In this first such tribute I had to pick the one who just makes us crazy. It's a story that I have been encouraged to share, but since this is a somewhat public forum, the actual characters have been highly disguised to protect the guil..., uh, my life. And there are elements of molding, mentoring, and motivation.
Let's call this one:
Dorothy, the Sequel
I can't imagine a single person in the civilized world, and some uncivilized worlds, who has not seen The Wizard of Oz. The very presence of The Wizard of Oz on the television airwaves signals the orbiting satellites to beam Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion, and Toto, too, to every TV set in the world! Who could forget the little farmhouse in Kansas whirling through the air, spinning and spinning, until it landed --- SPLAT! --- on the wicked witch of the East? Dorothy and Toto toppled into the Land of Oz. Well, this might be a stretch, but since living in the OZarks, and watching the paths of tornadoes, I have concluded that Dorothy actually took a little trip from Kansas into Missouri where she followed the yellow brick road to the beautiful Emerald City. Well, in her journey she defeated the wicked witch of the West, who, of course, melted after being doused with water. Once she did that she was able to return to Kansas.
As Dorothy grew up and was able to travel without borrowing her Auntie Em's house, she discovered that Oz was indeed a real place in Missouri. She found the Emerald City again and visited often. Eventually she just had to move there. The threats of the wicked witch of the West and her flying monkeys were gone, Scarecrow was using his brain to make gasoline out of the corn in Kansas, Tin Man was doing philanthropic work in Topeka, and the Lion was bravely patrolling the highways and byways for bad guys. So, Dorothy and Toto Two packed up and moved to a lovely place in the hills of the Oz.
Everyone was just as friendly as she remembered and wanted to help out. They called it being neighborly. Many Ozites said that 99.9% of the people were friendly and got along fine. In fact, they get along so well that the precious life-giving commodity of crystal clear liquid found to be plentiful in the ground was brought to the surface through a system of pipes and valves which neighbors shared. In Oz this liquid crystal is free and everyone shares the responsibility to keep it flowing to all.
Dorothy was happy in her cozy place but little did she know that the deceased witches had a cousin, not yet defeated by flying farmhouses or pails of water. As luck would have it, Dorothy discovered this crooked branch of the coven's family tree to be right next door. Eventually dubbed P.B. (think cult movie starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, and a word that rhymes with her relatives) she was most welcoming at first. You will remember that her Aunt W.W. of the West wanted the ruby slippers for more magical power. P.B. was driven by greed. She had the power to control the flow of the crystal liquid and waved her magic cursor to conjure up angst and fear in her domain. Not nearly as powerful as her ancestors, P.B. had only one flying monkey, dubbed "J" (think Steve Martin movie) who performed her every bidding, though obviously under an evil spell of subservience.
Totally without provocation and most certainly without regard to being a good neighbor, P.B. ordered J to stop the flow of crystal liquid to Dorothy's house. Her cackling and screeching could be heard throughout the hills. Officers authorized to keep the peace had no power over her. Even the USPS could not get her to take delivery of a missive of reason and consequences.
Dorothy still believed in the kindness of her good neighbors, who came to her rescue with access to the crystal liquid. For weeks there was no resolution. It was as if P.B. and J were basking in their power to perform such a dirty deed. One wonders if they realized the irony when their tree was split in half during a severe storm. Nah!
Finally, Dorothy had enough! Her meltdown came close to total evaporation. Enter the Lion who heard her cries and sped to Oz. With a firm rrruuffff and a bluff he had P.B. and J shaking in their little pointed boots and the crystal was flowing again. Dorothy learned from her first trip to Oz that it ain't over till the mean lady melts. So, when two weeks later the crystal liquid again stopped flowing she thought the worst. J was quickly summoned to fix the problem which had, ironically, created a flood under their house. Hmmm, split tree, flood?
This should be the end of this "tribute" except that molding, mentoring, and motivation of this writer has not been established. That is because we're not done yet. Up to this point it was Dorothy vs. P.B. and J. Then along comes the Lion's offspring to build a house and share in the source of the crystal liquid. Like a lightning bolt P.B. waved her magic cursor to exercise her power once again. She got J to deliver her threats at a carefully planned day and time. However, her magic cursor is no match for the Lion's offspring who practices the magic of being a good neighbor. The mean lady has not yet melted, neither has she come anywhere near Dorothy. But Dorothy is still cautious and keeps a bucket of water close by.
So, what has this writer gained from knowing characters like P.B. and J? Being a good neighbor is a most powerful act of magic.