This holiday season we sat down with the characters of the Night Buddies series and figured out what they were thankful for this year. Here’s what they said:
Crosley: I’m thankful that me an’ John get to go out on more and more Programs together an’ that we can make each other laugh. An’ I’m thankful for pineapple cheesecakes of course! By the way, have ya got any with you?
John: I’m thankful that I had trouble sleeping at night, because that’s what got me started as a Night Buddy! And I’m thankful for all the friends I made because of it, even if they do all make fun of my curly hair an’ big, round brown eyes.
Big Foot Mae: I’m thankful that I’m the biggest woman you ever seen, because it sure makes me unique. And I’m thankful for Crosley keeping me in business. That crocodile sure does love my pineapple cheesecakes!
Crenwinkle: I’m sure thankful (Wuk!) for my brother, and for John making sure that he stays focused on the Programs I give ‘em! I’m glad that my whatchamacallits get some use, too, because I put a lot of effort (Wuk!) into making those.
Fast Fanny Farnsworth: I’m thankful for my All-Night Emporium staying in business, and for the Night Buddies taking my far-out flying machines for a spin during their second Program. And I’m thankful that I’ve somehow managed not to kill Crosley yet! (He sure does drive me crazy sometimes!)
Sounds like the Night Buddies have a lot to be thankful for! What are you thankful for this holiday season? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
Crosley picked out John to be his Night Buddy, for starters. There must have been a lot of reasons, but the only one Crosley mentions is middle names. Crosley doesn’t have one, and neither does John, so they have this in common. Crosley thinks it makes you a little sharper, too. And hey, we know that John is really sharp, and Crosley is definitely no slouch, so maybe there’s something in it.
The two characters couldn’t help but hit it off with each other. John doesn’t want to go to bed, so Crosley rescues him and takes him out on adventures. Crosley for his part gets a genial and very capable partner for his “Programs.” Sharing these adventures, the good and the bad parts, bonds the two all the more.
John and Crosley are very different, obviously, and before I go any further, I have to confess something. After I finished The Pineapple Cheesecake Scare, I realized I had used a device made famous by Cervantes and Mark Twain. (When you steal, steal from the best.) I don’t know whether Mark Twain had Sancho Panza and the Don in mind when he wrote Tom Sawyer (I promise I wasn’t thinking of any of them when writing my story), but Tom and Huck are very similar to Cervantes’ two protagonists. There Tom is, the impractical romantic (Don Quixote), and there’s Huck, the no-nonsense, pragmatic sidekick that Tom needs in order to stay grounded (Sancho). Two pairs of opposites who rely on and complement each other.
Exactly like John and Crosley. John is the sensible, down-to-earth partner, and Crosley is goofy, full of wild ideas, and ready to fly off to Mars at a moment’s notice for a few pineapple cheesecakes. And just like those other characters, they appreciate and honor each other’s differences. They are a team that’s better than the sum of its parts. This, and their mutual adventures (and maybe a little insomnia) are the essence of their friendship.
And having no middle names doesn’t hurt.
My son John, who doubles as narrator in the Night Buddies series, is the namesake of our colorful ancestor, John Hetherington, a haberdasher of the Strand in London. Old John is my four-times great-grandfather, and may well have been the prototype for Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter. Surely Mr. Carroll knew about him, because they still talk about what he did, and it made it into Ripley’s Believe It or Not a half-century ago.
Briefly, what old John did was introduce the top hat to London. But I’ll let the The Times (London) take it from there.
January 16, 1797: “John Hetherington, haberdasher of the Strand, was arraigned before the Lord Mayor on a charge of breach of the peace and inciting to riot, and was required to give bonds in the sum of 500 pounds. It was in evidence that Mr. Hetherington, who is well connected, appeared on the public highway wearing upon his head what he called a silk hat (which was offered in evidence), a tall structure having a shining lustre, and calculated to frighten timid people. As a matter of fact, the officers of the Crown stated that several women fainted at the unusual sight, while children screamed, dogs yelped, and a younger son of Cordwainer Thomas, who was returning from a chandler’s shop, was thrown down by the crowd which had collected, and had his right arm broken. For these reasons the defendant was seized by the guards and taken before the Lord Mayor. In extenuation of his crime, the defendant claimed that he had not violated any law of the kingdom, but was merely exercising a right to appear in a head-dress of his own design—a right not denied to any Englishman.”
The Times wrote the following day: “Hetherington’s hat points to a significant advance in the transformation of dress. Sooner or later, everyone will accept this headwear.” (Actually it would take another 50 years.) “We believe that both the court and the police made a mistake here.”
Some kerfuffle! I am unclear about how the Lord Mayor found, but an aunt told me the 500 pounds was actually a fine, and that John was transported to Sligo, Ireland, in lieu of producing such a sum. In any case, he produced great-great-great-grandfather James there in 1807. James produced eleven children, and some of them came to the U.S.A.
My son and narrator related most of this to the Dean of Admissions at the University of London when he was thinking of matriculating there. I don’t know if it helped, because he decided to go to the University of Edinburgh instead. He did point out the Strand to me once, though, when we were crossing it on the way to somewhere else. It’s a big, wide street.
From “Alice in the Wonderland”