Erica Obey is the author of The Brooklyn North Murder, as well as five other award-winning novels. She did scholarly work on early female folklorists before she decided she’d rather write the stories herself. Find out more about her and Morgansburg at her website.
Welcome to Dr. Mary Watson’s fictional home of Morgansburg, N.Y., where women still can their own preserves, the Fire Department hosts annual visits from Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ Pipe and Drum Band leads the annual Memorial Day parade. A village out of time, yes, but not all that different from growing up Lutheran in Brooklyn.
I was hardly raised in Lake Wobegon, but I do possess some arcane skills, such as crafting angels out of old copies of the Reader’s Digest. I freely admit I never mastered the art of crocheting covers for wooden coat hangers, but I bought them eagerly at fundraisers such as the Mother’s Day Plant Sale, the Strawberry Festival, the Penny Social, the Harvest Festival Dinner and the Christmas Craft Fair.
The real-life hipsters have discovered the Hudson Valley. The parades and crafts are being edged out by goat yoga, wine bars, art house movie theaters, and “destination hamburgers.” Change is of course good, and I’d be the first to admit there were problems in my remembered paradise. However, I never realized how much I missed that life until I moved to the Hudson Valley. My first sight of a Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary aroused in me a quite possibly ill-advised urge to make a Christmas ornament out of an egg carton.
To do this, you need a cardboard egg carton. You cut out two pyramidical dividers that hold the eggs and glue them end to end to make a diamond-shaped ornament.
However, I’m a little late for Christmas this year. So I scoured the internet for inspiration and soon discovered a new twist: egg carton Easter chicks. For these, you need a Styrofoam egg carton, rather than a cardboard one. And you cut out the cups that hold the eggs, rather than the dividers between them.
The rest is the same. You place the two egg cups end to end (this does take some trimming) and either glue them together or hinge them with a bit of tape. Then paint the body a suitable color. Use cardstock to create beaks, wings, and feet, and you’ve got yourself an adorable table ornament for the family Easter dinner table.
But for those of us whose idea of a family holiday is closer to butchering each other at a Westeros wedding feast….
How about adding horns twisted out of tin foil instead of a beak, and crafting fangs and a fire-breathing tongue out of dragonishly glittering cardstock? A little metallic green paint, greener eyes, and a red snout, and you’ve got yourself a dragon.
But why stop at just the head? There are twelve cups in an egg carton after all, and they make quite the dragon’s body when painted to match its head. Add spines, feet, and a tail cut out of glittering cardstock and… behold your special dinner guest. (We named ours Puff, of course. Hey, face it. We’re from Woodstock.)
Remember: St. David’s Day, the national holiday of Wales, is March 1. St. George’s Day, the national holiday of England, is April 23. Both revolve around dragons. And you don’t need to be from Westeros (or even Woodstock) to think creating a dragon is the perfect way to welcome the spring.
(With special thanks to my husband, George Baird, whose patience and crafting abilities far exceed my own.)
Brooklyn North Murder
A hi-flying investor determined to make sleepy Morgansburg NY a tech hub, vanishes from the middle of a lake during a triathlon. Mary Watson, a university librarian and computer genius, has to solve the mystery with the help of her Artificial Intelligence program “Doyle.”