The Green Jell-O Mold (by Robin)

Summary:  (The Worst Fan Fic Ever Written….so far… and it includes recipes too!)

Word Count:  12,100

 

 

                                           The Green Jell-O Mold

 

Thanks to Ginny, Lillian, Phyl and Fluffy for their constant support and inspiration.

 

CHAPTER 1

TURMOIL ON THE PONDEROSA

 

“Say THAT again and I‘ll womp you!” Joe hollered.

“I‘ll say THAT again and you know it is TRUE!” Adam spat back.

Joe wiped his eye and glared at Adam and swung his adorable fist.

Adam ducked and swung and hit Joe, knocking the curl right out of his hair. The curl spun back and Joe leaped at Adam‘s neck. “If I had a gun, I would have shot you!”

“If you shot at me I would have ducked!”

“And I would have shot you again!” Joe countered.

“And I would have ducked again!”

“Pa would have been mighty pissed!” Adam roared as Joe throttled him.

“And you would be mighty dead!” Joe shouted.

“Leave him be, Joe! Get out! Leave him alone!” Hoss declared trying to wrench Joe’s spoiled brat hands from Adam’s handsome virile, responsible but throttled throat.

Adam’s face turned puce and cerise, quite vividly suitable for color TV on NBC. Joe squeezed tighter… Tighter…. Tighter! Joe‘s hands squooezed Adam’s gorgle tighter than his own tight pants squeezed Joe’s remarkably adorable ASSets.

“Grrr!” Joe growled hot-headedly. Adam shoved him on the coffee table. They rolled off the table, and on to the floor. And then the two brothers, rolled out of the door. They rolled in the garden, and under a bush, and then the two brothers rolled over some mush. (Mush?)

“Hpcgghhhhhh!” Adam gasped and sputtered spit like a kitty with a furball in her feline gorgle. “Gggccchheee! AKkkkccch!” Adam slid his long fingered, guitar playing hands between Joe’s throat strangling hands and leveraged that classy move into a remarkably elegant judo flip.

The brawling brothers rolled around like a Kansas tornado that swept Dorothy to Oz smashing and crashing in the living room, up the stairs and down again. The tumbled like tumble weed…but more manly. Soon Joe and Adam were rolling into the dining room, through the kitchen and out the back door. The continued to fight and roll scattering the geese and ducks and chicks. Three chickens were squashed into flat latke-like chicken Mc Nuggets and the brothers fought on knocking over the rustic, yet charming porch furniture and the colorful artificial geraniums that Hop Sing so lovingly tended season after season after season. The combatants even knocked over the green Jell-o that was supposed to be dessert on the Ponderosa that Hop Sing had left cooling on the window sill.

SPLAT!

 

*****

 

By the way, dear readers… Here is the recipe:

Hop Sing’s Green Jell-O Mold

8 or 12 marshmallows or 1 ½ c. miniature marshmallows (or for a special pungent toxicity, substitute moth balls)
1 lime Jell-O dissolved in 1 cup hot water
12 oz. cottage cheese
15 oz. can crushed pineapple

Ground mint candies or gelusil

Tofu cubes

Bean Sprouts

Chopped green pepper

Soy sauce

Kool Whip

A quart of medicinal brandy.

Combine ingredients (excluding brandy) and chill. . Pour into pine tree or horseshoe shaped Jell-O mold. You can also use one of Hoss’ boots.

Drink brandy.

 

*****

 

“Yooo bad boys! You spill pan and ruin green Jell-O! I go back to China!” declared Hop Sing declaratively. He said that at least 17 times a month.

The Cartwright brothers rolled through the front door that wasn’t even open knocking a hole in the sturdy oak planks that later had to be nailed together with nails. Once inside, the two battling brothers knocked over the chair, the apple bowl, the kindling box, all the stacked up back issues of the Territorial Enterprise, Reader’s Digest and Highlights for Children (Hoss especially loved “Goofus and Gallant”) and then the brawling Cartwright brothers crashed into the Grandfather clock.

CLANG.

BONG BING
KERPLOP!

Adam shook his slender, bratty brother off his back like a wild mustang shaking off a worrisome rider.

THUD Ker plop.

The boy fell off and crashed into the settee that Dead Marie had bought years earlier before she died and went to heaven to sit on a soft, fluffy cloud rather than a cramped settee. Joe ricocheted off of his dead Mama’s settee like a hyperactive but adorable ping pong ball and rolled into the plant stand. Hop Sing’s prized Boston fern crashed and soy sauce plant crashed to the polished pine ponderosa dining room floor.

“My soy sauce plant!!! I go back to China!” said Hop Sing, who had his bags packed in a minute. Despite the Cartwrights treating him like one of the family, sometimes even better, Hop Sing was quite peeved as he had just lemon oiled the chairs and waxed the shiny dining room table. Every time he did that, he thought of dead Marie Cartwright and wept. Marie loved to water plants and enjoyed tofu with soy sauce as well as her precious husband and children. And she kept her elbows young and soft by soaking them in lemon oil once each week from the Virginia City Avon Lady. That was her secret to loveliness that she learned while living with nuns in New Orleans before she met Ben Cartwright.

Joe’s emerald green eyes crossed, pulsated and rolled back in his remarkably handsome face as he passed out in a limp heap of mushy, yet adorable cowboy. A single tear streaked his bloody face and lumpy head.

Adam felt real bad that he had to knock the hot- tempered boy unconscious but he had no other choice.

Really, he didn‘t! Did he?

”What can I do! He was irrationally throttling my throat?” declared Adam declaratively. He rubbed the finger prints on his Adam’s apple.

“Stop, stop!” wept Ben, who had just walked into the house. Seeing his boys battling and throttling each other broke his massive cattle baron heart. Not only was his heart massive but so were all of his internal organs. Ben Cartwright was quite a guy.

A torrent of hot tears sluiced down his manly cheeks in a waterfall of grief and fatherly despair. “You are brothers and you can not fight inside the house.”

“Can we fight outside the house, Pa?” Joe, who had regained consciousness at the sound of his father’s voice, and Adam, who had never lost consciousness, asked hopefully. Nothing made hot- blooded Joe happier than a good brawl unless it was the hot lips of a hot babe.

And Adam agreed both with the fighting and the hot lips stuff.

“NO! Not inside the house and not outside the house, in the yard, or the barn or the corral or on the croquet court or in the garage or near Hop Sing‘s soy sauce plant! Nowhere on the Ponderosa. No fighting!” Ben wagged his finger in the faces of his two handsome sons. “No! NO! No!”

“No? NO? No?” Adam and Joe asked in unison.

“NO!” insisted Hoss who could be very insistent when he had to be.

“NO! NO!“ Ben roared in a voice that could scare the hair off a hairy beastly grizzly bear. “Not in this house that I built with love for all of you, my sons, from logs I chopped down with an ax on the land that I got for each of you to build together into the ranch we call the Ponderosa. You will smack down on all the furniture dead Marie selected before she died her untimely death as well as you can hurt each other! Kiss and hug each other like I taught you!”

“Stop, Stop!” shouted Jessica Lapin, who had been dating Joe and Adam alternately for the last two weeks, which was a long time in Cartwright relationships. Why, by the time Ben knew Inger two weeks, they were engaged for a week and a half. Ben was a quick worker.

Jessica was wearing a low-cut dress that showed off her buxom boozems, both of them. She screamed, “Don’t you hit each other over me even though I am using you both to win the civil war and deceive you! I am a hoochie mama!”

Ben turned pale at the thought of his beloved boys getting their personal private parts entangled with the personal private parts of a seductive hoochie mama. He felt like Joseph Kennedy must have felt when he realized that his boys Jack and Bobby were both “involved” with Marilyn Monroe.

“Brother against brother! Yankee Granite head against New Orleans boy!” wailed Hoss, who had been born on the great wide and fertile plains yet witnessed at a very young age the deadly arrow that pierced the imported bosom of his mother Inger from Sweden. That was the bosom he loved as well as his father, who loved those bosoms almost as much as he loved the bosoms of his other wives.

It was truly and really a three-way tie as to who had the most appealing bosoms of all of Ben Cartwright’s dead wives. Too bad they hadn’t yet invented a scoring system and instant video replays.

When Ben married Liz, Adam’s dead mom who wasn‘t dead when they married, he had no comparisons as Ben was a **Virgin** at that point in his manly life, despite being at sea for years, and had never seen a bare bosom except for the wooden figure head on the front of Captain Abel Stoddard‘s ship and once a hula girl in Hawaii when he was out on the town with his two pals, Frank Costanza and Popeye. …but that was in the dark.

By the time, Ben Cartwright married Marie, his third wife, he had something to compare to in addition to being a Cattle Baron and single father of two adorable boys and an expert on good boozems. He had seen bosoms aplenty by that time and knew Marie had a swell bosom. Perhaps Marie’s bosom was sweller than most, as her picture continued to appear all over the deep south and west for decades after her death. She was Miss Louisiana, Miss New Orlean’s Duel Gal, Miss Rheingold, Miss Subways and Miss B Haven. She even posed for the picture of Vermont Maid Syrup.

But unknown to most, though Ben claimed he had no favorites amongst his three beloved sons, Adam was really his fave. How could he not love such a heroic perfect lad? Besides, Ben had spent a load of cash sending Adam to college and expected a return on that costly investment of cash money.

“Pa! Joe and Hoss need you more than I!” declared Adam as he wept profusely but not too loudly. He was a tough dude and not one to show his emotions emotionally except when it came to his family, small children, dolls, the American flag and Hop Sing’s green Jell-O.

Adam Cartwright was stoic.

The only time anyone had seen Adam Cartwright cry was when his beloved puppy dog Rin Tin Tin ran off and joined the cavalry.

“I can’t take it any more no more! “ Adam exploded. “I shall leave and travel the world as my heart is broken from Laura Dayton and White Buffalo Woman and Regina Darien and all the other women who broke my heart into shattered bitty bit pieces. Boo hoo!”

Adam reflected reflectively and silently. “It all started with the deadly death of my dead mother when I was an infant, though I remember it vividly. I was traumatized forever at her early demise! I fear abandonment so I leave first!”

Adam was really smart even as a baby and he had a really great vocabulary that got him high scores on the SATs. Secretly, even in the cradle, Adam recorded his longings for mother love in his journal that many years later was made into a Broadway Musical called “I Remember Dead Momma!” He also wrote Harry Potter. Adam was quite educated. And musical too. He also designed and built the Ponderosa house, even though he was ten years old at the time.

What a GUY!

Adam quickly packed up his saddlebag, including his dead mother’s music box which he loved to listen to play music as I-Pods had not been invented but Adam was considering it. And his clothes and books and the autographed picture of Lincoln freeing the slaves that Thomas Bower had sent to Adam as a thank you gift. And some nice boots and black pants and a jacket that was yellow as butter and looked great on color TV, as well as some underwear — briefs, not boxers — and some beef jerky and water and a box of fried chicken that Hop Sing had prepared with some biscuits. And a first aid kit and some leggos and a gun and bullets. He also had some horseshoes, rope, an axe and tools and a flash light in case of emergencies. He was well prepared as he was a smart guy and had been a boy scout with the original Dan Bridger branch of Boy Scouts in Virginia City Troop Numero Uno. Ben had been his den mother in cub scouts as Ben was a great dad, being both father and mother to his motherless sons. Nothing, not even his land, would come between Ben and his boys’ welfare and well being, as well.

Twas a lot to carry on horse back but Adam, always resourceful, managed quite well and knew origami and could do all the suduko puzzles in the Territorial Enterprise in two seconds sitting in the outhouse. He was handsome and smart too. And his beloved horse Sport would do anything for Adam, even carrying a big load and not snicker at the yellow jacket.

Ben clutched his heart and said “ELIZABETH! THIS IS THE BIG ONE!” and immediately fainted at the thought of Adam departing and taking all his stuff with him. Besides, it was the anniversary of Liz’s death which coincided with Adam’s birth but was not simultaneous and that always made Ben morose and sad as well. Each year he was moroser and moroser until he learned to occupy himself with fun activities like picking grapes with Joyce Edwards, singing around the piano or getting roaring drunk in a saloon and beating up blind artists.

Ben collapsed in his morose despair and Hoss had to carry him upstairs and Joe too and put them to bed in the night and sit by their bedside. Hoss even sang rockabye Joey, which was soothing to his brother, though it did make the coyotes and Muley’s hounds howl.

WOOOoooOOOOoo.

Hoss wept basins of tears until the floor had to be mopped by loyal Hop Sing.

“OY! I go back to China if I have to swab up your tears one more time!” Hop Sing said in Mandarin that only Joe understood as Hop Sing was almost a mother to the motherless boy. “With all this sappy sobbing, I am getting Pergo floors next spring from Number 23 cousin in Home Depot!” swore Hop Sing.

Hoss was pissed off. “Oh Little Joe! Look what you done did now! You made Adam run off with your bratty throat throttling and picking Jessica Lapin over him. No brother could love us more and be more self-sacrificing than Adam!”

Hoss fell to his knees and prayed to God and his dead mother for Adam to return to the Ponderosa and for peace on earth and for a new puppy.

Hoss prayed hard and cried too as well. He cried so hard his beautiful and kind blue eyes got all puffy and bloodshot from sadness and weeping. Then he ate some green Jell-O.

 

CHAPTER 2

FAITH AND PRAYER AND LOADS OF SPIRITUAL STUFF

 

Adam reflects within his perfectly perfect self and prays mighty hard. His father had taught him from a very young age to pray and worship God like he had been taught from his parents.

The Cartwrights practiced “no frills, frontier, vaguely vanilla television religion“. It was the same fictional faith the Cleavers and the Andersons of “Father Knows Best“, the citizens of Mayberry and the Brady Bunch, the Cunninghams of Milwaukee — except Chuck — and President Eisenhower followed. It was pretty pious with not too much ceremony done on camera so the viewers could all assume they were the same religion as those perfectly perfect heroic people and maternal moms and paternal Papas. Unlike President Kennedy and Molly Goldberg or Tom Cruise. Even Hop Sing implied he was a “no frills, frontier, vaguely vanilla television religion“.

Amen and God Bless!

Most of the practice was at open grave funerals where the males stood stoically staring at dirt, at Easter choir singing services where the little girls wore frilly bonnets and the kids found colored eggs, Christmas singing around the tree when it always snowed, and weddings that rarely happened to the stars of those shows.

The Cartwrights were really faithful folks.

“Oh lord! Let my family be ok even though I am not there to take care of all of them!” Adam prayed to the starry sky.

He wished he had packed some green Jell-O but he had left home so rapidly, he had forgotten. Instead, he ate beans and since he was alone, it didn’t much matter how much he passed gas all alone on the frontier.

 

CHAPTER 3

MEANWHILE, BACK IN HEAVEN….

 

The angels of his dead mothers and step-mothers hid behind a moon-lit cloud and took notes with a pink plumed pen filled with golden, glow-in-the-dark ink that they got from the heavenly STAPLES store.

“Boy oh boy! Adam sure grew up to be a hunk!” said Elizabeth admiringly from her cloud. She was pale as a pale ghost as she had died birthing Adam. Besides she was translucent as well and hoped to meet handsome angel Jonathan Smith for coffee. He was handsome but not as handsome as Ben but close.

“He is hunka-licious!” agreed Marie. “I would swoon over him if he wasn’t my step-son.”

“And look at his farfennuggen! You must be very proud, Liz!” said Inger with an arrow stuck in her gizzard. She often used that arrow as a convenient hanger for her delicate hand washables while they dried. Right now a pair of bloomers hung from the arrow blowing in the breeze.

“Durn tooting!” said Liz puffing out her angelic bazoom. “That’s my hunka-licious baby boy, Adam!” Her halo glowed proudly like gold in them thar hills. Even dead mothers have loads of pride for their sons who are not dead.

“And we all love Ben so much! So much. So so so much!” said Marie whose pretty head was a bit wobbly and lopsided as she had broken her neck which killed her. Once she was dead in heaven, she tended to wear turtle necked sweaters like Victoria Barkley to disguise this minor, yet fatal flaw. She also invented bobble head dolls and green gumbo Jell-O.

“Remember, boys, pray hard! And every time an angel gets his wings, a bell rings!” Ben told the lads. He had learned that from his old pal Jimmy Stewart who had been at sea with him years earlier when Ben sailed with sailors. For years, Adam knew that every time he heard a bell, that was true. Especially when some pretty girl whispered in his handsome ear “Ring my chimes, cowboy!“

He was in heaven those nights.

 

CHAPTER 4

TRUE TRUTH FROM A FOR ADAM TO Z FOR ZORRO

 

True truth was always important to all the Cartwrights.

After Adam left the Ponderosa, he wandered about zigzagging his way east and west and north and south, meandering about and around the country. A few months later, when Adam finally hit Florida, he sent a wire to his father saying “I am wandering about and good. STOP Hope you are happy as I am too. STOP Love Adam”

Ben wept when he got that wire. And he got a paper cut from the piece of paper that the Virginia City telegram delivery boy Homer McCauley (played by Mickey Rooney). The tears soaked through the piece of paper like the ocean hitting the beach at Lake Tahoe near Marie’s grave, despite the fact it wasn’t really the ocean but beautiful, blue Lake Tahoe.

While his sad and crying father was refilling the moisture in Lake Tahoe with his own torrent of tears, Adam was in Boca Raton eating early bird specials. Boca Raton means “Mouth of the Rat” in Spanish and Adam knew that, having associated with numerous Mexican hands on the Ponderosa and having dated Rosita Morales who was a hot number. His cousin Will had once lived in California as Don Diego De La Vega and he taught Adam loads of Spanish.

Will told Adam, “Soy su voluntad del primo pero usted puede llamarme Zorro. ¡Soy en negrilla y soy valiente y tallo un Z para mi nombre, un Z que esté parado para Zorro!” Adam knew that meant “I am your cousin Will but you can call me Zorro. I’m bold and I’m brave and carve a Z for my name, a Z that stands for Zorro!”

In college, Adam had studied Spanish, French, Greek, German, Esperanto and even Pig Latin, the porcine language of love. Adam Cartwright was glib and fluent and knew how to use his tongue to his advantage in many situations.

Numerous attractive women will swear to that and a couple of not so attractive women. Those Cartwrights all had agile tongues.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Hoss, Little Joe and Ben were crying on each others shoulders. Ben was really weeping a lot. He had spent a lot on college for Adam to be writing such a bad, ungrammatically written wire from Rat‘s Mouth Florida.

And Adam had sent it collect too. Ben had to give Homer McCauley a huge tip and a bowl of green Jell-O with Kool Whip when he delivered the telegram.

Adam’s departure to parts unknown was pretty upsetting to Ben as he had hoped Adam would hang around him all his entire life forever and do heavy lifting when Ben’s back hurt and do the ledger work when Ben’s eyes went bad and maybe get his act together and have a couple of kids to do the heavy lifting a book work when Adam got old.

Ben read the wire to his remaining two boys. Joe laughed nervously in his laugh that sounded like a cross between Woody Woodpecker and a little girl’s hysterical giggles at a pajama party. Ben always knew that was Joe’s nervous laugh as he knew everything about his boys and loved them with all his heart.

Initially, Little Joe was glad Adam was gone but soon learned he was wrong. Very wrong.

Very VERY Wrong!

Joe knew he was quite wrong about Adam, especially when seductress Jessica Lapin revealed she was unworthy.

“You are unworthy of me!” she revealed transparently.

Joe was devastated and astonished at her rejection. After all, who could possibly reject him?

With his older brother gone, no one nagged Joe or lectured him on his lazy ways or took the extra tapioca pudding and Joe didn’t miss Adam’s folk song singing and guitar playing and help with sudoko.

Soon Joe realized he was quite wrong. Adam played swell guitar and made lonely womanless nights after dinner more jolly and song-filled fun fests. There was no one to borrow aftershave from when they did have a chance to go out with a gal who still had a nose. Adam would tie Joe’s tie and make sure Hoss didn’t choke the life out of himself trying to tie his own tie with his large hands that could cradle a humming bird but had trouble tying a tie as Hoss was nervous to meet gals. Adam always could be counted on to do suduko in the Enterprise or answer the crossword puzzles in TV Guide or have an extra pair of black sox on tux night at the Cattleman’s’ association or to speak Paiute to end a war and find a needle in a hay stack before one of the cows sat on it and deflated their udders.

Joe missed Adam a lot and cried himself to sleep every night.

BOO HOOOOooooOO!

Joe’s weeping and wailing echoed through out the Ponderosa and curdled the milk in all the cows and turned it into Roquefort cheese.

With out Adam around, things sucked big time, like the big sucking wind that sucked Hoss off the cliff in “Ponderosa Birdman“.

WHOOOoooShhhh

And Joe had to do more chores too as well.

Life was empty, hollow and meaningless without Adam.

And who would give him advice about how to read Shakespeare or the geometry of pool shots? And for goodness sake, who would jokingly tell his brothers the famous saying “No glove, no love” when a soiled dove blew in their ears like the aforementioned wind.

WHOOOoooShhhh

Adam had grit and moxie and could sing all the verses of the 12 days of Christmas without missing a beat.

He knew how to jiggle the toilet lever just right to get it not to run loudly too. He could read Pa’s handwriting on the tally books and rip the corset pictures out of the Sears catalogue and hang them neatly on the outhouse wall with a certain flair suitable for HGTV. He even knew how to put the thumb tacks in significant spots to add realism to the gals’ bazooms.

Adam knew how to get the slinky to slink down the entire flight of stairs and the last drop of ketchup out of the bottle.

With Adam gone, Pa was sad and depressed. Hoss ate more and more and Joe knew he was wrong as Jessica Lapin left town to marry a sneaky confederate named Luke Duke who was a bootlegger as well. It had all been an evil plot to deceive the Cartwrights and only Adam was smart enough to see through the lies. Joe believed the girl over his own brother.

How terrible is that?

Very!

A girl had come between Adam and Little Joe!

Joe now felt really sad and bad and remorseful. “Pa! I was really wrong. I pray that Adam returns.” Little Joe felt guilty and wept when he thought no one was looking and cried himself to sleep every night after praying fervently on his knees.

Hop Sing knew the truth as Little Joe’s tear stained pillow was sopping wet with tears each morning.

“Boy, you really screwed up bad this time!” said Hoss, who put on his big white trademark hat and went out to sit by Joe’s mother’s grave to cry. It seemed like a custom that all of them hung out by the grave of dead Marie and cried buckets. That is why the flowers bloomed so well on that grave, even orchids which were not native to Nevada.

“OH LAWDY! Lawdy LAWdeee! Bring Adam home for Christmas, if not sooner!” wept Hoss as Chubb prayed as well. Buck went comatose from depression. Even Cochise sang Ave Maria, Adam’s favorite. How many horses can sing opera in Latin?

The Cartwrights were a prayerful bunch of guys. Their horses were pious horses as well. Chubb, Cochise, and Buck all missed Sport too.

Sadness blanketed the Ponderosa like a blight.

Even big bowls of green Jell-O provided by Hop Sing for dessert couldn’t end the sadness for the remaining Cartwrights. Neither could the medicinal brandy.

 

CHAPTER 5

BEN‘S LONG LOST FRIEND VISITS FOR FESTEVUS

DECEMBER 23, 1861

THE CIVIL WAR RAGES AND ADAM IS STILL MISSING.

 

Joe and Hoss and Ben are forlorn. The horses, cows, chickens and gophers were too.

Ben Cartwright was walking sssssssssssssssllllllllooooowly down the dusty street in Virginia City on his way to buy Hop Sing a new pine tree shaped Jell-O mold to match the Ponderosa brand at the Virginia City Jell-O Mold Emporium, when his long lost pal Frank spotted him.

“Ben!” he called. “Ben Cartwright!” Frank zigzagged across the street, narrowly missing being run over by three buckboards and a herd of pleathers and naugas being driven to market by cowhands, two taxis and a prospector on a mule.

“Why Frank Costanza! You old son of a gun!“ Ben slapped him on the back. “What brings you to Virginia City?”

“Buy me a drink and I will tell you!“ Frank finagled.

Ben suddenly remembered why he hadn’t kept in touch with Frank for years. He was a boorish, annoying moron with a big mouth and hair on his knuckles. None of Ben’s wives liked him. Elizabeth put her foot down at inviting Frank to their home because he was so crude. He had re-gifted them with a used deflated whoopee cushion for a wedding gift. Even Inger, Hoss’ dead mama, who wasn’t yet dead at that point and who was pretty easy-going, didn’t particularly like Frank either. He had bragged and boasted about knowing celebrities like Buffalo Bill and Jean Lafitte and fed Baby Hoss stale pastrami. Even Ben’s third and most luscious wife hated Frank. She had cause to hate Ben’s old pal. Frank had once pinched Marie’s pert derriere and Ben had punched his lights out and tossed him bodily from the ranch with a thud. After that, the friendship had not really been the same. Ben didn’t even have him on his Buddy List on his not yet invented computer.

“How long did you say you would be in Virginia City, Frank?” Ben asked hoping Frank would say he was leaving on the afternoon stage and he could avoid spending any time with him.

“Oh, I was figuring a couple of months…maybe longer. At least until the Judge Roy Bean, the circuit judge, gets here,” Frank sighed. “Family trouble!”

Ben felt sick to his stomach. He was torn between Cartwright generosity and his immense desire not to be around his long lost pal longer than necessary. He had to avoid inviting Frank to the Ponderosa.

“Gee Frank… I would have you come over to the ranch but think we are due for a typhoid epidemic come the end of the week and a blizzard and Paiute uprising and a prairie fire and…we are having all the out houses remodeled and the bark resided on the logs on the outside of the house. And Hop Sing needs a new Jell-O mold…”

“I was hoping I could bunk with you on the Ponderosa until George and his pals sorted things out a bit. They got in some legal problem…” Frank pleaded with his eyes as he picked Ben’s pocket with his hands. “The Sheriff is a pal of yours and it might avoid a lynching for my son if you sort of gave the appearance of our still being friends…PLEASE?” Frank pleaded. “I can’t lose my son…”

“I know how you feel, Frank,” Ben sighed sympathetically, thinking of the son he lost, Adam. Could Adam be gone forever? Could he be in jail? Or lynched? Could Adam have joined a cult who thought they got messages from flying saucers or wore togas and handed out flowers at stage coach stops? Adam could be almost anywhere.

Anywhere but here! If he were here, Ben could see him and hug him and have him dig fence poles.

“PLEASE, Ben!” Frank pleaded, throwing himself on his knees and clutching the rancher‘s thighs in a strangle hold. “My George is a good boy! He was duped! He just got in with a bad crowd, a bunch of selfish, self-serving, mean-spirited city folks, that Seinfeld gang.”

“The Seinfeld gang? George was tied up with THEM?“

Frank nodded. George Costanza was in Roy Coffee’s jail. George had been in the audience at Piper’s Opera House with some of his New York friends. A comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, was performing and blathering on about meaningless blather. When noted opera singer Thomas Bowers started his act, one of George Costanza’s friends, Cosmo Kramer, shouted rude, racist remarks. Hoss and Joe rushed to Thomas Bower’s defense and punched Kramer’s lights out. A melee broke out and much damage was done. Roy Coffee and his deputy Clem showed up and threw George, Jerry and Cosmo in the hoosegow. Their gun moll, Elaine, grabbed hold of Joe’s tush and claimed he was her boyfriend. Then she blew in his ear. Never one to turn down a willing gal, especially since Adam was gone and no one was there to guide his hot-blooded baby brother into more productive uses of his bottom like sitting in a church pew or sitting on a saddle and breaking broncos instead of sitting in Elaine’s hands. Elaine dumped Joe as fast as she could for one of the wealthy mine owners and Joe once again was heart-broken. At least Elaine wired George’s father to come bail him out of jail before she left for Vegas with Wayne Newton.

Frank Costanza showed up in Virginia City from NYC the next day and looked up Ben Cartwright.

Ben reluctantly agreed to let Frank stay on the Ponderosa. “Stay as long as you need…”

“And?” Frank said.

“I’ll talk to Roy Coffee…”

“And? Don‘t you realize it is December 23?” Frank pointed out. “Festivus! A Festivus for the rest of us!”

“We can have a big Festivus Celebration…” Ben said.

“How did all this start?” Frank asked. He had learned about Festivus from Ben Cartwright the last time they were together, the time he pinched Marie’s tushie.

”Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son, Adam,” explained Ben.

“A doll?” Frank gasped. “Don’t you mean….an ACTION FIGURE!?!?”

“No, a doll. Adam wanted a doll. He looked darkly tough, but he is very sensitive inside. Very sensitive. But only inside.”

”So what happened when you went to buy the doll, Ben?” Frank asked.

” I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way. “

“There is always another way,” Frank Costanza, Ben’s Long Lost Friend nodded: “What happened to the doll?”

“It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!

“That must’ve been some kind of doll!” Frank couldn’t wait to tell all the other members of Ben’s Long Lost Friend Association that Ben’s first born son was a wimp who wanted a doll. Wait until Guido Borelli hears this! Guido was quite a “confirmed bachelor” himself.

“The doll was destroyed,” Ben sighed. “That’s how we started Festivus!”

Frank Costanza asked “Is there a tree?”

“No tree,” Ben Cartwright said. “No trees for Festivus; instead, there’s a pole. It requires no decoration. Little Joe finds tinsel distracting and since electric lights haven’t been invented, the candles are quite a hazard as we live about 137 miles from the nearest fire department. We use a pole for Festivus. It’s made from aluminum. Very high strength-to-weight ratio. Like the inverse of Hoss…high weight to strength ratio.”

“But you have an entire ranch full of pine trees. Why wouldn’t you use a tree instead of a pole?” Frank asked. He still couldn’t believe Adam Cartwright wanted a doll. His son George never wanted a doll. Maybe that was the problem with George? That and his choice of nincompoop friends.

“Yes, Ponderosa pine trees. I named the ranch after them,” Ben said proudly.

“The pine tree ranch?” Frank scratched his arm pit. “It sounds like a Christmas tree farm! Do you know what a live Christmas tree costs in NYC? We should get together and make a killing in the Christmas tree market from your Pine Tree Ranch!”

“No, not the Pine Tree Ranch! The PONDEROSA!” Ben roared.

“Like the cheap steak place? By the way, when do you serve dinner?“ Frank asked. “I’m getting hungry. All I had was some of those muffin tops that Elaine left behind. And they were pretty stale… and some soup from the Soup Nazi.”

“Soup Nazi?” Ben raised his eyebrow.

“Don’t ask. It’s a very long story… so when is dinner?”

“Dinner?” Ben had no appetite since Adam had left. Neither did Hoss. Neither did Little Joe. Hop Sing had taken up karaoke with all the time he saved from not cooking or washing dishes.

“It’s December 23!“ Frank, eagerly pointed out it was Festivus. “Ben, don’t forget it is Festivus! The celebration of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances, which takes place immediately after the Festivus dinner has been served.”

Ben knew Frank was right. “How could I forget the Airing of Grievances?”

“How could you?” Frank agreed. “And then after a Festivus dinner, the ‘Feats of Strength’ are performed. Traditionally, Festivus is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned.”

“Hoss is really good at that,” Ben bragged. “He’s been pinning me since he was 8 years old.”

“And at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year! In the Airing of Grievances, each person present at the celebration tells friends and family of all the instances in which they have disappointed him or her that year.”

“My oldest boy, Adam… He was always the best at that. That sullen, morose boy could nitpick better than anyone.” Ben’s lip trembled at the fond memory of Adam’s lengthy list and bitter griping and large vocabulary. “Adam had more words for negative things than any one west of the Mississippi. He teethed on a thesaurus and went to college too.”

Suddenly, despite his best intentions, Ben Cartwright fell to pieces. Festivus wasn’t Festivus without Adam. He flung himself into Frank Costanza’s arms and wept hysterically causing a curious crowd to gather. “How can we celebrate Festivus without Adam on the Ponderosa!?!?!”

“Do you mean that cheap steak place?” Frank asked.

“No, you dumb moron! I already told you that The Ponderosa! My ranch!” Ben sputtered.

 

CHAPTER 6

ADAM IN THE BIG APPLE SAVES A GAL FROM A JAM

 

New York City, a few years later…

“But sometimes you gotta go that so you can come back.” Adam smiled as he recalled his last few years traveling. “I had my round the world jaunt, my adventures, my brief but ethical term in Congress and season playing professional basketball with the NBA and singing lead baritone with Metropolitan opera in NYC as well as coming in second on “Dancing With the Stars“ and a brief stint as a champion on Jeopardy.”

Adam mostly didn’t mention that he won a fortune in Monte Carlo because of his great mathematical ability and balanced all the ledgers in J. P. Morgan’s bank, catching the fraud that Charles Augustus Hackett was trying to pull off, and while he was in London, he prevented Queen Victoria‘s bustle from catching fire when she brushed too close to Liberace’s chandelier. Adam Cartwright also invented Velcro, nose hair clippers and Silly Putty.

“What else have you been doing?“ Eileen said. She had come to NYC from Crackerville, Florida where her family ran an alligator purse farm.

“Well, my dear, I anonymously fathered countless children when I donated my super-sperm to sperm banks while maintaining my virginity… after all, Pa raised us to be pristinely pure and holy until marriage…all except Joe who was seduced by Julia Bullette but that there is completely another story.”

“Please! Please! Stay! The adorable blind orphans and their crippled adorable, puppies will miss you, Adam!” gasped Eileen Tippleheimer. Poor Eileen would NEVER ever admit she did not want the hunky furchesthottie to depart. She had spent the last six months practicing writing her signature as Mrs. Adam Cartwright and embroidering his initials entwined with hers on plush pink finger towels. Lovely blonde Eileen was wildly, passionately, madly, eternally in love with furchesthottie Adam Cartwright for more than a year. Poor Eileen came to New York City from rural Florida where there was only swamp and alligator purse factories and no malls or other signs of civilization. Adam bravely saved her a year earlier from being kidnapped at the Central Park merry go round by a vagrant Civil War Vet, Stinky Armpithair who heard voices and tried to kill Yoko Ono. Someone had jostled his arm and Stinky hit a squirrel instead.

“Murderer!” shrieked Yoko.

“Get that man!” shouted the crowd. They raised their angry fists and spit like true New Yorkers. Some even raised fingers in the NYC taxi driver salute. Just then, Eileen strolled past. Before she knew what was happening, the murderer roughly grabbed her and wrapped his arm around her lovely slender throat and held her captive. Clutching poor Eileen as his prisoner, Stinky ran into the subway that was new at that time and got away on the Broadway Local.

“Help! Help Save ME!” the lovely and beautiful Eileen shrieked melodiously. Her voice was drowned in the roar of the approaching subways, the hustle bustle of the commuters and the musical flute playing of some Peruvian street musicians. No one realized what was going on except heroic and observant Adam Cartwright. Adam had been helping to redesign the entire NYC transit system tunnels, modeling the design after the method Philip Diedershiemer had used in the mine tunnels in Virginia City when he spotted the lovely and pert Eileen being dragged down the tunnel by Stinky Armpitaire.

“Heeeeeeeeeeeellllllllppppp!” screeched Eileen just as the uptown local pulled into the station. Stinky started to pull her through the open subway door of the A train. The numerous Peruvian flute players, urchins and candy sellers and cowardly Wall Street businessmen scattered. One brave man jumped forward from the shadows that matched his black shirt, pants and seemingly out of context in NYC cowboy hat.

“Unhand that girl, you odiferous lout!” Adam Cartwright demanded assertively but politely. Adam always believed in being polite, at least to start. He also wished he had his gun with him but there were gun permit laws in NYC that prevented the wearing of six guns by cowboys passing through town on their way around the world.

Adam’s deeply melodious baritone voice sent shivers through the cowardly murderer’s nether regions, kidneys and bladder. Stinky instantaneously peed into his own boots and created a slippery and dangerous puddle on the filthy cement subway station floor.

“Unhand her!” Adam Cartwright ordered heroically. He grabbed Eileen’s lovely, graceful, feminine hand in his manly, strong hand and yanked her free off balancing the kidnapper. Stinky slipped in his own pee puddle and fell under the wheels of the departing A Train.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!” screamed Stinky as he simultaneously hit the electrified third rail and was squished beneath the steel wheels of the speedy A train.

“Good job, cowboy!” Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald sang through the window of the subway as it squished Stinky Armpitaire into mince meat. The evil-doer was very dead.

‘Hooray!” cheered the crowd.

“With cowboys like that around, who needs cops?” said officers Toody and Muldoon, who had chased after the murderer as he ran into the station.

“My Hero!” Eileen squealed as she fell into a swoon in Adam’s strong arms.

Adam shrugged modestly, knowing this was just one of many women he saved.

“What can I do to repay you?” Eileen said, gazing deeply into her hero’s golden brown eyes. She was hoping he would say something about a romantic picnic or skinny dipping in the Hudson River but being a polite and pure young lady she didn’t mention that.

“How about a home-made dinner!” Adam suggested hungrily. “I am so tired of eating hot dogs at Nathan’s and Papaya King! I long for some fried chicken, mashed potatoes and ….”

“And?” Eileen puckered up her pert red rosebud lips.

“And green Jell-O!” Adam smiled. His dimples flashed.

“Take the rest of the day off, Adam!” declared Philip Diedershiemer. “I am going to the mayor’s office to tell him how we are finishing the subway tunnels.”

“Fried chicken and mashed potatoes are just what we are having for dinner at the Broadway Orphanage and Puppy Shelter for wayward Alcoholic Canines!” Eileen smiled pertly.

And that is how Adam and Eileen first met.

“And you still have to teach us your surgery techniques for treating hip dysphasia on the blind orphan’s pet poodle, Fluffy! And build little two wheeled carts for the three legged dog Sandy who had only three legs and needed wheels to run in the dog races to win money to save the orphanage.”

“Please Mister Adam! Don’t go!” wept little Orphan Annie who had eyeballs like poker chips and a dog to boot, even though Adam never booted it. The dog was Sandy who loved Adam too.

“Arf,” said Sandy the dog. “Whimper, whimper!”

The pooch handed Adam a whiskey bottle as the dog was giving up drinking under Adam’s support and encouragement. Nothing worse than a drunk dog with one missing leg growling at blind orphans. Sandy had started drinking when his best canine friend, Neil Kirby, a St. Bernard, died in an avalanche in the Alps.

Sandy tipped the bottle, taking a long, careless swig that allowed liquor to run down his furry chin and staining Adam’s black pants. Adam took the bottle away from the poochie.

“Drinking yourself blind won’t bring back Neil, Sandy. The orphans need you!” Adam reminded the poochie.

“Yip, Yip!” the dog agreed, knowing Adam was right as he was always right.
Adam hated to leave NYC, the BIG Apple, Fluffy, Eileen and all the blind orphans and crippled doggies but he missed the Ponderosa and his beloved father and brothers. He would also miss the bagels that were so plentiful in NYC but arranged for a generous lady named Lillian to mail him a package monthly when he went home.

“Family is important!” Lillian agreed as she wrote down Adam’s address. “I am sure your father has a hole in his heart as big as the hole in a pumpernickel bagel!”

”I am so homesick for the fresh pine air of the Ponderosa and my beloved family that I am going home for Christmas!” declared Adam, cradling Sandy’s bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon against his right side as he was going to bring it home to his father for Christmas, even though it had dog slobber on it. With his gun in his right handed hand, he walked toward the front door of the orphanage. He tipped his hat and blew a kiss at Eileen, who bravely waved adios; even though she wished Adam stayed, she knew he was right as Adam was always right and correct. The love a Cartwright has for another Cartwright is more than he can ever have for a woman except for the love Ben had for each and every dead wife he had.

Then as one last heroic gesture, Adam shot one of the robbers who were trying to break in the orphanage through the unlocked cellar window. This was NYC, after all, and there were lots of godless liberal fiends and robbers and miscreants.

“I’ll remember that and write a song about you gals and orphans!” Adam leaped on the back of his horse, who he had rescued from a vicious handsome cab driver near the Plaza Hotel, and kicked his spurs in its side and road off down the rode singing Kumbaya! And “Frosty the Snowman!” and “Hava Challie Jolly Chanukah!”

“Home horsie!” Adam wept, knowing he would never find another swell girl like Eileen or the other ones in New York like Rachel and Monica and Phoebe Sometimes a man has got to do what a man has got to do, and family comes first, before blind orphans, crippled puppies or anything else. And at least Lillian would send Adam a box of bagels from NYC. They would go extremely swell with the grape jam Joyce Edwards made from the grapes she and Ben Cartwright picked.

 

*****

 

Joyce Edward’s Grape Jam

The jam made from forbidden fruit tastes much sweeter.

First take an entire afternoon to pick one basket of grapes while being consoled by handsome silver haired rancher.

Skin grapes, put the pulp in the kettle and cook until seeds fall out. Run through colander to remove seeds. Put the pulp in the kettle in preparation of 2 cups pulp to 1 cup sugar. When nearly ready, remove from fire. Add the skins and cook until tender.

This makes a delicious jam.

CHAPTER 7

BAD STUFF HAPPENS

 

Meanwhile, back on the Ponderosa….

Lots and lots of extremely bad, bad stuff happens without Adam there to take care of things on the ranch as he always has for his entire life as a motherless boy helping his beloved father raise his two brother, Hoss and Little Joe, who were really named Eric and Joseph Francis but were better known by their nicknames. There was no one else to help Pa spank Hoss and Joe when those rascally rascals robbed a bank or snuck out late at night to be seduced by seductive saloon gals or go fishing when they were supposed to be working.

One night when Ben was giving adorable Little Joe his weekly spanking on his adorable BARE tushie, (for those in the reading audience who have the need to read about those type things), Hoss wept profusely while he anxiously awaited his turn across Pa’s knee for his loving spanking.

“Hoss! Why are you crying? I am spanking Little Joe for robbing the bank, not you!” Ben exclaimed as he walloped the daylights out of his son but did it with love.

“Oh Pa! I miss Adam! No one spanked us quite as well as Adam! He lovingly beat our bottoms to teach us a lesson!”

“No one whupped me as affectionately as my big brother, Pa!” Little Joe agreed knowing that he had done wrong and it was a bad thing to rob the bank but he had to demonstrate his extreme depression and distress about Adam leaving the Ponderosa.

“Thank god I spanked you boys even though it hurt me more than it hurt you to spank you,” Ben pointed out as he neatly folded his cat o’ nine tails that his sons had given him for Mother’s Day.

Just then, Roy Coffee came in and saw the loving father spanking his bank robbing sons. “I won’t touch this with a ten foot pole!” the sheriff declared to Clem. “Or even a nine foot pole!”

Clem agreed and wished he had a wonderful father like Ben Cartwright who would have taken the time to spank him. “Hey Roy! How about spanking me!?” Clem asked with a wink. Roy shook his head and resisted the urge to shoot Clem. The two lawmen then rode back to Virginia City and had sushi for dinner and watched reruns of “Little Rascals” featuring Spanky.

“Thank the lord!” Hoss and Joe agreed ten minutes later. “We have learned our lesson. No more bank robbing for us!”

“Now let’s have a group hug and I will give you a bubble bath and pedicures!”

“Hooray!” exclaimed Hoss and Joe as Ben helped them put on matching night shirts. “Too bad Adam is not here or we could all spank each other!”

“Let’s have cocoa and sing!” Joe suggested.

And they did but it wasn’t the same without Adam.

Then, despite all the love they had for each other, the hole in their hearts grew much, much larger and they all cried themselves to sleep.

 

*****

 

Cartwright’s Yummy Cocoa Recipe

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups milk from a cow not a steer
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

44 Marshmallows

A quart of brandy

Mix cocoa, sugar, water and salt in a saucepan. Over medium heat, stir constantly until mixture boils. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Stir in the milk and heat, but do not boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla; blend well. Add 11 marshmallows per cup. Serve immediately.

Drink Brandy

Makes 4 servings.

 

CHAPTER 8

MORE REALLY BAD STUFF ON THE PONDEROSA

 

Things only got worse.

Lots of fences were down and cows wandered around lost and broken-hearted without Adam to sing them to sleep. Rustlers rustled. Bushwhackers bushwhacked. Gals in blue dresses died in droves and were stacked up like cordwood behind the barn.

“MoooOOOOoooo!” said the cows forlornly.

Their milk curdled into low fat yogurt from the stress. Everyone in Virginia City had become vegetarians, too. The pine trees had pine tree blight and all the mines were flooding and the railroad abandoned plans to go west. Lots of cute, adorable orphans were hungry and Wayne Newton lost his voice. That was the only good thing that happened. Wayne was a big sissy boy and left town.

They adopted Jamie. (horror of horrors!)

“Jamie Who?” asked Lillian who had just been passing through hoping to cross paths with Adam who she adored. She had a sack of bagels, cookies and other luscious baked goods to shower upon him.

The Cartwrights just groaned and moaned and couldn’t bear to answer her.

Then disaster struck like an anvil falling off a cliff and hitting the road runner in the desert. Did you ever think that perhaps Kane was in cahoots with Wiley Coyote?

Little Joe got hay fever! OH NO!

“Imagine Joe coming down with hay fever at haying time!” Hoss moaned.

Doc Adams came and looked at the poor lad struggling with his hay fever.

His nose ran like a faucet and his eyes were all watery and red.

“Tell me the truth! Will Joe survive?” Ben asked after he threw himself on his knees and prayed to God and his dead wives who were angels in heaven.

“HANG IN JOE!” all the dead mommy angels cheered from their floaty frothy clouds that were much like the marshmallows in the Cartwright’s bedtime post-spanking cocoa.

“He’s young and he’s strong and Joe is a fighter. Have him take two of these pills every four hours and he should be ok. Just don’t let him operate any heavy machinery,” Doc said. “or drive! And if he priapism, tell me. I’ll take some of those pills myself.”

“Heck, Doc! Me and Pa will sell them and make more money than the Comstock Lode!” Hoss declared.

(for more info on priaprism check: http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/1133.html)

Hoss and Ben nodded thankful that Joe didn’t die from hay fever or get true priaprism, even though some of the more attractive young ladies in the territory would have sworn he looked like he had that each time they sashayed past Joe Cartwright but that was just Joe‘s natural state of alertness.

But alas! Things started out ok but Joe was never one to follow doctor’s orders. No sir!

But no! Poor Little Joe under the influence of the hay fever pills had used heavy machinery, got to dozing and caught his arm in the not yet invented tractor and wonk!

Little Joe Cartwright’s adorable arm was ripped off.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEwww.

Joe was so full of himself and spoiled too, and hot-tempered and had made lots of mistakes over the years but this sure was a big major huge one. He looked down on his own severed arm that lay in ice from the snow on the high sierras that an unnamed ranch hand had hauled down to cool Hop Sing‘s latest batch of green Jell-O margaritas.

 

*****

 

Hop Sing’s Green Jell-O Margaritas

Ingredients:
2 cups blackberries
2 cups crushed ice from the High Sierras
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 package green Jell-O
3/4 cup white tequila
1/4 cup sugar

Directions:

Squish the black berries in a bowl. Force puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl and discard solids.

In a canteen, combine 1/2 a ladle of puree and remaining ingredients and shake well by strapping it on to your saddle and galloping for ten miles or so. Strain drink into individual stemmed glasses. Serves one portion for Hoss Cartwright or Hop Sing and three cousins.

 

*****

 

Ben said looking down at unconscious but adorable Little Joe. “Good thing it wasn’t Joe’s left arm or it would have impaired his fast draw and his horseshoe pitching arm.”

Hoss wept at his little brother’s impaired condition. He confided in his father. “What about Christmas? Who could put Mama’s angel on the tippety tippy tip top top of the tree???” That had always been orchestrated by Adam, just as Mama had wanted. He would stand on top of the stair case as Hoss carried Little Joe balanced on his broad shoulders. Adam would tell them “Higher, to the left, or up or down” as the need was for the shiny gilt angel that Marie had hand crocheted the first Christmas she was on the Ponderosa from scraps of silk thread and tin foil from chewing tobacco wrappers and hair from Buck’s mane and snips of her petticoats.

“Every time we use Marie’s angel on the top of our tree, I feel she never croaked…er …died,” Ben sighed. “Christmas had been her favorite holiday after Valentine’s Day, Arbor Day, Shrove Tuesday, National Pickle Week and Elvis’ Birthday.“

“Don’t forget Purim, Pa! Marie sure loved Purim! The costumes, the carnivals, the fun and laughter,” Hoss sighed. “No one could make better prune hamentaschen then Joe’s Ma!”

“You bet!” Hop Sing agreed with a tear in his eyes as well. Marie Cartwright loved Hoppy’s baked goodies but when it came to hamentaschen, the New Orlean‘s Purim treat, he had to tip his hat to the late Mrs. Cartwright who used a recipe from Lillian.

 

*****

 

Mardi Gras Purim Hamentashen

Hamentaschen Short Pastry

Makes a couple of dozen

Keeps 4 days in an airtight container

Freeze 3 months in a snow drift

5 oz. firm butter…firm like the muscles of the Cartwright men

A cup of flour

1 teasp baking powder

1/8 cup sugar

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1 beaten egg from Hop Sing’s chickens

Cut the butter in roughly 1-inch chunks, then mix in with the flour, baking powder (if used), sugar, lemon rind. then add the beaten egg and squish until the mixture is beginning to cling together in little moist lumps.

Tip out into a bowl, gather into a ball with the fingers and then knead with

lightly floured hands until smooth.

Pat into a circle about 1 inch thick, cover with foil and chill for several hours or overnight.

To shape and bake the hamantashen: preheat the oven hot (375° F 190°

C). Take the pastry from the ice box and if too firm for rolling, work it a little with the hands to soften it.

Roll out a quarter-inch (1 cm) thick on the board sprinkled lightly with confectioner’s sugar.

Cut into rounds with 3-inch with a round biscuit cutter and put a rounded spoonful of filling in the center of each circle.

Draw up to form a tricorner (three-cornered) pastry, leaving a little gap in the center to allow steam to escape.

Brush lightly with the glaze and sprinkle with the sugar. If you really want them to do double duty for Purim and Mardi Gras, add some gold, purple and green tinted sugar or sprinkles to the top.

Arrange on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown and yum-I-licious.

Store when cooled and don’t let any cowboy’s snatch them until carnival time.

New Orleans Prune Filling

 

*****

 

2 oz. (50 g) walnuts or pecans

About half a pound of prunes also known as “dried plums”.

2 rounded tablespoons damson or plum jam or Joyce Edwards grape jam

2 teaspoons lemon juice…. Or BRANDY!

Chop all the ingredients well until mush. Chill before using

CHAPTER 9

TEARS AND LAUNDRY PROBLEMS FOR HOP SING

 

“Since Adam left the Ponderosa, every thing here has all been like living in hell,” wept Little Joe disarmingly as he regained consciousness. He tearfully wept with his eyes brimming liquidly wet salt water and wiped his drippy, runny but adorable nose on Ben’s sleeve.

Snerrrk.

Being the best father in the world, Ben didn’t even mind that Joe used his father‘s shirt like a hanky even though Hop Sing wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea of snotty sleeves in the wash.

Joe waved his one remaining arm in the air. “It’s all my fault that Adam left the Ponderosa! Mine, mine! MY FAULT! I shouldn’t have acted like such a spoiled brat and listened to that self-serving Confederate Gal and ignored my brother, Adam! If only I could go back in time!”

“If only….” Hoss sighed.

“Had Adam been here on the ranch, ADAM would have watched over me despite my bristling at his wise and brotherly concern. Adam would have said not to take those antihistamine pills and use heavy machinery at the same time!” Joe raged and wailed piteously.

“He wouldn’t have let you get your arm ripped off, Shortshanks!” Hoss wailed.

Ben sobbed “If only Adam would come back!”

“If only!” Hoss and Joe said in unison as the wept torrents of hot tears on each others shoulders.

“If only!” chorused the three dead mommas who looked down from a poofy cloud hovering over the Ponderosa as they all munched heavenly hamentaschen. “If only!”

“Liz! Tell that son of yours to get his tush back home!” Dead Inger said.

“Yes!” Dead Marie agreed. “Adam was always stubborn but he loves his family and there is no place dearer to Adam than the Ponderosa!”

“I know!” agreed Dead Elizabeth. “But Adam has to find his own way back into the bosom of his family on his own!”

The three dead moms wept from their cloud and their tears froze in the winter sky falling as snow on the Ponderosa.

“Look, boys! Snow!” Ben declared looking out of the window of the log ranch house that Adam had designed when he was eleven years old and helped Ben build before Joe was born.

“And it is almost Christmas and we are having company too and we have snow!” sighed Hop Sing, looking out the window. He hoped to use that ice that cradled Little Joe’s limb in the punch to celebrate the feeding of the Donner party and all the guests and friends who came. Even Wayne Newton and little blind Gabrielle and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the saloon girls from the Silver Dollar and Roy Coffee and a few passing Indians and ethnic minorities who were oppressed but rescued by the Cartwrights as was traditional.

 

*****

 

Ben Cartwrights Original Sherbet/Arm Ice Punch Recipe

1/2 gallon sherbet, any flavor or crushed ice from the High Sierra’s with an arm resting in it
2 quarts (8 cups) ginger ale or sarsaparilla
Ice mold

A couple of quarts of rotgut

Chill all ingredients well before mixing. Scoop sherbet (or ice) into a large punch bowl. Stir to soften. Slowly add ginger ale and rotgut. Float the ice mold. Makes 32 servings in teensy little glass cups.

Variations:

  • Add 3 to 4 cups of fruit juice, corresponding to the sherbet flavor, sweetening if necessary.
  • Substitute 1 750-mil bottle of champagne and 3 cups pineapple juice for the ginger ale. Pineapple sherbet works well here if you can get it in Virginia City and get that champagne from Julia Bullette before she croaks.
  • Float small dollops of sherbet the size of cow pies atop the punch in the punch bowl.

CHAPTER 10

CHRISTMAS APPROACHES

 

“Christmas is no Christmas with out all my sons at my side,” said Ben, who had never given up hope that Adam, his first born, would eventually come back to the Ponderosa. His dream and wish! That was his Christmas wish each year since Adam had left and was gone. It wasn’t even Kwanzaa or Chanukah or Chinese New Year with Hop Sings extremely large extended family of numerous Chinese cousins, or the various and sundry winter festivals like the memorial to the people who died in the Donner Party and ate each other. Or even Super Bowl Sunday! Oh, maybe when he was in Australia!

“We all make mistakes, Pa,” Hoss and Joe said, sensing their wonderful father had his regrets about the entire hunting for the Donner Party thing.

Adam said at that moment in time when Ben decided to leave the comforts of the Ponderosa, “Go, Pa, we will manage.” Oh sadness! Without Adam, there was no winter, spring summer or fall on the Ponderosa. Only sadness and missing his eldest boy more than he could fathom a lot.

“Oh Pa!” wept Hoss, who had gone into a severe clinical depression when Adam left and Joe’s arm got cut off in the accident and his Pa got weepy and morose and Wayne Newton lost his voice, which we all determined wasn’t that much of a loss. Even with the major antidepressants that Hop Sing contrived from exotic herbs and dried wild leaves and roots, it was no good.

Even Doc Martin had even given up on all of them. He said that this plague of depression, morose and despair amongst the bereft and tearful Cartwrights over Adam’s departure was far more than his medical skill could handle. It would take a miracle and God or a miracle and God and the dead mom’s angels smiling from above, or a miracle, God, dead mother‘s angels and Doc Adams of Wichita Kansas. Even Hop Sing’s yummy peach pie and egg foo yung and Patch’s apple-less apple pie (see recipe below) couldn’t lift the considerable oppressive sadness. Hoss missed Adam more than his dead mother and dead Marie who was like a mother to him. And he missed her a lot — all the time — and frequently too.

“Oh my darling baby Hoss!” Inger wept from her fluffy cloud.

“Oh Hoss!” Liz and Marie joined in with Inger in weeping for Hoss.

There angelic tears froze into beautiful snowflakes and cascaded down on the Ponderosa in huge drifts and piles of fluffy frozen snow.

 

CHAPTER 11

ADAM ARRIVES (FOR JOY! FOR JOY!!!)

 

Despite the blizzard and deepening snow drifts that reached up to the kishkas of the horse, Adam rode onward through the winter night, hoping to get home for Christmas to be with his much beloved family.

No woman would want any of them (the Cartwrights) but that was ok as they had Hop Sing and he was loyal to the Cartwrights as he knew Marie and helped raise Hoss and Little Joe as she had asked him on her deathbed, despite her wobbly head and broken neck from falling off a horse. Ben had been too far depressed and weepy to be of much good so Adam for years ran the place and raised his brothers and all, being like a second father to the younger boys who were motherless. At one point, Ben went off to fight a war in Mexico or Panama and move cattle to the south pasture and pick a grape or two with Joyce Edwards and visit San Francisco and go to Woodstock to hear Jimi Hendrix.

“But it is Christmas!” sighed Ben, kissing each of the framed pictures of his now dead wives and wrapping them lovingly in satin lingerie and sleeping with them each in their own turn as he was loyal to his dead wives. They might be dead but Ben was still loyal and having sex with other woman was out of the question, according to most of the fans. So it was just Ben and those cold solid gold framed pix in the bed on those snowy cold winter nights. “No women can fill your shoes, girls!” he said. “Not until Adam comes home.”

But Adam was on his way home, following a star in the night across the desert and the rocky mountains that lit the sky like the neon lights on Broadway.

“HOME! Adam wept profusely as he greeted his family at the door of the house. The tears froze into icicles as the winter wind whipped off the frozen water of Lake Tahoe.

“Adam!”

It was the miracle that they and had prayed for and the angels of the dead mothers did too as well.

“You go, boy!” the dead mommy angels cheered from the clouds in heaven.

“Joe! Hoss!” Adam exclaimed as the two embraced and cried fervently in each others arms. Adam was good in math and realized that there were an odd number of arms in the aforementioned warm brotherly embrace. There were three brothers and should have been six arms but Adam brilliantly realized there were but five arms amongst them.

“Something is amiss!” Adam declared declaratively. “This brotherly hug feels quite a bit sparse!”

“Yes Adam!” Hoss declared. “Little Joe’s arm!”

Adam almost swooned at that declaration as he realized his beloved baby brother had been disarmed. “What happened?”

Quickly and thoroughly, Hoss explained Joe’s dilemma — how without Adam being on the Ponderosa to remind his baby brother about not taking his antihistamine before using a tractor or operating heavy machinery made Joe have his unfortunate arm disarming accident.

“OH NO!” Adam shrieked and clutched Joe’s one armed but still adorable self to his hairy chest. His tears saturated Joe’s curls and made them grow full and lush.

Joe’s lips trembled as he too wept though he had only one arm he was happy as a mine canary being brought back to the sunny surface to have Adam return to the Ponderosa. “What the heck! I only have one arm. You are back! And the sun is shining and it is Christmas!”

“Oh JOY!” declared Ben.

“And Hop Sing prepared his special cheese loaf parmesan,” Joe pointed out.

That was one of their favorites! For JOY FOR JOY!!! The only problem was, each man needed two hands to slice the special cheese loaf parmesan.

“Hop Sing! Get me a needle and thread and some library paste!” Adam requested. As quick as a flash, the items were gathered and Adam set to work to rescue his beloved baby brother Little Joe.

After Adam reattached Joe’s arm, they ate dinner and Joe was really happy to be able to cut his own cheese.

“Merry Christmas! This is the best yet except when we went to Vegas!” teased Ben weeping openly.

Then all the orphans and dogs back in NYC sang and they were very happy to thank God for miracles.

“Well, well, well!” cheered the dead mothers from their cloud perch. “Another job well done with love and heroic Cartwright-ness. Now let’s have peace on earth and some Ritz Mock Apple Pie!”

 

*****

 

Ritz Mock Apple Pie

The classic pie, featuring Ritz crackers baked in a golden crust,
is perfect for the holidays if you are a live Cartwright or a dead angel mom.

Pastry for two-crust 9-inch pie
36 RITZ Crackers, coarsely broken (about 1 3/4 cups crumbs)
1 3/4 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Grated peel of one lemon
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Roll out half the pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate. Place
cracker crumbs in prepared crust; set aside.

2. Heat water, sugar and cream of tartar to a boil in saucepan
over high heat; simmer for 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and peel;
cool.

3. Pour syrup over cracker crumbs. Dot with margarine or butter;
sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll out remaining pastry; place over pie.
Trim, seal and flute edges. Slit top crust to allow steam to escape.

4. Bake at 425 F for 30 to 35 minutes or until crust is crisp
and golden. Cool completely.

Makes 10 servings for average cowboys or 3 servings for Hoss

Cut The Cheese Ham Strata

8 slices good home made bread
2 c. cheddar cheese, grated
3 c. buttermilk from churning butter in a churn
4 eggs, beaten within an inch of their life
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or Ben’s brandy or horse spit
3/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 c. sliced ham, chopped

Parmesan Cheese

Alternate buttered layers of bread, cheese, and ham in a greased baking dish, ending with cheese on top. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over layers. Allow to stand one hour in a not yet invented refrigerator. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cut your cheese into squares and serve.

 

*****

 

“YUMMY! There is no place like HOME and being in the bazoom of my family for Christmas!” Adam sighed contentedly.

“You said a MOUTHFUL!” said dead mommy Elizabeth.

That night, all the Cartwrights slept together in one bed, dreaming of happy days and sugarplums to come with their dead mommies/wives smiling down from above.

 

The End

 

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