Just a moment after Andy and Opie had finished their charade, Aunt Bea came walking through the door, suitcase in hand. She scanned the living room area, and looked a bit bewildered. She checked the kitchen, and took on a look of actual sadness. I don't remember the actual dialogue, but it turned out she was saddened by the feeling that not only were Andy and Opie fine without her, but that they didn't NEED her anymore. For a brief moment, it seemed, she had lost her purpose in life. In his infinite wisdom, Andy picked up on this, and secretly instructed Opie to hurry upstairs and mess everything up once more. Opie was only happy to oblige, and soon the upstairs was magically a disaster once again. Oh, the joy Aunt Bea felt when she finally walked upstairs to mope! Her joy increased with each sentence she lectured and chastised the boys with, and the boys took their chastising well, of course, and all was well once again in the Andy Griffith household.
Turns out, dear reader, that this was the piece I needed to make all the other pieces work properly for this chapter. So let's get on with it!...
As we enter the story, Kev and dear Caesar Emeritus, the Baloo-eyed Akita, were approaching the Sacred Garden's gate. Kev had invited dear Caesar to join them in the Sacred Garden for what he was sure would be a great moon-greeting of festivities, since Kev was just returning from a very long journey away. Dear Caesar declined, since he was weary from the long journey, and had truly missed his Love seat inside the Library Tree, and his desk, and all the books...and his favorite squeak toy, of course! With that, the two embraced and went their separate ways.
As Kev entered the Sacred Garden gate, he turned to his right and sat down in front of Edwin the Bee's lotus flower. "Father." he began, and he bowed his head slightly.
"Son." Edwin replied, and He bowed his little bee head in like manner, from atop His lotus flower. Once Kev had removed a small gift from his satchel and placed it on the ground in front of the Bee, Edwin succinctly added, "Ah, so I'm the Shepherd once again? Thank you." The small gift, you see, was a tiny wind-up sheep that Kev had purchased in Lemmington Town Square--just the right size for a Bee to ride upon.
"Indeed, Father," Kev spoke softly. "Fool that I am, I am more aware than ever where I belong. And I am most grateful for that. This wind-up sheep is nearly as foolish as I am, for it does many tricks and never knows which way it's going." Kev wound up the tiny sheep, placed it on the ground, and continued, "You see, sometimes it goes forwards, sometimes backwards, sometimes it jumps for no apparent reason, and I've even seen it do flips a couple of times."
"A most fascinating novelty, indeed," Edwin the Bee stated. Then He added, "If this is intended as an apology, it's unnecessary. I fully expected and intended you to be a wayward fool when I created you. I happen to Love wayward fools, you know. But thank you."
"Thank you, Father," Kev replied, and he bowed his head slightly once again. After a moment of silence, he spoke again, "I discovered another sister of mine."
"Not another sister. The same sister, albeit a different manifestation of her," Edwin corrected.
"She died very young," Kev explained. "She would have turned 40 this season."
"And was resurrected," Edwin clarified.
"Indeed," Kev smiled, and he stood up and slung his satchel of gifts over his shoulder.
Meanwhile, in the clearing just a flagon's toss or two in front of the Treehouse of the Holy, well inside the Sacred Garden, Cousin Eddie the Raven was also presenting a special gift. Two identical anvil guitar cases lie upon the ground next to one another as the Raven spoke to Calliope, "Well, our guitars arrived, Sweets. Mitzy said our amps will be on the next shipment. But for now, you need to pick your weapon."
Calliope was wringing her hands with a perfect blend of joy and anxiousness as she immediately exclaimed, "Oooh, I'll take the one on the right!"
Cousin Eddie rushed over to the guitar case on the right--with perhaps even more enthusiasm than Calliope had expressed in choosing--and he began opening the latches. With pride, he opened the lid slowly, so as to tease, and almost--but not quite--shouted, "You have chosen wisely, my dear Calliope, for you are now the proud owner of an official Paul Stanley broken mirror Iceman guitar!" Raven was even more proud than before, as he held it high into the air, then handed it to Calliope and bowed. Indeed, the guitar gleamed and sparkled majestically, as one could see any number of world's upon its surface.
Calliope was moved nearly to tears--and she also felt proud--as she slung the guitar over her shoulders and held it for the first time. She also nearly forgot to curtsy, but remembered at just the last moment before it would've been considered rude to not do so. "Ohhh, it is amazing, my dear...and so very perfect for me fer sure!" Then she kissed Cousin Eddie upon the forehead, and the Raven blushed so much that it nearly shone through his dark feathers. "Now stop wasting time, Eddie, and show me your guitar!" Cousin Eddie had been enjoying Calliope's joy so much, he had forgotten about his own guitar.
He finally rushed over to the other anvil case, unlatched it, opened the lid slowly, as if to tease, and nearly--but not quite--shouted, "And I'm the proud owner of an official Ace Frehley Les Paul! How's that for dueling badassery, Sweets?!!" And he slung his weapon of choice over his shoulder ever more proudly.
"Fer sure!" Calliope exclaimed. "It's perfect for you!" Then the princess twisted her face into a lovely pensive pose, and spoke finally, "Proxy Morons."
"Uhh...I don't follow you, Toots?" Cousin Eddie wondered.
"Our band, silly bird," Calliope replied. "Proxy Morons. It's perfect fer sure, and you know better than to argue with me about it."
Cousin Eddie quickly replied, "No, no, Sweets, I love it...I really do! Like you said, it's perfect for us fer sure."
It was just that moment that Kev happened to walk up behind them with his satchel of gifts, and he spoke with enthusiasm, "I like it too! I really do! It's perfect fer sure! You're going to need a bassist and drummer too, you know. But it's a good start." The two turned to acknowledge his presence, but he spoke again before either of them could reply, "So good to see you again, finally, my dear soulmate Raven! Come give me some love!"
Cousin Eddie coolly replied, "Oh hey, Kev, what's up?" and went to put his official Ace Frehley guitar back into its anvil case.
Kev, feeling a bit stung, and more than moderately perplexed, decided to try his luck with Calliope, "You must be Calliope...it's so nice to finally meet you!" He approached the lovely princess, and continued talking awkwardly, "You are even more beautiful than I imagined you to be. It is truly a pleasure to have you here in our Sacred Garden."
Princess Calliope coolly turned and walked the other way as she spoke, "Yeah, yeah, fer sure. Nice to meet you too. You are almost as pretty as they said you were." Then Calliope knelt and placed her official Paul Stanley broken mirror Iceman guitar back in its anvil case, and latched it shut. Finally she spoke again, "C'mon, Eddie, lets take these babies up into the Treehouse of the Holy and tune them up and start breaking them in."
Cousin Eddie turned and winked at Kev, then he grabbed his guitar and turned again, and rushed after Calliope. In something very near desperation, Kev pleaded awkwardly, "But...but I have gifts for you guys! I thought maybe we..."
"That's very nice of you, Kev, thank you!" the Proxy Morons shouted in unison, as they scurried their way up the Stairway to Heaven en route to the Out Door. Cousin Eddie turned toward Kev one last time and shouted, "Later, Kev." as followed Calliope inside.
And that was that, it seemed. Kev's confusion turned to outright sadness the very instant the Out Door latched itself shut, and he slid the bottle of wine (a rare, vintage import from Droppingham) back into his satchel of gifts. "Well, at least my loyal gatekeeper, Caw-Caw Carl, will be happy to see me, and appreciate his gift to be sure," Kev softly mumbled to himself.
When Kev finally found himself at Achilles' Last Stand (Caw-Caw Carl's desk), he was grateful that the Stellers Jay did genuinely seem happy to see him. "It's so good to be home," Kev began.
"It's most goodly good to have you back again, Mr. Mr. Kev Kev," the Stellers Jay replied, and he went back to painting bottle caps upon his desk.
"What's this you've got going on here, my wonderful and loyal gatekeeper?" Kev asked.
"Oh, I'm making made by hand, homemade buttonly pins for my muy muy bonita Salsa Girl's most bandly band," Caw-Caw Carl replied, and continued, as he painted, "They need them to give out at the big show."
"The Poetic Waxwings?" Kev asked, as he looked on, impressed with the Stellers Jay's attention to detail.
"Yep, yep." Caw-Caw coolly replied.
"Oh, that reminds me," Kev said, "I have a very special gift for you, and lots of stories to tell you that you will surely enjoy."
"Thank you muchly much, Kev Kev, but I must hurriedly hurry and get these done, then take a bath and make myself muy muy guapo for my date with my muy muy bonita Salsa Girl this moon-greeting. I'll take a rainy rain check, maybe perhaps?" Caw-Caw insisted more than asked, and the Stellers Jay was suddenly off to the birdbath. And, once again, that was that, it seemed. Kev's sadness had now morphed into something very near despondency, as he slid the magic reading glasses back into his satchel of gifts, and headed toward his Sacred Garden gate.
As Kev was exiting the gate, Edwin asked him, "Off to the Sacred Pub, I presume?"
"Not this lack of time," Kev answered. I thought I'd head over to the Record Emporium and visit T-Yay and pick out a record. Seems like a good moon-greeting to play a new record upon my Persian rug...alone." Then Kev sighed.
"And how long are you planning to mope?" Edwin the Bee asked.
"I haven't decided yet," Kev Coolly replied, and he made his way to the Record Emporium, which was only a few dozen flagon tosses from his Sacred Garden.
T-Yay, the black Labrador Retriever, was genuinely glad to see Kev again after such a long journey, and he was even happy to hear about some of the many adventures Kev and dear Caesar Emeritus had experienced together. He particularly enjoyed the stories of the Comnandrai Council. He and Kev shared some Skittles as they visited and flipped through record albums, peacefully and pleasantly.
Finally, Kev asked T-Yay, "Perhaps you could help me out with a record album? I need a new one to listen to this moon-greeting upon my Persian rug...alone."
"Of course," T-Yay happily replied, while crunching on another pawful of Skittles. "What sort of record do you have in mind?"
"Well," Kev explained, "A record that's perfect for a return home after a long journey...finding that everything is exactly as you remembered it, except it's all changed. Of knowing Love, but not feeling it...of being replaced, even though you know in your heart you aren't really replaced--but feeling it, you know? Of giving and receiving, but not having a chance to give...you know? If that makes sense?"
"I see," T-Yay munched pensively, then he finally asked, "And how long are you wanting to mope?"
"I haven't decided yet," Kev answered, ever so slightly terse.
T-Yay gestured for Kev to follow him, and led him to the bottom rack of a shelf against the back wall. "Methinks you could perhaps use two records tonight. This one first," and the black Labrador Retriever handed him the record.
"Chris Cornell. Euphoria Mourning?" Kev asked pensively, as he examined the album's art work. Inside and out.
"Yes," T-Yay proudly replied. This is a particularly rare gem...truly priceless in most existences. It's perfect for your moping." Then T-Yay retrieved another record from another shelf, this time higher up, and handed it to Kev. "And this record is perfect for whenever you've decided to stop moping."
Kev examined the art work once again, "K-Tel's Blast Off! I remember this record from when I was a kid. Awesome! Thank you, my dear T-Yay...you're the best!"
Just then, before Kev could leave, Ptolemy, the Gentle Boxer appeared from upstairs carrying a still frosted half-gallon of his now famous Ptolemy-ce Cream. "Sorry to interject," Ptolemy spoke, "but I couldn't help but overhearing. Moping just isn't the same without ice cream--this is my newest creation, Truckish Delight. You will be the first to try it." And he handed the half gallon of Ptolemy-ce Cream to Kev, who gratefully received it.
"Umm...thank you, dear Ptolemy," Kev said to the Gentle Boxer, then asked, "Don't you mean Turkish Delight?"
"No sir, Mr. Kev," Ptolemy immediately replied, "Truckish Delight indeed...chocolate ice cream with synthetic sweetened motor oil, caramelized brake fluid, and a few drops of antifreeze...oh, and piston ring shavings for texture." Kev scrunched up his face, but fell short of saying "Eewww."
"Just kidding, Mr. Kev," the Gentle Boxer chuckled. It IS actually a new flavor, though--one inspired by Princess Calliope. She told me there was a flavor of ice cream in her homelands called Malted Moo Shake that she very much enjoyed. She described it to me perfectly, and, well, this is my very best imitation of it...except with that magical Ptolemy-ce Cream flair--in this case, extra, extra, extra caramel. Happy moping, Mr. Kev."
"Thank you so very much, my dear Gentle Boxer," Kev finally spoke, and he and the canines shared a most lovely embrace before he left the Record Emporium, bound for his Persian rug deep inside his Sacred Garden.
As Kev reentered his gate, he stopped, turned, and bowed toward the lotus flower. "Thank you, Father. I'm going to mope with my Ptolemy-ce Cream and new records now."
"You're welcome, My son. Enjoy," Edwin replied simply, though with a slight smirk upon His little Bee face.
Kev never did get a chance to mope anymore that particular moon-greeting, however, for when he arrived at his Persian rug, he was to find it decorated with all sorts of streamers, balloons, confetti, and even a large, made by hand, homemade, most signly sign that read 'Welcome to your homely home, Kev Kev! We most lovingly Love you, you!' And beneath the sign stood his Sacred Garden family: Cousin Eddie, his soulmate Raven, and Calliope with an extra curtsy (owed to Kev from earlier, of course), and his wonderful, loyal gatekeeper, dear Caw-Caw Carl...and even his Father, Edwin the Bee, hovered above them, riding upon His wind-up wayward sheep.
The gifts were properly distributed, and most greatly and genuinely appreciated, as the K-Tel Blast Off record blared from upon the Persian rug. Calliope loved her bottle of rare vintage wine imported from Droppingham so much that she curtsied twice more, before uncorking it and sharing it with the whole family. Cousin Eddie was literally moved to tears when Kev told him that his gift was the Dragon's Eye that he had left in his Raven soulmate's care before he left on the long journey. Caw-Caw Carl was overjoyed with his gift of the magic reading glasses that would allow him to NOT write in double-speak...should he ever choose NOT to!
Many dances were danced, many stories shared, and the Ptolemy-ce Cream didn't last very long at all. Many cans of beer were chugged upon the Persian rug on that most lovely and memorable moon-greeting. Laughter and Love prevailed, lack of time and again, and the Chris Cornell Euphoria Mourning album would have to wait for another moon-greeting indeed.
Life is so beautiful beautiful.
Thank you for joining me on this journey, dear reader.
I love you.