Strange things can happen …

And when they do I love to think I am there to bring them to you, commercial free and unedited for your viewing pleasure.

On this rare occasion I dust off my Mrs. Clause skirts and shake the tinsel out of my toe-head and give to you triple treats:

  1. The Flash Fiction story from Vicki Batman’s sentence.
  2. My Christmas in July celebration, and best of all …
  3. The fireworks show in Coney Island.

Vicki’s sentence was:  Once upon a time, a husband gave his beloved three wishes. This first ________

The Land of Nod …

Her name was Princess Imogene* and she lived in a kingdom called TeeVee Land, once known to all as The Land of Nod. A place where amazing things happened every day and no one except the sponsors complained.

And a place where Once upon a time, a husband gave his beloved three wishes. This first day, she waited for her true love, Prince Caeasar, to come to her tower thirty-five stories above the golden statue to grant her first wish that she be permitted to roam The Rock.


Imogene Coca 

He waved the weekly script notes over her head and said, “Princess Imogene, you may take your leave to roam The Rock. But be mindful and do not allow a stranger in short pants to eat of the fruits on your head.”

Sadly, Princess Imogene was a bit of a tart and allowed the first man in short pants she found to eat the passion fruits from her headdress. That night she returned to her tower and told Prince Caesar, “Oh my beloved, I am now empty-headed. What shall I do?”

“You have two more wishes, my love.”

She pondered. If she wished for her fruits to return, she’d be stuck walking into rehearsals for the next eon with a fruit basket pinned to her head. “I shall remain empty headed,” she told her beloved, “and wish that the next four script changes be given to that pin-head, Woody.”

For it was known to all in TeeVee Land that Woody was convinced Princess Imogene was his long lost twin sister.

And so her second wish was granted and for the next four consecutive shows, Princess Inogene and her empty head, worked with Woody and his pin head and stole The Show of Shows.

This did not sit well with Prince Caesar. He told his beloved, “You have but one wish left. Chose wisely or I will vanquish you in the ratings.”

All night she worried. What to wish for that the Prince would love so much, she would be back in his good favor?

Early the next day before the others arrived, Princess Imogene went to the bull-pen and told Prince Caesar, “I wish that the time when the world falls in love should happen on the night we watch the skies ablaze with colors.

I wish that we all have that time together to celebrate our love … because you know Prince Caesar …

everybody needs a little Christmas in July.”

Christmas in July …

It is said that we should keep Christmas in our hearts all year. And indeed I do. I do not, however, keep Christmas posts in my archives. Each Holiday Season on January 6th, which we call The Little Christmas (The Epiphany) … I remove holiday posts and keep them off-line.

Why?  That’s easy. You wouldn’t want poor Ralphie running around in the snow all year, now would you?

Yes, the world falls in love during those magical days … and today I broke with my own tradition in three quarter time and decided I need a little bit of Christmas right this very minute.

In the southern hemisphere, winter falls in July. Therefore in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in order to have Christmas with a winter feel Christmas in July events are undertaken. However, Christmas in December, the usual month, is a far more common practice, despite it being summer.

In the northern hemisphere some people throw parties during July that mimic Christmas celebrations, bringing the atmosphere of Christmas but with warmer temperatures. Parties may include Santa Claus, ice cream and other cold foods, and gifts. Nightclubs host parties open to the public. Reference


Christmas in July graphic

I imagine myself on the beach in Coney Island, a fully decorated Christmas tree planted in the sand as the sky moves from dusk to dark with an explosion of colors.

Fourth of July

Fourth of July Photo

The Fireworks show in Coney Island …

From Sunset Park:

The mothers and children went late on Tuesday arriving at the beach around three in the afternoon with their wagons and bundles. They set up camp in their usual spot, gathered several of the large steel mesh trash cans to cordon off their territory and sat back, waiting for the men to arrive.

Antoinette loved those Tuesdays when one of her brothers and her father came to the beach. She jumped off her father’s shoulders into the cool ocean. When Andrew came he took her out to the third barrel and let her float on the thick oily rope. Or he sat and played his guitar and sang.

Kids from all over New York knew the famous display of fireworks that exploded every Tuesday night at Coney Island from Fourth of July to Labor Day.

The families shared their pots and dishes filled with pastas and salads, broke fresh baked bread and toasted deep blood red wine in short glasses the old men used for tea at the deli. They laughed and ran after the small children, corralled them into the center of the blankets, banked by their parents, protected, safe and happy.

Andrew, Gio and Charlie brought their guitars and Bill sat holding hands with his newest love Teresa Ciacone, a nurse at Coney Island Hospital. Antoinette moved back and rested on a blanket alone listening to the sounds of the strings and the harmony of their voices. She wanted the night to go on forever as she gazed at the sky and watched dusk turn to dark. It was a warm breezy summer night and the sky overflowing with stars, filled with the hush sounds of children and adults.

Then suddenly the night exploded with light, the darken sky decorated with intricate patterns, trailing, swirling. Like blossoms opening and closing and petals falling, falling towards the water, towards her smiling face. The sounds of children laughing, people clapping, hushed again, exploding colors and lights, a baby crying, a man shouting, patterns and explosions, lighting her face. And oh a collective sigh, ending with the darkened sky.


I hope you enjoyed my triple treat. Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July be it a summer Christmas celebration, hot dogs on the barbie, or a special fireworks show wherever you live.

Inquiring minds need to know.  

What three wishes would you make?

fOIS In The City

*Note:  Imogene Coca who became my Princess for today, was a talented female comedian and actress who worked on the iconic television program: Our Show of Shows with Sid Caesar. They boasted a magnificent cast and some of the most talented comedy writers to ever come out of TV or Hollywood. Among them were Neil Simon and his brother, Larry Gelbart, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, and a very young Woody Allen.



Filed under Bleeps, Blooper and Outtakes, Christmas

34 responses to “Strange things can happen …

  1. Ah, yes, I remember the show and Imogene Coca and Sid Ceasar. Thanks for reminding me of television watched on a 7 inch screen in black and white and knowing it was a very slpecial night if you ever got to stay up to see the sign off symbol. Remember that.

    Three wishes? Only 3?

    Let’s see 1. My hubby, disabled son and I get through this next very difficult month. 2. We get some steady help in caring for our son. 3. My next book just flows as I write the rough draft.


    • Ah, Casey … I was wondering if Sid and Imogene would “date” me and then I realized … I’m already dated. Yes, those were very special nights.

      I love your three wishes and pray that one and two are granted quickly 🙂


      • sfreydont

        they wouldn’t take you out? Poor thing. I thought you meant you wanted them to take you out. A threesome. Not dated at all.


  2. Remember snow on the tv? Wonder what ever happened to that? Now we have infomercials to fill up the hours….kinda makes me wish for snow again.

    Three wishes? That I finally stop floundering, and sink into my new novel.
    That the time after my next foot surgery flies – and I’m back on both feet SOON. That all writers read what they read, smile, and think, “Wow, I wrote that!”


    • Laura! I’m with you on wish #1. I can even say “next” because I have two dust bunny manuscripts in my closet.

      I wish you the best on your wish number two. You are too spirited to be off your feed feet.

      Wish number three? Thanks. I need to feel that.

      Sorry if I stole your response thunder, Florence.

      I haven’t said “hey” to Laura since a far-too-long-ago blog-jack.


    • Oh yes, Laura … snow and vertical lines. And how about when someone had to stand next to the TV holding the rabbit ears? Ah, the joys of early TV.

      I don’t mind that Gloria jumped in to comment … we all feel the same way … abot the writing and about you. My feet? Still crooked and not yet ready to go under the knife. Yes, yes … OMG … I wrote that !!!


  3. A stellar triple treat, Florence. Loved it.

    Ka-snort! and KUDOS on your tongue-in-cheek story from the writing prompt.

    Until the stager made me take them down, I kept a little bit of Christmas around the house all year. I never planned what it would be. But, every year, I miss one or two decorations when putting Christmas away for another year. [Yes. That’s a sad task. Hand me a hankie.] We’re kindred spirits on that front.

    Your ability to bring the senses to the page when fictionalizing childhood memories continues to amaze me. I was there — at the fireworks on the beach. One teeny-tiny caveat. In my imaginary world, I had company on that blanket. 😉

    Happy and safe Independence Day to you, too!


    • Gloria … maybe it isn’t an accident that you forget one item every Christmas. Maybe that is your way of having Christmas with you all year long.

      That piece about Antoinette (my alter-ego) is taken from an amalgum of Tuesday nights spent on the beach. Any kid who grew up during those years remembers the firework show … and the Italian (or Rumanian) family that did those shows each Tuesday were famous for doing other huge displays.

      And she was all of seven at the time, Gloria 🙂 Happy Fourth to you as well, Ms. Snark !!


  4. You too, Florence!! Hope you have a fun-filled fourth! You know this year will be the first Xmas my kids don’t believe in Santa. They had the talk with us earlier this year, so it’ll feel a little weird this next time around. They’re only 8 and 6, but they wanted to know the truth, so we told them. 😦


    • Ah, that’s too bad, PK. But what you guys can do is remind them every year that Santa is the spirit of Christmas more than just a fat guy in a red suit 🙂

      My son told me when he was a teen that he watched me filling up the bottom of the tree when he was seven. But he kept it to himself because the second one, my daughter, believed much longer. Thanks as always for the visit !!


  5. Love love love that flash fiction. Am just back from vacation in western New York that had a Christmas feeling to it. Plan on keeping that feeling close.


    • Lindsay, I so appreciate your comments. I debated using something from early TV … and then it came to me that there is a cable chanel called TV Land and it shows only the very oldest B&W series.

      That is a beautiful part of the state and a wonderful way to get in touch with the Christmas spirit 🙂


  6. Another lovely blog post!!! My 3 wishes: 1) that I pass my big certification exam on Friday 2) that I’m able to stay in my house another year 3) that my surgery goes okay this month


  7. Thanks, Jamie … I wish that all you wishes come true. But #3 gave me pause. I truly hope your surgery goes well 🙂


  8. I love it that I feel I’m there on the beach with those moms and dads and the kids and their friends, watching the fireworks and drinking in the camaraderie. I remember having a television with rabbit ears and also a wire recorder on which my father recorded us kids talking, saying our first words, singing. I had them all put onto tape years ago and have yet to listen to them (hours and hours of them). Three wishes? Health, a long life, happiness for my family and me.


    • Yeah Patti, those are the best memories … no matter our age … it is those early years we spend with our “first” family that mold and shape the rest of our life.

      And you are probably the first to ask for a long, healthy life. In particular … may wish #3 be with you and yours all the days of your life. Happy Fouth 🙂


  9. annerallen

    ROTFL!! Your Imogene and Sid story is hilarious! TV was so silly-giddy and new in those days. And innocent. We didn’t have a TV, but I somehow managed to sneak over to the neighbor’s house to watch a couple of times a week. The TV was a tall skinny cabinet with the little screen on the top 1/4. Thanks for the romp down memory lane. My wish is for you to get your audience back, Florence! (and for my Camilla books to stay on the humor bestseller list a little longer–I’ve been having a great run for the last few weeks!)


    • Anne, I knew you would relate to Sid and Imogene. Thanks for the good wishes for me and I will hold good wishes for you and your Camilla books. What a great feeling it must be to be out and up there !! Stay on top 🙂


  10. I loved how creative you were with Vicki’s prompt. And I love Christmas in July. It’s weird that friend and I were just talking about Ralphie and his BB gun the other day due to a reference in my MS.


  11. christicorbett

    Every week I’m amazed at how you turn a simple writing prompt into a full scale short with such rich detail. Loved it!

    Happy Fourth!



  12. sfreydont

    I just sent in my Christmas mystery copyedits, finished and sent in my Fourth of July mystery, I never know where I am, so I turned up the air conditioner and listened to carols by the Vienna Boys Choir. And since your blog actually accepted my post for a change, I feel like I just got a present.


    • Well Happy Fourth and Merry Christmas and thank the WordPress Gods … you finally got through 🙂 Yes, when I worked in merchandising in another life, we were always doing winter stuff in summer. It can get confusing. Thanks so much, Shelley for your persistance with my post comments. It is appreciated.


  13. I am still laughing over this paragraph:

    Sadly, Princess Imogene was a bit of a tart and allowed the first man in short pants she found to eat the passion fruits from her headdress. That night she returned to her tower and told Prince Caesar, “Oh my beloved, I am now empty-headed. What shall I do?”

    Happy 4th of July, Florence! 🙂 My top wish would be good health and happiness for everyone!


  14. Love your Coney Island memories, Florence. The sea, the strumming of the guitar, the fireworks. Felt like I was right there. And yes, I too remember when ABC, NBC, CBS and one local were the only stations to choose from. Happy 4th!


    • I also love those memories of early TV, Debra. It was a different time. Even though we didn’t get a TV until I was nine … I think radio and early TV had an enormous influence on my writing. In the New York or Tri-State area there was a Channel 13 … it was the Channel that broke with their sponsors and went “public” and it represents the roots of PBS. I am so proud to have been there at the beginning of this grand tradition in tele-communications.

      Happy Fourth to you and yours 🙂


  15. Better late than never I say. I’ve had one heck of a time getting my wi-fi to stay connected long enough for me to read – and yes indeed I wanted to read your blog. It’s always one of my favorites and how nice to have a triple decker surprise. Hope your fourth was special.


    • Ah, I missed you my friend. Wondered where you went, Sheri … and isn’t modern technology fun when it back-fires on us?? Thanks for the support. Now get to work on your blog so I can get more good reading material 🙂


  16. Vicki Batman

    Ah, Florence, I missed a good one while moving. VBG!! And Sheila is right, that eating the fruit from the head paragraph is hilarious. I love how you let your imagination run with the prompt. Thank you for including me.

    My 3 wishes: I’m with Patti-good health, happiness, and love to all.


  17. Loved this post. Fun.


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