claude's eyes widened as we stepped into this microcism of frontier life. There was ths grist mill, the coppersmith, the potter, the smokehouse. There were demonstation of a horse-powered cornpicker, an ancient (well, to me it's ancient) steam-powered reaper. Claude was favorably impressed by all this, but once we ventured inside the main building...

"A glimpse into your state's early history", was what Claude said when he entered the Pioneer Building. This building housed quilters, spinners, weavers, and woodworkers. There were demonstations in the art of basketry and candlemaking (I bought several beeswax candles).
Then there were the many displays of 19th Century farm equipment, a milkhouse, and, of course, the model of the Johnson homestead that stood on this site back in 1820.

Claude and I walked through this logcabin -- It was one-third the size of the average peasant cottage. Claude Frollo dominated the center of this cabin and wondered in amazement, "How could anyone possibly live like this?! Why, this is as 'barebones' as one can get!"
He looked at the handhewn table -- "It's nothing more than a barely sanded log!" -- then smiled when he realized that those early Hoosiers "Only had the strength of their backs and the determination to survive."

While Claude chatted with the "spinnin' wimmen", I checked out the 19th Century schoolroom with its fliptop desks all in nest rows, the bookshelves filled with McGuffey Readers and time-honored Hoosier literary classics. One very nice lady dressed in a colorful gingham dress asked me if I'd like to stay "For the show". I turned around to look at this woman and nearly fainted! Mavis McMullen-Gaines! Fern's sister!

"Mavis! What's up?" I embraced the short, plump elderly woman as I hadn't seen Mavis since last year's fair. Mavis had been playing with the Family Reunion String Band for more than twenty years. Whereas Fern was an expert with the autoharp, Mavis' specialty was the dulcimer. Mavis...Fern's eldest sister...I wonder if Claude's met her...

"Danisha, you are sight for these sore old eyes", she said with a smile as she returned the hug. She asked me about my family and "That nice gentleman friend of Fern's".
"What gentleman friend, Mavis?", I asked warily, now becoming a bit uneasy that...
Mavis' eyes twinkled as she indicated the figure coming up from behind, "Why THAT gentleman friend!"

"Madame Mavis! What a delight to see you again!", greeted Claude Frollo in his loftiest manner. He gallantly kissed Mavis' hand then launched into a series of compliments on the fair, especially the Pioneer Village.
"Madame Mavis," said Claude, "I've had the time of my life. Why, this is one of the most fascinating expositions..."
The conversation went on like this, with Claude Frollo addressing Mavis in that time-honored Southern/Midwestern style. Somehow he made it all his own -- He always addressed Fern, as well as other women from my time as such. Sometimes, I'd catch him addressing Momma as 'Madame Geraldine'.

Anyway, Claude chatted with Mavis for several minutes and showed her a book he had just purchased. It was a collection of the homespun humor of 'Abe Martin', a legendary Hoosier backwoods character that dated back to the early 19th Century. Claude thumbed through the book and expressed interest in, "Settling down with this delightful tome. Perhaps I could share this with Jehan --". His eyes stopped on a page; then, with an audible sigh mixed with a chuckle, said, "Perhaps not..."

Mavis then beckoned us to the stage -- Just a platform with neatly arranged chairs and microphones. The audience area was nothing more than a few old church pews and fold-down wooden chairs. I knew it wouldn't be long before the place was standing room only, as this band can surely pack 'em in.

Claude and I had the honor of sitting in the front row. In time, however, Claude Frollo would be caught up in the rhythms of that good ol' time music of rustic Americana. I knew Claude would come to love this part of the fair as much as I.
The band, about ten members strong, assembled onstage as I pointed out the various instruments. But Claude said, "I need no introduction to these. Don't you remember that farewell party those many years ago?" He smiled as he and I recalled the time Fern treated medieval Parisians to a slice of rural Americana. That was quite the experience that Claude Frollo had never forgotten.

Anyway, the band immediately launched into a series of time-honored songs that harkened to a time when most of the Midwest was still rural. One could almost sense old farmhouses and barns, coal oil lanterns as the only light, front porch swings, icy lemonade on a warm August night, and the chirping of crickets and the occasional whistle of a distant steam locomotive as the only sounds to disturb an otherwise peaceful evening.

I watched Claude's reaction to each and every song. He smiled; he hummed; he tapped his toes. Hmmm...seems he's having a good time...He needs to do this every now and then...A chance to get out from under the pressures of life in his time...And I needed this as well...We all have to 'let it loose' sometimes...

Soon, Claude and I found ourselves singing along with the band:

In the pines
In the pines
Where the sun never shines
And you shiver when the cold winds blow

"Well, Your Honor", said Mavis at the end of the song and after the audience's applause, "I see you've picked up on this stuff pretty darn quick." But Claude only smiled politely and praised the band for a "Truly inspiring performance."
So it went on like this during the band's hourlong set. I sang along to music of my GRANDPARENTS' era, and informed Claude that my grandfather and his friends would often play these Saturday-evening-on-the-front-porch concerts. Of course, I told a laughing Claude Frollo, that this would be AFTER the Grand Ole Opry broadcast.
"Granddaddy always had that radio tuned every Saturday night. No one, and I mean no one, dared talk or otherwise disturb his 'Opry' night."

Anyway, we had a fantastic time -- so wonderful that Claude talked me into a RETURN trip to the Pioneer Village just to hear the band again. Although it was getting late, I had promised to buy a few presents for my 15th Century friends. But Claude insisted on staying long enough to take in another performance. Then he had to make a few suggestions concerning my gift choices -- Save one.

**********

"Hmm...My love, I think this would be more appropriate for Jehan...And this is too ostentatious for Quasimodo...Ah, that's more like it...Now, do you HAVE to purchase something for Phoebus? May I make a suggestion...?"

That's how it was when Claude and I went from vendor to vendor as I chose gifts for my 15th Century friends. Of course I welcomed Claude's timely input and he approved of my final choices.
I bought a miniature farm set for Quasimodo complete with barn, house, and livestock. For Jehan there was a handcarved walking stick. I bought handmade baskets for my medieval girlfriends. Then there was something for Phoebus.
At first, I wanted to buy a John Deere cap for the former Captain, but Claude nixed that choice, saying, "My love, what will Parisians of my think when Phoebus wears that cap in public?" He rolled his eyes as he continued, "I can hear all the questions: 'WHO is this John Deere?'" Claude grinned at the thought of the ex-soldier sporting such apparel; however, my 'sugarbritches', upon remembering Phoebus' hearty appetite, suggested...

"WHAT!", I exclaimed as we passed a myriad of food vendors.
Claude Frollo grinned broadly and repeated, "Nisha, my dear, I quite sure Phoebus would absolutely LOVE to sample some of your Fair's food."

So with that, I purchased the following for that big, goofy, medieval Bubba:

************

What an unforgettable adventure! Claude will treasure this day forever and ever...

Just before we left for home, we went back to the Pioneer Village just to listen to band one more time. I purchased a tape of bluegrass and folk music so Claude could treasure this day forever.
On our way home, Claude opened the new cassette tape and popped into the player. At once, he began to hum along with the recorded sounds of the Family Reunion String Band while recapping his day at the fair.

"Danisha, I had a marvelous time. You always seem to know exactly what I need...I needed to 'get out from under', so to speak, and this trip to your state fair did the trick."
All I could do was smile and listen to Claude as he continued to heap accolades upon one of the most memorable of events. As we neared my home, he leaned over to kiss me and said, "Darling Nisha, I want to thank you for everything."
"Oh, Claude," I said, returning the kiss, "I knew you'd have a good time. And I hope you liked your gift."
Claude Frollo leaned back in his seat, smiled, then began to croon along with the tape.

All I could do was laugh and comment, "Honey, come next year's fair, I'll treat you to a ride on the Nickle Plate..."

Claude Frollo's eyes widened as he stopped in mid-verse. He became quite intrigued and asked, "My love, the...er...'Nickle Plate'?"

THE END

ゥCopyright FrolloFreak 1998.


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