MAGPIE TALE: Pansies on New Year's Day
The one bit spring that could be seen year round was that little stall the Drabble sisters tended next to the cigar store at 8th Avenue and Conover. Even in the dead of winter, they managed to have lilies, orchids, violets and pansies.
"Orchids grow in every state of the Union," Elda, the senior Drabble sibling would say. "So it should be no surprise to see them here today. I think we're a good 40 degrees warmer than Alaska this time of year."
Where the Drabbles sourced their flowers was always a great mystery. Some said that there was a vast basement with heat lamps below that ramshackle house of theirs up on North Tedabury. When pressed for information on where they could find irises in the blazing dead heat of August or dainty pansies in a blizzard of February was always an urban legend.
Tillie was the one who came up with the idea of diversifying and adding pastries that they bragged were home made. The fact that they were made in the Drabble home was reason enough to heed caution. Many suspected that extra crunchy appeal in their snickerdoodles was potting soil. And only the bravest would dare to nosh on their Emerald Wonder Muffins.
When they retired and moved downstate, it just never was the same. Sammy Raulston ran that little hat and cap stall for a while and sold some fine alpaca scarves. Hernando Guggenheim did well with his counterfeit Gucci and Versace bags and wallets for several years. Now there is a little booth that sells lottery tickets. People shell out their bucks with the hope that luck or fate will reward them, but it just never had the magic of pansies on New Year's Day.