The disgruntled residents of Charmwick were alarmed. It seems that Winkin’ Blinkin’ and Nod had left without explanation and rumors were they weren’t coming back.
“What ever shall we do?” asked an annoyed crowd to their mayor on the steps of the courthouse. “Our babies haven’t slept for three days now.”
“Yeah, and all that giggling and cooing is keeping the rest of us awake, too,” someone complained within the crowd. “Cute can only get you so far, you know.”
“Quit being so grumpy,” someone chided.
“I’m not grumpy,” he fired back.
“You’re right,” another answered. “Grumpy had a better disposition. Next to you, you make Grumpy look like Happy’s twin. ”
A few people snickered.
“Yeah, well, I’d like to see your Happy face on the next carton of milk I buy at the grocery…”
The Mayor, yawned and raised his hands. “Settle down, all of you. None of this bickering will get us anywhere.”
“It’s on account no one knows how to sing.” Gladys one of the spectators whispered knowingly to Edith, a like friend and confident.
“What?” Edith, who was hard of hearing and had to use an ear trumpet, asked.
“You ever hear some of these people sing?” Gladys yelled.Naturally, everyone within ear shot stopped and stared. Then they began to mutter amongst themselves again.
Gladys went on without a flinch. “Why some of their voices are enough to make a body shudder.” She drew closer. “Those babies need to hear something quiet and sweet.”
“Quiet and sweet?” Edith adjusted her ear trumpet.
“Why there’s been more than once when I walked by the nursery at church and heard the ladies trying to sing to those poor babies. It sounded like wild coyotes loose in there; it’s a wonder the Park’s Department wasn’t called in.”
“Don Quixote? What’s he got to do with it?” Edith scrunched up her face in confusion.
“Coyotes, Edith, not Quixote. You got earwax in that horn of yours? They sounded like wild coyotes…”
“Ladies, gentlemen, please,” The Mayor broke in. “We’re all tired and a bit irritable and I welcome any ideas to help us get back to some kind of regular schedule.”
Edith watched his face, reading his lips. “Prunes are good if you’re irritable and can get you back on schedule, too. It might even help with those bags under your eyes.”
The Mayor’s face turned crimson. “Let’s get back to the issue at hand. How can we get Winkin, Blinkin’ and Nod back to our fair city?”
“I still say it’s on account we need voice lessons,” Gladys spoke up boldly. “Quiet, sweet melodies are the answer.”
There was considerable murmuring in the crowd. “I do admit my wife’s singing can keep me up at night,” one man admitted.
“I do not!”
“Not you, Sweetie, your voice.”
“Well maybe if I had a few lessons…”
More muttering ensued.
“I can give lessons,” Gladys volunteered over the raucous. “Free. Anything so we all can get a good night’s sleep.”
“Free food from a delicatessen will help. Everyone sleeps better on a full stomach, Gladys. You’re such a dear person.”
“Edith, please do something with that ear trumpet. I said I would give FREE VOICE LESSONS.”
“Well you needn’t shout. It’s no wonder nobody gets any sleep with all your hollering.” She wagged her finger. “Probably the reason those three left in the first place. You said they needed quiet and sweet.”
“I know; and I will teach the townsfolk how to sing.”
You? You sound like a banshee that got a cannon ball dropped on her foot.”
“How would you know? You can’t hear a thing.”
“I read faces and they say a lot when ever you…”
“Ladies, please,” the Mayor broke in again. “All this bickering, it so disrupting…
“And I suppose your voice is better,” Gladys said.
“It is; and I’ll prove it.” And she immediately opened her mouth to sing but nothing came out. But just as immediately, all of the babies in the town of Charmwick fell suddenly asleep.
Everyone was stunned speechless. Everyone that is but Winkin’, Blinkin’, Nod who had returned because the townsfolk had stopped their bickering, and there was now peaceful silence where there had been none before.
In the nooks and crannies of the nurseries throughout the town, they smiled in blissful quiet to one another, seeing the townsfolk had finally learned as John Keats had admonished so long ago “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter still.”
John Keats "Ode to a Grecian Urn"
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