EASTER SHORT STORY: THE ADVERTURES OF BLACK RABBIT AND THE GREAT PRINCE!

GROWL: “HERE I COME,” SAID THE GREAT PRINCE TO HIS PARTNER. IN THE MEANTIME, SHE WAS FLAT-OUT MAKING SURE SHE WAS GOING TO WIN THE RACE.

“Wake up! Wake up! Rumper rabbit cried. “Wwwwwwake up.”

Blackie the rabbit began to stir. “What’s your name? Where am I for god’s sake? This is NOT La La Land?” said Blackie.

“Hold on a god-dam minute,” Rumper rabbit said. By this time all the animals and birds in the area, and the four young Rumpers, came as loudly as an express train.

“Holily trinity,” said Rumper, “this is no La La Land! It is … La La MacForest! It was bought by a mega rich land lord when he arrived here. There was talk that La La MacForest was going be turned into the biggest hamburger palace … anywhere … as far as the eye could see. But anyway, that’s enough of that.

“And what I was going to tell you is that Great Prince Reindeer and his partner are passing through to see us. That’s why the crowd is all agog.”

“I must be dreaming …”

I must be DREAMING …”

I AM dreaming,” said Blackie all in a tussle. “This is ex-tra-ordinaaaary …” 

Meanwhile …

The La La MacForest phemenon was being explained to Blackie, who was coming out of a deep dreaming sequence. Great Prince and his partner decided to cut through the open forest and lakes as the shortest way to go.

Great Prince halted. He went to have a drink of cool water and he saw a fuzzy head looking at her from the bottom of the lake.

“Who is that,” the Great Prince wondered. He jerked his head up. He was staring at his partner who was smiling Ace Reportergraciously. “Who but you, my dear Great Prince.” He kissed her on the lips. Rabbits swooned. Frogs gulped. Butterflies danced. And the owl hooted. It was amazing stuff.

“Now,” the Great Prince shook his head and said, “Let’s go.” Before long, he said “I’ll race you to the nearest waterfall.” She looked overwhelmed. His partner gathered her back legs in and scooted for open meadows!

Now, Great Prince was preparing himself to let go. So let go he did. He gallops, and gallops, and gallops … but his partner was too far ahead.  And all the animals looked at each other and began to smile.

Meanwhile …

“… ex-tra-ordinaaaaary … ex-tra-ordinaaaarry … per-plex-ing! …”

But before he could utter another phrase poor Blackie, now steeped in dark shadow, looked up, and up and up until he suddenly saw the Herculean head of the Great Prince and Lady Reindeer standing there to attention.

Blackie just stood … gaping.

The owl gathered all the animals together.

Then, suddenly, it happened. A chorus of fine, theatrical humming came from several blue wrens in the tree above! Hummmmmmming … like you’ve never heard it before.

“Hoooo-ray, hoooo-ray, hoooo-ray!” sang Blackie. Then all the animals joined in: “This is a sp-eci-al dddday!” The hummmmmmming and the melody wennnnt on!

In the meantime, Blackie was gone. Lost. Disappeared. Where did he end up exactly nobody knows? He come from La La Land but which part of it.

He was fast asleep in a covered terrain in a valley of La La Land … but this time he was shackled by the two front paws. He awoke with a quick start. “I don’t believe it, I simply don’t belieeeeve it.”

Blackie could move from side to side. He faced an opening which led underground into the never-never. Then all of a sudden he froze.

Deep into never-never there was growling sound which seemed to come out from no-where. As it got nearer, it got louder. The growling continued. “I am coming to get you, I am coming to get you …”

The voice got closer, and closer …

Blackie said, half shouting: “Gee, it’s been one hell of a week for me. Next, I’m tied up like a yabbie … I can barely move. Ex-tra-ordinaaaaary! Ex-tra-ordinaaaaary!”

Part 2: I need some help, thought Blackie. “I need to contact Mason Knight, ace reporter.” Coming in May.

Ace Reporter (picture).


DID YOU KNOW? Whether you’re planning an Easter brunch, lunch or dinner, you can’t wrong with an Easter Cocktail. Try an Aperol Spritz and a Mimosa … “Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance” says Benjamin Franklin, 17th century writer and creator of the political cartoon … Penfolds MAX’S Chardonnay has won 6 gold medals! Named after Max Schubert, a master winemaker, this is a quality addition to the Penfolds stable. Grand Years’ Frank Morris says, “The verdict: Nine out of 10.”


1138: AGAINST THE SNOWY BACKDROP, THIS TRAIN READYS ITSELF FOR A DELIGHTFUL TRIP THROUGH THE CANADIAN MOUNTAINS.

INSIDE THE NEWSPAPERS: ROCKY MOUNTAINEER MILE POST – “A FEAT OF CONSTRUCTION …”

Canada became an independent country on July 1, 1867. It consisted of the provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Quebec.

ADAPTED BY FRANK MORRIS

Sir John A Macdonald became the Confederation’s first Prime Minister of Canada. He turned his attention to ensuring that the rest of what is now Canada did not join the United States.

Using the promise of a railway link across the continent, Macdonald persuaded British Columbia to join the Confederation in 1871. The original plan was to have the government fund the construction but have the railway built and operated by private business.

However, because of other financial burdens, the government was not able to do this and Macdonald began to look for a private group to take on the task.

In 1880, he met with a melee of Montreal businessmen who formed the Canadian Pacific Syndicate. The main members of this group were George Stephen, President of the Bank of Montreal, his cousin, Donald Smith, Chief Commissioner of the Hudson’s Bay Company and a railway promoter and financier, James J Hill.

A charter was awarded to the Syndicate to build the railway and Stephen became the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

BOASTING A RECORD

Building a rail line to the Pacific was one of the largest railway projects ever undertaken at the time. Millions of areas of wilderness had to be surveyed and mapped in order to find a route through the  Canadian Shield and the mountain ranges of British Columbia.

Major Albert Bowman Rogers, a well-known surveyor, was hired in the spring of 1881 to find such a route. On May 28, 1881, he found the incredible pass through the Selkirk Mountains that bears his name; and it became the route of CP Rail.

Realising and building of the railway was a monumental task; the Syndicate decided to hire a top railway man to oversee the construction.

On January 1, 1882, 38 years old William Cornelius Van Horne became the General Manager of CP Rail, earning the then unprecedented salary of $15,000 per year. Van Horne became a powerful driving force immediately, boasting CP Rail would lay 800 km (500 miles) of track during the season.

(To date, the Canadian Government had taken ten years to produce 480 km/300 miles of track.)

He came a little short of his goal, laying 669 km (418 miles) of track in the ten month period.

<< Rocky Mountaineer Mile Post, USA, June, 2016.

COMING: The Last Spike was driven on November 2, 1885! Canada’s first transcontinental railway would be completed almost six years ahead of the original schedule. But first, it would face a few hardships along the way.

Celebration: A group of workers were present as they hammered in the last spike.


THE YOUNG ARGUS: THE PAPER WAS JUST HITTING ITS STRAPS BEFORE IT BECAME “MONARCH OF THE DAILIES.”

CLASSIC REPEATS: PUTTING THE ARGUS UNDER A MICROSCOPE

“You’re the last Argus. Because of continuing heavy losses, the Argus is to cease publication. This will be the last issue” – The Argus Management. This message was splashed over the front page.

FRANK MORRIS

The life and death of the Melbourne newspaper, The Argus, was a momentous event in Victoria’s history. Born in 1846, The Argus was a true colossus.

In the mid 1850s one of its contributors was the propagandist and speaker, Ebenezer Syme. The association though lasted only a short time.

Syme, “who found liken beliefs” in the paper’s owner, Edward Wilson, until a philosophical disagreement forced them to part company. In David Syme: A Life, C E Sayers writes”

“Unrepentant (Ebenezer) took his beliefs, the thunder of his editorial writing, the satire of his pen…to the newly started newspaper round the corner, The Age.”

Eventually, by 1852, The Argus was to embody several other state-run newspapers. By the 1890s, under the editorship of the innovative F W Haddon it was not only hailed as “a splendidly-written morning broadsheet,” but the best daily paper published outside England.”

REDUCED IN SIZE!

For nearly a century, the paper was a power in Australasian affairs, before it began to decline in the period between the wars.

In 1949 The Argus was purchased by the Daily Mirror group of London, a move which signalled the death-knell of the one-time lively crusader and arch-conservative among newspapers.

The London connection immediately “tabloidised” it. The once great broadsheet was edited as a tabloid – its “giddy period” – and so started its tremulous but inexorable death over the next eight years.

By the mid 1800s a significant development in journalism was starting to manifest itself. In 1864 The Argus Newspapers launched The Australasian.

Two years before its demise The Argus pioneered colour printing on the news pages, which was achieved by setting up rotary lithographic four-colour presses to run in tandem with black-and-white letterpress.

MONARCH AMONG MASTHEADS

Although the closure of The Argus had been imminent for many years, it was a shock all the same when it finally dawned on January 19, 1957.

It was a monarch among mastheads and its death reverberated throughout the newspaper kingdom. The newspaper was a landmark in Victoria’s history.

It makes no difference what part of the world it takes place in, the death of a great newspaper is a sad event.

No-one expressed it more eloquently that Claude McKay, the last editor of Smith’s Weekly. McKay noted in his autobiography, This is the Life: “Death scenes in literature, drama and grand opera are written to extract the last agonising moment of tragedy.

I have seen it happen but once, and once is enough.”

The last Argus: This is the final issue – the message was all over the front page. The Argus building: It was still going strong. 


END OF AN ERA: THE AUSTRALIAN RECORD-BREAKING COLT SOLD FOR $5 MILLION AT INGLIS’ COMPLEX AT NEWMARKET AT A PACKED SALES RING IN 2013. PHOTO BY VIRGINIA HARVEY.

CHATTER! INGLIS NEWMARKET STABLES – AUSTRALIA’S EASTER SALES AT ANOTHER SITE!

FAREWELL: Since 1905, thoroughbred auctions have been conducted at Newmarket Stables by well-known Willian Inglis and Sons and concluded on April 12. Currently celebrating 150 years in business, Inglis is set to move its operation adjacent to the Warwick Farm racecourse. Photo by Virginia Harvey, Land newspaper.

SIZZLER – THE ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT SALAD BAR – CLOSES ITS DOOR

SAD END: After 29 years, Sizzler at Kogarah, NSW, has closed. The store’s future was indoubt as far back as 2015 when Collins Food Limited, the company that owns the chain, announced it “would close some of its restaurants.” The only remaining Sizzler will be in Campbelltown. There are still several restaurants in Queensland and Western Australia. Sizzler was launched in California in 1958; and the first Australian restaurant was opened in 1985. The closure was described as the “end of an era.” Adapted by Frank Morris from St George Leader.

Boosted business: There was an emotion surge in trade on the Saturday night when news that Sizzler was about to close after 29 years.

Posted in: Grand Years with Frank Morris at 13 April 17

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