When Hickory got BBQ’d
Gerome Hickory was famous for three things: his love of morris dancing, barbeques and his big bushy beard. One would have thought that a big bushy beard and an interest in barbeques did not go hand in hand, however, Gerome was always careful to keep them apart, by the clever application of a homemade beard net and through always acting responsibly around fire.
Villagers thoroughly enjoyed his famous cooking over open coals. The succulent treats he prepared were mouth-watering and perfectly cooked. People in Ten Acre would joke about Gerome singeing his beard, but it was Hickory that always got the last laugh never was a strand even close to being burnt at one of his barbeques.
At one spring harvest festival, Gerome was in his finest morris dancer attire, performing with the other villagers that still kept the ancient tradition alive. The children were dressed in vivid colours skipping round the maypole with bright ribbons. A small bonfire burnt away merrily loaded with aromatic herbs whose pleasant fumes kept flies and other pests away from the preserves and cakes on display in various stalls.
The tranquil atmosphere was soon disrupted in a flash, when Millicent Sour’s dogs caught sight of Chilli the cat stretched out by the fire and they started barking furiously. Chilli saw the baying hounds and bolted in the opposite direction tripping Simon Appleby, who happened to be carrying the box of fireworks for the end of fete celebrations. The result was spectacular, as the fireworks whizzed and sparked in all directions. Miraculously, nobody was hurt as the fireworks rocketed into the heavens rather than at the crowds, however, one of the stalls had not been as lucky and was suddenly ablaze.
Gerome leapt straight to the blazing stall, where the grocer’s children Jenny and Phil Green stood frozen surrounded by fire. He grabbed a child under each arm and carried them to safety, while the villagers worked to put the blaze out. Panic over, and all under control, the villagers applauded Gerome’s heroism, and in that moment, a gasp spread among the crowd as they noticed two things: Gerome’s beard was gone, and underneath it was an unexpectedly young, if not slightly singed looking face smiling back at them.
Hickory may have been slightly barbequed that day, but was hailed a hero forevermore due to his selfless action.