Ralph Twigger

Ralph Twigger, Innkeeper

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  Ralph Twigger had been caring for Debra’s two boys, Josh and Jeremy, since March. He saw them off to school in the morning, helped with homework in the afternoon—all in exchange for a home-cooked meal. There had been a few adventures. A man in his seventies is bound to forget a few lunches. As a result, Ralph had become quite familiar with the school, the office staff and the boys’ teachers. Ralph even subbed for the crossing guard on sick days. And then there was the end of the year party when Ralph served as “Room Mom” for both the boy’s classes. No one would forget Ralph’s peanut butter surprise cookies.   They were ticking off holidays just like a family. The fourth of July was a picnic in the park with fireworks. Halloween was a hoot when all four of them dressed up as crayons (and ghosts). And Thanksgiving was real nice, too, with lots more to be thankful for than just Swanson’s Frozen Dinners.   But right after the Thanksgiving meal the boys pulled out coloring books, crayons, construction paper, glue, and glitter. Ralph soon figured it out. A ritual to usher in the Christmas season had descended upon this home. They’d barely finished the pumpkin pie when the Christmas carols began flowing.   “Help us, Ralph!” Josh, the oldest, was great at getting Ralph to try anything once.   “No thank you. I’m no artist.” Ralph was starting to feel a sad ache in the pit of his stomach that he hadn’t felt for a long time. He did not enjoy Christmas. He had stopped celebrating it when his wife, Rachel died.   “Please, Ralph. Mom got you a Christmas coloring book and crayons too!” Jeremy held them up for display.   “What?!”   Debra giggled as she handed him a cup of eggnog. Ralph hated eggnog, but politely took a sip. “It was the boy’s idea. They said you like to color.”   He swallowed the funny-tasting concoction, trying not to breathe. “Well now, that’s because the boys need some help from time to time with their coloring assignments.” He sounded a bit angry and the boys picked that up in his voice quickly.   “What’s wrong Ralph?”   The clock was sounding the hour of nine and his excuse for leaving this pre-Christmas celebration.   “I think we’ve worn Ralph out, boys.”   “I am a little tired,” he said, relieved that he had an excuse for his premature exit. As he walked over to the door, Debra met him there with an armload of leftovers.   “Here you go.” She hugged him and whispered in his ear, “Thank you Ralph for all you’ve been to me and the boys. We love you.”   His tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. That sad feeling was there.   “Bye. See you tomorrow, Ralph.” Jeremy and Josh were waving the paper chain.   “Look Ralph, it’s as big as you!”   He knew...

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Dear Ralphy

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“Dear Ralphy” is like a “Dear Abby” page for you to use on the Ralph Twigger Blog. Ralph would love to communicate with you. If you have a question, or a comment, or some advice for Ralph, feel free to leave it. Ralph will do his best to respond. He’s still learning to use the computer, but he is 70-something! For example: Dear Ralph, what do you do with Josh and Jeremy after their homework is finished? From, Sidney   Dear Sidney, I appreciate your question as it’s a good one. Sometimes we run an errand for Debra, their mom, or we play cards, watch cartoons, make the salad for dinner, or visit Mrs. Batesole’ who broke her hip. How about you, Sidney, what do you do after you finish your homework? Have a great day! Ralph Twigger Read the first story “Ralph Twigger” Read “Ralph Twigger, Ghost Buster” Read “Ralph Twigger, Church Custodian”     Send him your questions on the “comments” section...

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Ralph Twigger -the first story-

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“Watch and Clock Repair…If your ticker’s not ticking, Ralph Twigger’s your ticket!” Ralph was rather proud of the signs. They were printed in a bright color with a grandfather clock, pocket watch and wrist watch at the bottom. It was his habit, on Mondays, to pick up two bear claws at Dorothy’s Donuts, tape up a few fliers and head back to the apartment. But this Monday when he climbed the stairs, he saw the owner of the building inside the apartment next door to his. There was a young woman with two children in tow. “Great,” Ralph winced, “I knew it was too good to last.” Ralph had had peace and quiet for two months. No one on the other side of #7. And now it looked like two small rockets complete with toys, bicycles, questions and high-pitched voices would be moving next door. “What’s that in your hand?” said a little voice, startling Ralph so that he spilled some of the orange juice he’d just carefully poured. Standing right in the middle of his living room was a little red-haired five-year-old. “What’s a matter? Cat got your tongue?” “How did you get in here?” asked Ralph. “The door.” “Little boy, I think your mommy’s calling you.” “What’s your name?”   -2- “Excuse me, but have you seen a little boy, about this tall, red hair?” “He’s right here, lady.” “Hi, Mommy. This is our neighbor. He eats bear claws too. Look at all his clocks!” Just then, two cuckoo clocks, three Westminster clocks, and a grandfather clock chimed the half hour. The little boy jumped up and down. “Do it again! Do it again!” “Sweetheart, the nice man can’t do it again.” She turned to Ralph and added, “I’m sorry. My son’s very friendly.” Ralph didn’t’ say a word, didn’t have a chance to say a word as the woman scooped up her son and headed out the door. There was no need for formal introductions at this point. Maybe she’d move in, maybe not. In the last week, he’d seen several people go in and out of the apartment next door, but not a family. There was only one other family in the whole building, and they were downstairs. A good place for families—downstairs—not upstairs next to #7. This was going to change everything. For two weeks Ralph wondered if apartment #6 had been rented. Then the weekend of March 4th arrived along with a truck full of furniture, boxes, two bicycles, toys and two high-pitched voices. The racket of furniture scooting, hammering, conversation, laughter, and country western music—which Ralph hated—went on for hours. He didn’t get a thing done that day. There was just no way to concentrate with all that noise. About nine o’clock, though, it stopped. Ralph fell into bed exhausted and worried. This was never going to work. His clock repair business was going to suffer, those two kids -3- would drive him crazy, and this seemingly nice woman would probably have...

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