6 Apr 2017, 9:25am

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“…Eyeballs…” Book II: 31. A Walk Through History

Hey! You Got Eyeballs In There?

By Kate Chamberlin


As Grace grows up, some of her stories are happy, some trying, some enlightening, and a few themes are sad, but, they’re all the warp and woof of what goes into the tapestry of life we call Family. The daily living skills and techniques demonstrated by the fictional characters in these stories are valid, tried and true.


Book II:  The Teenagers

#10. Bad News

#11.  Grace’s Day One

#12 Knight With Shining Flatware

#13. The Locker Fiasco

#14. Lost In Thought

#15. The Musician

#16. Day Two And Beyond

#17. First Date

#18. The Zipper Creep

#19. Making Up

#20. Mall Cruising

#21. And More Questions

#22. Homecoming Dance

#23. Loyalties

#24. Sea Dragons

#25. Guide Dog Chronicles: Puppy Raisers

#26. Guide Dog Chronicles: The Training Center

#27. Guide Dog Chronicles: Grocery Shopping

  1. Guide Dog Chronicles: Hit By A Car

            #29. Guide Dog Chronicles: Smells like A Church

#30. Ken’s No Strings Attached

#31. A Walk through History

One afternoon, as Ken, Grace, Edie, and Joe were seated in the back booth at Family Ties Restaurant sipping sodas and munching on fries, Grace asked them if they’d ever been to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia.

“No,”  Edie said. “I know it is very historic, but I’ve never been there. Why?”

“My Dad has a business trip to the area and offered to drop us off at The Williamsburg Lodge,” Grace said. “We can walk to everything from there.”

“Cool,” Joe said, as he RAISED his eyebrows and winked at Edie. “I’ve heard there are lots of taverns and old inns we could explore.”

“There used to be harpsichords imported from Europe back then,” Ken added. “I wonder if they still have one stashed away in any of those big old houses.”

Spring break finally arrived and the teens were on the wide porch of the Williamsburg Lodge, looking over the down-loaded map of the Historic Village.

“Breakfast should be first on our list,” Edie, the ever practical one said.

“It looks like Chownings Tavern is near here,” Ken said.

“Do they say what their specialty is?” Grace asked, as Crackers laid quietly at her feet.

“Bubble and Squeek, and Welsh rarbit, and a dessert,” Joe read. “They’re big on Root Beer here. Great for a hardy breakfast.”

“We’re here to try new things, so, I’m for the Bubble and Squeek thing,” Grace laughed.

After their breakfast of eggs and potatoes for Grace and Ken; the cheese sauce over toast points for Edie and Joe, they again poured over the village map.

“The Prentis Store is on Colonial and Duke of Glouster Streets, near the Prentis House on Botetourt and Duke of Glouster Streets,” Ken noticed.

“Oh, look. Right across the street from that,” Edie exclaimed, “is the silver smith James Craig.”

“I’ve heard of him,” Joe said. “Maybe, we’ll see some skilled artisans making watches or jewelry.”

“It says in the brochure that Golden Ball in London is the trademark used by jewelers and goldsmiths,” Ken read. “It says James Craig was a watch-maker and made a pair of earrings for George Washington’s daughter.”

“Grace,” Edie said. “Let’s get matching earrings as a souvenir of our trip.”

“Edie, are your ears pierced, too?” Grace asked.

“Yes,”  Edie said.

Grace told Crackers “Forward.” And they strolled down the wooden side-walk toward the silver smith’s shop. The sidewalk felt like corduroy beneath Grace’s feet. Crackers was busy looking right and left for anything that might harm Grace, as well as, going forward the way Grace had told her. When they crossed the unpaved street, Crackers was careful to guide Grace around the horse droppings.

At first, the teens were perplexed as they stood in front of the two doors  to the silver smith’s building. They soon figured out that the door on the west went into the workshop and entered. Later, the girls went in the east door to purchase sparkly, silver earrings.

“I didn’t realize it would take you two so long to choose earrings,” Joe said, RAISING his eyebrows at Edie. “I’m starving. What are we near?” Edie rolled her eyes  at him and grinned.

“Looks like the King’s Arms Tavern might be near enough to reach before you faint,” Ken, the keeper of the map, teased.

Each time they passed a door, Crackers indicated it with a little nod of her head in its direction. When they came to a door that smelled like food, Grace said, “M-m-m, this smells like a restaurant. Is it the one we want?”

Once seated with Crackers safely tucked underneath the table, the “wench” brought their menus. She told them that the over-sized napkins were to be tucked into their shirt collar to protect their clothes.

“I feel really silly with this tucked into my shirt,” Grace said.

“Well, join the club,” Ken said. “We all look silly.”

The Southern fare of Peanut soup, pecan pie, Veal chops, Cavalier’s Lamb, Ginger ale or cider made it hard to choose.

As the wench served them, she chatted amiably about the history of the tavern, “It was owned by Mrs. Vobe, during a time when it was unusual for women to own property. She changed the name to Eagle Tavern   to make it more her own and began to serve real Southern food.”

After lunch, they walked back toward the Guard House to the octagonal brick magazine.

“Look at those Muskets, munitions, swords, pikes, canteens and cooking utensils,” Joe nearly hollered. “They are awesome.”

“It feels cool in here and smells old,” Grace said. “Are there any things I can feel or hold?”

The docent handed them wrought iron, wooden, and lead items used in the colonial days for fighting and daily living. They were so engrossed in exploring the relics, that they nearly missed their date at the Court House.

Crackers was more than happy to walk briskly along the board walk toward the Court House.

Ken and Joe were scheduled to be seated in the Jury Panel. Edie and Grace sat on a long, uncomfortable wooden bench, as the jury participated in the trial that actually took place in the Court Room centuries ago. Crackers was comfortable resting under the bench Grace sat on, even though, the floor was dusty, unfinished wood.

“Edie,” Grace whispered, “I can feel there are no rugs on the floor, but, aren’t there any drapes on the windows? It sounds so empty.”

“It’s like a big wooden box with these benches, a few desks and chairs up front,” Edie said.

Although  Ken and Joe had only been on the jury during the long trial, not  convicted or even charged, Grace, Edie, Joe, and Ken took each other’s pictures standing in the “Stocks” on the grass next to the Court House. They thought it would make a great FaceBook post.

“Well, I see we’ve saved the best for last,” Ken said, pointing to the map. “Our next stop is the Bruton Parish Church.”

“Something tells me that this is where we’re going to find the harpsichord,” Grace laughed.

“Close,” Ken said, taking her hand. “Peter Pelham was the organist in that church and gave harpsichord lessons to the well-bred young ladies of the village.”

As Edie and Joe described the things Crackers led Grace past, Ken was deep in conversation with one of the other docents.

“We have one more stop to make,” Ken said with a big grin. “The piano forte and harpsichord are in the Governor’s Palace. The docent is going to call ahead to let them know we’re coming.”

Once in the Governor’s Palace, the docent led them right to the piano forte and asked, “So, who is the musician?”

All three friends pointed to Ken, who tried to hide his excitement.

“We have a few minutes before a large tour group comes in. Is there a tune you’d like me to play?” the docent asked.

“May I play it?”  Ken asked, twisting and untwisting his fingers. Permission was given and Ken played a beautiful Keyboard Sonata by Haydn.

Grace held her right hand out and told Crackers, “hup-up.”  Crackers moved ahead so Grace’s hand touched Ken’s shoulder.

“You play so beautifully,” she said. “The piano forte sounds a lot like our pianos today.”

“Don’t you wish you could play like that?” Edie whispered to Joe, but Joe was lost in the strains of the sonata.

Moving into a smaller room, the docent said, “We don’t usually let anyone play this 18th Century harpsichord, but you were so eager and able to play the piano forte, I suppose there will be no holding you back. Be my guest.”

Hesitantly, Ken sat down on the ancient stool in front of the small instrument that he’d wanted to play for a long time.

“The harpsichord,” the docent said as Ken began to play a Prelude by J. S. Bach. “is a string instrument similar to the piano forte, but the strings are plucked by little hooks, rather than struck by leather covered hammers.”

Ken lost himself in the thrill of performing on such an old and time-honored instrument. He came out of his heavenly reverie when Grace softly said, “Hello-o-o. Earth to Ken. We need to go. The tour group is almost on us.”

They thanked the docent for the very special treat he’d given them and walked toward Shields Tavern for dinner.

Grace tucked Crackers under the table and ordered a green salad, remembering how one of the Heritage Lettuce Plants leaf she sampled at the Village Nursery tasted like vinegar, another like mint, still another like lemon and so many others, that the salad would not need any dressing.

“Oh, how weird,” Joe said when Grace’s salad arrived.

“Why?”  Grace asked. “What’s so weird about different greens having different shapes and flavors?”

“First, put your hands down and don’t touch it,” Ken said, knowing Grace always explored everything with her hands. He began to describe what they could see and she could not. “There are a variety of leafy greens about six-inches tall sticking straight up out of a four-inch long toasted bread troth.”

“It looks like someone stuck green leaves and stuff into a planter,” Joe said, trying to be helpful.

“The dressing is squiggled in a zigzag pattern like a border on the plate with grape tomatoes plopped onto the dressing,“ Ken continued.

“I bet they did that so they wouldn’t roll off,” Edie blurted out.

“How am I supposed to eat this?”  Grace moaned.

“Knock it over!” Edie, Joe, and Ken said in unison. ”And use a fork,” they added. All four of them dissolved into laughter.

When Crackers heard feet shuffle and chairs scrape on the bare wooden floor, she got up and shook. She did a good job of keeping Grace on the path back to the Williamsburg Lodge. Just as they entered the parking lot, Grace’s Dad drove in.

In no time, Crackers was curled up at Grace’s feet fast asleep, making little puppy woofs and twitching her paws. She wasn’t the only one who was dog tired. Within minutes of relaxing in the car, all but Grace’s Dad were asleep, dreaming of more adventures to come.

(Music Source: Keyboard Sonata by Haydn  on the piano forte:

www.youtube …Joseph Haydn Piano Sonatas, Fortepiano after Schantz 1790 1. Son No.21 in D minor Hob XVI/2a: Moderato 0:00 2. Larghetto 3.

And Prelude by J. S. Bach on The harpsichord:


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