The Story Behind the Story of Donkey and Lamb

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Here’s the saga about the story. I went to the AAUW home tour and at one of the homes I ran into an old friend with such a smashing necklace, I wanted to rip it off her neck. We were in a very public place, so I restrained myself and instead badgered her to tell me where she got it. “Redding Fashion Alliance” she replied. What? A cute local shop that I had never heard of? I must be losing my plot. So, of course, I was there within an hour.  There was fabulous handmade jewelry as well as all manner of artsy stuff, but what I fell in love with was this little hand-knitted donkey. And then I was smitten by the equally adorable lamb. Plus, the ambiance of the shop was such that I felt strongly about buying something—taste and talent should be rewarded, says I.

But I left. I couldn’t countenance the idea that I might be the kind of woman who would decorate her home with stuffed toys. What next? Dolls in the china hutch? I mean, that’s okay for other people, but I just don’t go there. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. It took about a day, but I finally found a justification: I could buy them and give them to my Menlo Park grandkids (who are three and one) for Christmas. Perfect. Except their parents are kind of strict about toys. They live in a very small house and try to limit their possessions. This whole minimalist thing is a very strange concept for me, but I try to respect their rules. An hour later, the final piece of my plan fell in place: if I wrote a story and made it into a book and gave that with the donkey and the lamb, well then, the rules don’t apply because it is now considered a family heirloom, not toys. That’s my logic and I’m sticking to it.

I went back to the store and swooped them up and banged out a story that afternoon.  Easy-peasey. Then I was so pleased with myself I shared it with a few friends, including the creator of lamb and donkey, the multi-talented Alice Porembski. The pleasant aura lasted until the next day when I mentioned to a neighbor that several people asked if they could share the story on-line. The neighbor told me I must copyright it. “It’s easy and it’s free.”

This was not true. The fee is $55 and it was damnably complicated and after several frustrating hours, I employed the services of a Best Buy Geek to finally get it uploaded on the site. (Thank you, thank you, Patrick and Tyler!) I should add that I have no plans to publish this story, but I would be annoyed if someone else did.

Then I had to take about 300 photos and crop and edit them, then upload them to Shutterfly. And then I had to make the book. This also required a trip to the Geeks to get more help. Actually, it took two trips. Yeah, I’m kind of slow about this kind of stuff.

Dozens of hours later, in the wee hours of the morning, I was ready. Yay! I had done it! I ordered two books from Shutterfly (one for each grandkid) and was finished! My euphoria lasted into the next day when I realized I had left out a photo and two lines. And I learned my book was already in production. And, as I fixed it, and paid for two more copies to be made, I realized I’m really not a particularly good photographer. (Sigh.)

Still, I think my grandkids will like it. And if they don’t, maybe yours will. Here’s an e-version for you. It’s not the whole book, but it is the whole story.

Happy holidays!


Hollyn Chase
Since her retirement, Hollyn Chase has served as VP of operations at Chez Chase--she also cooks and vacuums. Darling Jack, her husband of forty-two years, gets to be President; they agree that this is because he works much harder than she does. Being the VP is not all glitz and glamour, she does many mundane things. But she does them happily since she discovered that listening to audiobooks makes the boring bearable. Because her mind is always occupied, she's stopped plotting to overthrow the government. Her children, who rarely agree on anything, are both happy about this. Besides her addiction to fiction, she's fairly normal and sometimes even nice.
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