Such a Lovely Shade of Lavender

 

 

 

This story came to me one night and I typed it up quickly, only bouncing it off my friends Lin and Kim.  I posted it on Subpen,(a Voyage writer's group) and then the additions came.  Not only was I flattered very much at Carol's addendum, but Lin's as well.  In the case of Lin's 'letters' I had to respond to one, so that is included as well.  And the inspiration for the whole thing came from something that grew rather prolifically in my garden this summer.  

 

The Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea characters are just being borrowed and have not been abused, only confused.  Albus Dumbledore is the property of J.K. Rowling and is used with much gratitude and certainly no profit. 

 

 

 

 

Cookie was a very worried man.  For two weeks he had worried and fretted and listened to the jibes of the messmates.  Now, near the end of the mission; when they were heading home and he couldn’t put it off any longer, his day of reckoning was rapidly approaching.  With a sigh, he checked the various serving dishes all ready to go out into the officers’ wardroom.  It didn’t help that when he was being forced to face his worst nightmare, all three of the command officers were going to be eating together, along with about a half dozen or so of the junior officers, all because the admiral had wanted to celebrate the completion of a good mission. 

The cook heard the bustling and shop talk that indicated that Captain Crane had entered the room, followed closely by Commander Morton.  Maybe, he thought, the Admiral would forgo the meal this evening, or at least eat in his cabin, as he was wont to do when end-of-mission reports were coming due.  But then a deep, booming greeting told the cook that the OOM was in the wardroom, too. 

Evans glanced at one of the dishes and then at Cookie, his eyes partly sardonic and partly amused.  “Don’t say a word, Paul,” Cookie warned.  “Not one word.  Just put the lid on it and serve it.”

The messmate’s mouth quirked into a slight grin and then he shrugged.  “Okay, Cookie, but I’m not taking the heat on this one.”

Cookie sighed.  “Not asking you to.  Let’s just get the stuff out there and hightail it back in here.  Maybe if we’re not in sight….”

“You mean range?”

Cookie glowered at his assistant, then he picked up the tray that contained several large tomato soup covered meatloaves.    Evans grabbed the large container of mixed vegetables and the tray of dinner rolls.   “Coward,” Cookie muttered. 

As Cookie laid the last bowl on the table, he saw that the messmate was already in hiding.  He quickly joined him.   The bantering continued joined by the soft clinking of utensils and lids being lifted from the serving bowls.   Suddenly there was silence.  It was absolute and lingering.  No word was spoken, no plates rattled, not even the shuffling of feet. 

Then there was a slight throat clearing sound.  “Cookie?  Could you join us?” came the slightly puzzled voice of the XO. 

With another sigh, Cookie wiped his hands on his apron and walked into the wardroom.  “Yes, sir, Commander Morton.”

“It’s been a week since we crossed the equator, I am not aware that it’s anywhere near the first of April or St. Patrick’s Day….”

“Wrong color anyway,” Captain Crane added, his mouth curved in a slight grin, even though his eyes also showed astonishment as he stared at the offending dish.

“It’s no one’s birthday, none of the men have had any children born in the past day, none of the men’s wives have announced a pregnancy either, so may I ask why in blazes did you dye….” Morton continued.

“Not dyed, sir,” Cookie explained quickly. 

“Not dyed?” Morton and Nelson said at the same time.

“No, sir, and I promise I didn’t order them, either, Admiral, Mr. Morton.”

“Then may I ask how we managed to get these?” Crane interjected, gesturing at the large bowl of mashed potatoes.  They were a very lovely light shade of lavender.

“From purple potatoes, sir,” Cookie answered with a nervous swallow.  “And I tried them, they are good to eat, Skipper.”

It was quiet again for several seconds and then the admiral began to chuckle.  Soon he was laughing.  Soon everyone was laughing and all the while the mound of lavender-colored mashed potatoes sat like some serene ‘purple mountains majesty’ in the middle of the table.

“All right, gentlemen, let’s dig in.  We aren’t going to let a strange looking lump of food stymie us now are we?” Nelson asked as he reached for the dish of potatoes.

 

 

 

** Yes, there are several varieties of blue/purple potatoes.  In fact there are quite a few, something that surprised me.  The purple potatoes were the only starts available at Lowe’s when I was ready to plant potatoes this past spring.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I got some very lovely lavender mashed potatoes.  Mine were darker of skin and a bit lighter of flesh than these.

   

 

 

 *************************

 

Addendum #1   By Carol Foss

 

From: Public Relations Office

Buckingham Palace
To: Captain Crane
SSRN Seaview
Re: Born to the Purple
 
It has come to our attention that you allowed to be served aboard a food item that is strictly reserved for those born to the purple, aka the Royal family.
We in her majesty's service are deeply offended that such commoners, espcially Americans, heaven forbid,  would partake of such a thing!
Please refrain from serving purple potatoes again!

 
From: Captain Crane
SSRN Seaview
To: Public Relations Office
Buckingham Palace
Re: Born to the Purple
 
Apparently you've conviently forgotten that potatoes, purple or otherwise are native American tubers so we'll continue to yankee doodle along with them any time and any way we wish.

 
From: Public Relations Office
Buckingham Palace
To: Captain Crane
SSRN Seaview
Re: Born to the Purple
 
Sir, point taken. However, surely you realize that international relations have been threatened by less.

 

 
From: Captain Crane
SSRN Seaview
To: Public Relations Office
Buck House
 
But think how silly it would sound to the press. Have informed the President of your implied threat. Until I hear otherwise, will serve purple potatoes to my crew every day.

 

 
From: Public Relations Office
Buckingham Palace
To: Captain Crane
SSRN Seaview
Re: Born to the Purple
 
Do you realize that having got wind of this argument, that  McDonalds is serving purple french fries! Even here in London ! It's a disgrace, do you hear me, a disgrace! First we have to put up with the mega American fast food influx, then they have the gall to serve 'French' fries. And now purple! It makes one groan.

 
From: Captain Crane
SSRN Seaview
To: Public Relations Office
Buck House
Re: Born to the Purple
 
Could be worse. Green eggs and Ham maybe?
The Prez says I'm perfectly within my rights to serve any kind of food to my crew and has taken the matter personally to the folks in question.

 
From: The 'Folks in Question'
Buckingham Palace
To: Captain Crane
SSRN Seaview
Re: Born to the Purple
 
Captain, please accept our profound apologies regarding the recent faux pax by one of our staff. We do not have any such rule against serving purple potatoes, here or abroad.
One of our staffers is new to the job and showed incredibly bad judgment all around. We trust you will harbor no ill will toward the people 'across the pond'.
 
 
 
From: Captain Crane
SSRN Seaview
To: The 'Folks in Question'
Buckingham Palace
Re: Born to the Purple
 
Please accept our invitation to dine aboard Seaview when she's in port. I can't promise you Filet Minon, but how about some right royal purple potatoes?

 
 
From: Jiggs Starke
ComSubPac
To: Capt. Crane
SSRN Seaview
 
I can't believe you served those blasted purple potatoes to the Queen! Good grief man, have you no shame? Adding insult to injury?

 
From: Capt. Crane
SSRN Seaview
To: Adm. Jiggs Starke
ComSubPac
 
No insult intended. Actually she quite enjoyed them. Public relations A-Okay. We have a few left. Why not join us in our next port and help us finish them off.

 
From: Jiggs Starke
SSRN Seaview
To: Lt. Cmdr. Joe Jackson
ComSubPac
 
Do me a favor. Go to the flea market and put in a purchase order for a couple of bags of spuds. Get the special. They're hard to miss. They're purple.
 
 

 

                                               **********************************

 

Second Addendum by Lin   

 

 

From: Professor Albus Dumbledore
Headmaster, Hogwarts School of Magic
To: Captain Crane
Re: Purple Potatoes

Dear Captain Crane,
    Kindly accept my humble apologies for inconvenience caused by one of my students of herbology.  Master Longbottom has been punished for his "lack of judgment" along with his fellow students in attempting "spells" prior to testing new wands.  I am sure you are familiar with my affiliation with Admiral Nelson and I can assure you that Mr.  Potter, Ms Granger, Mr. Weasley and Mr. Longbottom will not be bothering you again.

Sincerely,
Albus Dumbledore


P.S.  Note to Harriman - I took care of Jiggs for you. Come visit soon

 

 

                                               ****************************

 

Continued .... by Sue  

 

From: Captain Lee B. Crane
SSRN Seaview
To: Professor Albus Dumbledore
Re: Purple Potatoes


Dear Professor Dumbledore,

     I appreciate your concern.  You can be assured that the potatoes in question were edible.  In fact they are quite tasty, their color notwithstanding.  We have grown rather fond of them.  I sincerely hope that young Master Longbottom was not too severely punished as this was simply a childhood prank which had no more consequence than giving us a good laugh at dinner.  I was reminded of several pranks of my own when I was younger, although none involved wands or spells.
     However, the question begs to be asked.  Would any of your other students have been "experimenting with spells" which would account for some of the strange phenomena on the Seaview of late?   If so, please ask them to put their efforts into more benign experiments.  If not, perhaps we can discuss the reason for all of the unusual activities onboard.
     Perhaps, also, Mr. Longbottom's talent with plant life could be channeled into helping us with a rather unusual recurring problem we have had recently-- namely the visitation of some nasty tempered plant-men.  Whenever they have come aboard, they have caused many thousands of dollars in repair bills, untold hours of sick time among our personnel and a great deal of headaches trying to explain such phenomena.  Your help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Captain Lee Crane

PS Admiral Nelson assured me that as soon as we wrote our replies, that the means to post them would spontaneously appear.  I have to congratulate you on your postal methods.  Very efficient!  I don't think I have ever seen an owl on the conning tower before.

 

                         ********************************************

Continued....  by Lin  

 

To: Captain Lee B. Crane
SSRN Seaview
From:  Professor Albus Dumbledore
Headmaster, Hogwarts School of Magic
Re: Potatoes and Plant Men

My Dear Captain Crane,
     Thank you for your timely response to my owl. Sabarra is one of our finest messengers and I wanted to insure that the message was delivered as prescribed.  I can assure you that our second year students are not capable of producing Plant Men or even a simple Patronus at this level, however, since you are such good friends with Harriman Nelson who was an excellent exchange student, I can arrange for Professor Snape to discharge with the Plant Man with all expediency as he was a former Death Eater and is quite masterful with the dark arts.  We will gladly assist Harriman with the spell to repair the damage and consider it an honour to work with such fine gentlemen as yourselves.  It is not often that one comes across muggles that appreciate our talents.  I have enclosed a new wand for Admiral Nelson.  Kindly remember to deliver the wand as is, you are a muggle and the wand chose Harriman.  He was such a brilliant student.

Most sincerely yours,
Albus Dumbledore
Headmaster, Hogwarts School of Magic

P. S.  Harriman, "Just swish and flick gently!"

 

 

Let us know how you liked the collaboration. 

 

 

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