Sunday, May 27, 2012


Those of you with a keen eye will have noticed that there are alpacas of various sizes on display in the window of Montoya Fiber Studio.  They are stuffed animals made in Peru and covered in authentic alpaca fleece.  They are a wonder to behold and a delight to touch.

Some time ago, the middle of last December to be exact, I found myself with nothing to do at the store.  Up till then my responsibilities had consisted of ringing up sales, unpacking newly arrived yarn, putting the correct prices on that yarn, arranging the yarn on the shelves so they always looked neat and tidy, and taking out the garbage.  On this particular day all these things had already been done and there were no customers in the store so I started wandering around.  I noticed that the alpacas looked rather forlorn.  They needed a splash of color in their lives.  I found some unwanted yarn remnants, I grabbed a pair of needles and I began to knit one of the alpacas a scarf.  Nothing complicated.  All garter stitch.  In less than an hour there was a warm decorative scarf wrapped around the alpaca’s neck.  He seemed happier, as if I, with one simple creative stroke, had transformed his life.  His existence was no longer drab and empty.  “Hmm,” I said to myself.  I knew that it was too late for Christmas, but I vowed that I would knit something for all the alpacas for Valentine’s Day.  There were five of them at the time.  Whenever I found myself with some spare time at the store I’d start a scarf or a hat or a blanket to drape over their backs.  Shortly before the 14th of February my new line, all red of course, was ready.  The alpacas were pleased.  And now that they had personalities, I sensed that they would also like names.  They were christened Zachary, Millard, Rutherford, Grover and Harry, in honor of five of my favorite U.S. Presidents.  St. Patrick’s Day was right around the corner so I found it necessary to inform Cathy that I would be appropriating some of her green yarn.  The alpacas would now be female so the new line would be a little more sophisticated.  Different stitches, different shades of green, that sort of thing.  After all, you can’t just go and dress lady alpacas in all garter stitch outfits and have them all clad in the same boring green.  Naturally, their names also changed.  They were now called Margaret, Abigail, Lucy, Frances and Bess, the names of the respective wives of the aforementioned Presidents.  Frances was sold in late March.  A sad day at Montoya Fiber Studio, but business is business.

Last week while I was in charge of the store while Cathy was away, I declared myself the Official Alpaca Holiday Dresser.  That same day I also issued a proclamation naming me the Poet Laureate of the store.  The Yarn Bard, if you will.  The duties of this office are to write poems for special store events.  Like for whenever the alpacas change outfits.  The way I figure it, the more responsibilities I have in the store, the greater the possibility of Cathy naming me Vice-President of Operations for Montoya Fiber Studio.  Once somebody becomes a Vice-President, then profit sharing is just around the corner.  Anyway, the Independence Day designs naturally involve red, white and blue.  This increase in the amount of color easily allowed for a bolder design element.  The new outfits also demanded some new names.  The four alpacas were now called Ed, Dwight, Sue and Hamilton.  An official poem was begun, though not completed.  And then tragedy struck!  Without my authority and on a day that I was not in the store, someone had sold Dwight.  No names will be mentioned.  The outfits, so carefully designed for each alpaca, were now all wrong as Dwight’s outfit had been split up between Ed and Sue.  The balance, so necessary in all haute couture, was now destroyed.  Worst of all, the poem commemorating the four alpacas was now useless as the alpaca population went from four to three.  I share with you the unfinished poem.  I pray that I have the strength to tackle a new one.

A quick word about my poetry style.  I have always fancied myself a hybrid of Ogden Nash and Sylvia Plath, two poets who have had a profound literary impact on me.  So, without any further ado ….

                               THE ALPACAS ON THE FOURTH OF JULY

                                           Ed, Dwight and Sue
                                          Wore red white and blue.
                                          And Hamilton sported the same.

                                          They went to the zoo
                                          To see Eunice the Ewe
                                          And found her all bloody and lame.

                                          Her wool had turned orange,

This is where I was in the poem when I heard that Dwight had been sold.  Back to the poetry drawing  board, I guess.  Oh yes.  One quick question while I have everyone’s attention.  Does anyone know of a word that rhymes with orange?  You wouldn’t believe the number of unfinished poems I have in my poetry drawer, all because of that troublesome word.

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Congratulations to the nine people who successfully completed the crossword puzzle.  You have my respect and admiration as the puzzle was burdened with a few clunky entries and clues.  Alas, only eight of the nine of the entries were eligible for prizes.  Though everything was above board, I felt it best to disqualify my father-in-law’s entry.  Can’t have a family member winning, after all.  And besides, what’s he going to do with a pair of knitting needles?  If I know him, he’d use them for shish-kabobs.  Cathy and I pulled three names out of a hat on May 17 with Cecilia G. winning the Knitters Pride Cubics Needles and Ann L. and Margene L. winning the other prizes, two cute little knitting pouches.  For those who were stumped, here is the completed puzzle.

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