Let it never be said there's a shortage of creativity in these foothills. A suggestion in last week's column that we enjoy a little writing contest sparked some clever entries that entertained our newsroom.
In case you missed our contest subject, a brief recap: Late on the morning of Tuesday, July 15, one of our reporters walking into our parking lot came across a small paper plate containing three apparently freshly-frosted cupcakes (covered in patriotic red, white & blue) and an unclipped cigar that appeared to have been carefully placed in a landscaped border otherwise filled with olive trees and ivy. How it might have arrived was a mystery to all of us.
Sensing an opportunity to help me fill this space with other people's work (come on, it's summertime and the writing flow is s-l-o-w), I challenged readers to come up with the most creative 25-words-or-less explanation for the unusual delivery. I offered to buy cupcakes for the winner â€” and a cigar, if he or she so desired one.
Imagine my pleasure when I arrived at work Thursday to find a handful of submittals waiting in my inbox â€” and it wasn't even noon yet! They kept coming, too, with the most recent entry arriving yesterday.
Most of the writers believed the cigar clue had something to do with former President Bill Clinton, although there was a decidedly sweeter, more innocent entry, from Anastasia Cokas, that wasn't political at all: â€œA family just had triplets on July 4th and they are finally home from the hospital, hence the cigar and 3 cupcakes.â€
However, politics are definitely at the forefront this year and the hands-down winner of our little contest was from Christa Clark, who chose to write in verse:
Cupcakes 3, there to see
John & Barack & Hillary
Cigar 1, but he is done
That would be Bill Clinton
Sweet & hearty
All are invited to the American party!
Congratulations, Christa. Choose your favorite cupcake flavor and I'll take care of you. It's the least I can do for your help in filling this week's space with your grace and wit.
Before I sign off, though, I just have to share the contest entry that came from Larrie Rosenfeld, who now works at the Glendale News-Press office. Larrie's not really eligible, since she works for our company, and I would have had to reject her entry on other grounds as well: it's considerably longer than 25 words. But tell me you wouldn't love it if you were in my position:
â€œUncle Sam had a horrible year, exhausted after the 4th of July celebrations, in agony over the bank failure, political nonsense, stock market decline, joblessness, foreclosures, homelessness, hunger and the constant economic despair which has only been made worse by the media.
â€œHe stumbled upon the Valley Sun, a local community paper who reports lovely stories of family success, children excelling both financially and educationally, music in the park on Sundays, beautiful gardens, two cars in every garage, lovely weather, new shopping centers being built, home values remaining stable and just that old-fashioned, All-American community.
â€œUncle Sam gathered his strength, his patriotic cupcakes (he couldn't afford apple pie), his beloved cigar, and decided to take refuge in some shade in the loving arms of the Valley Sun who represents life as all Americans used to know and love.â€
Kind of brings a tear to your eyes, doesn't it?
Thanks to all who participated. Every last one of your entries made me smile and for that I am most appreciative. Now, what can I get you to write for me next week?
CAROL CORMACI is editor of the Valley Sun. E-mail her at email@example.com.