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1982

Wood

Muffy is at work in her house, dusting the furniture.  She's having a guest named Terry Termite over.  For his arrival, she has not only cleaned, but also made some treats, though by her own admission, she doesn't know what a termite eats.  She hears a noise outside her house, and wonders what the sound is.

The noise is coming from the Children's Department, where Sam and Jodie are carrying a rocking chair.  They set it down in the middle of the floor, next to the display cart.  Sam comments on how heavy the chair is, and how it's definitely a two-person job, if not a three-person job.  Jeff then comes in and asks Jodie if he can put the chair anywhere for her.  After she asks him to put the chair next to the display, he picks it up with no issue, carrying it over his head before putting it down in the requested location.  Sam explains that he could have done that, too, but that he has a sore back that has been bothering him.

"Is today's special 'chairs'?" Jeff asks.  Jodie explains that it's not chairs, but that chairs are part of it.  "Let's see if I can guess what today's special is just by looking at the display."  Jeff then turns to us and asks, "Do you know what today's special is?"

"I think they do," Jodie says, before turning to us.  "Do you remember?"  She then whispers to us, "It's 'wood'," and winks.

Jeff tries to figure it out.  He knows that it's not chairs, but he also sees a sled nearby.  "Is it things you can sit in?"

"Well, no, no, Jeff, that's not it.  But it's a good guess, though," says Sam.

Jeff notices a small rocking horse and other various toys around.  Is it toys?

It's not toys, according to Sam.  "Let me give you a little hint," says Sam.  "It comes from trees."

Jeff doesn't see any leaves, leading him to believe that it's something that he doesn't know about.  He gives up, and asks what today's special is.  Sam and Jodie explain that today's special is "wood".  Jeff is right, though, because he doesn't know anything about wood.  Jodie explains that wood comes from trees, and that "you can make all kinds of terrific things with wood."

Jeff is confused.  "Something I'm not understanding here.  What's so good about wood?" he asks.

Jodie and Sam explain in song.  Jodie begins, "What's so good about wood, you ask?  Well, it's hard to know where to begin."

"That's such a terribly difficult task," sings Sam.  "There are so many things wood is good."

When Jeff asks for examples of things with wood in them, they come up with many, such as beds, pencils, tables, chairs, and the toy rocking horse.

Now Jeff gets it.  When Jodie says that there's wood that you can walk on, Jeff adds, "There's wood in the floor!"  When Sam says that there's wood that you can knock on, Jeff adds, "There's wood in a door!"  Jodie says that some wood is square, to which Jeff responds, "Like these two wooden blocks!"  However, when Sam says that some wood is curved, Jeff responds, putting his foot up on the cart, "Like these two wooden socks!"

The song comes to a sudden stop, as Jeff's socks aren't made of wood.  Rather, as Jodie explains, they're woollen socks, not wooden socks, which are very different things.  Sam explains, "Wood is hard and strong and sturdy, and sounds like this when you knock on it," as he knocks on the top of the cart.  Jeff knocks on his socks, only to discover that his socks don't make that distinct knocking sound.

"Nope," Jeff says, understanding his mistake.  "That's not wood!"

The song resumes, as Jodie and Sam sing about other uses for wood, including storing books, hanging hooks, making wagons and swings, nailing into planks, making boats, and making boxes to store things in.  Jeff is astonished about how many things you can do with wood.

Next, we see two wooden rocking chairs.  The Mime Lady arrives, as TXL explains that one chair is bigger than the other.  The Mime sits in the larger of the two chairs, as TXL asks, "Is this chair bigger or smaller than the other one?"  We tell her that the Mime is sitting in the bigger chair.  "Then that must mean that the other chair is smaller."  The Mime gets up and sits down in the smaller chair.  She then realizes that it's a bit too small, and gets up, with the chair still stuck to her hips.  As the Mime walks away, with the chair still on her hips, TXL remarks, "Well, the other chair is definitely smaller."

Back in the Children's Department, Jodie, Sam, and Jeff are looking at the display.  Jodie comments that it needs something else.  Jeff hands her a piece of wood, saying, "Here's some wood, Jodie.  I don't know what it's used for, but," knocking on the wood, "I know it's wood!"

Jodie doesn't know what kind of wood it is, either.  Sam knows exactly what that piece of wood is: it's his whittling wood!  Neither Jeff or Sam know what "whittling wood" is.  Sam's explanation is less than adequate: "It's the wood I whittle with!"  When Jeff asks what whittling is, Sam gives a better description, explaining that it's similar to carving, in that you cut away the wood until you make a shape  However, you shouldn't do it until you're older, and only after someone teaches you how, because it involves use of a knife, and thus you could cut yourself.  When Jodie asks what this piece of wood is going to become, Sam explains that he doesn't know what he'll make yet, naming a number of potential things that he might carve it into.

Muffy then comes out of the display cart, holding a magnifying glass.  Sam is surprised, remarking that it's the biggest eye that he's ever seen, but that there's something familiar about the eye.  Muffy then comes out of the cart more fully, explaining, "The looking glass may help my sight, but it gave my friend a little fright!"  When Jodie inquires, Muffy explains that she has a guest who is so small that he's invisible without the magnifying glass."  Jeff asks who it is, and Muffy explains, "His name is Terry.  He's a tiny termite.  I've invited him to stay the night."  When Jodie and Jeff ask if they can meet him, she says, "Just hold the glass and look straight through.  You'll find him staring back at you!"

Jodie takes the magnifying glass, and introduces herself.  "Hi, Terry!  It's nice to meet you.  My name's Jodie."

"Hi, Jodie!" Terry says.

Jeff takes the magnifying glass and introduces himself.  "Oh, hi, Terry!  We're glad you can come and visit!  My name's Jeff!"

Terry holds out his hand and replies, "How do you do, Jeff?"

Now Sam takes the glass and says, "Hello, down there, you little critter!  This is Sam Crenshaw looking down at ya!"

"Nice to meet you, Sam!" Terry responds.

Muffy and Terry are going back to her house for a midnight snack.  As they leave, Terry remarks, "Oh, boy, am I hungry!  I could eat a whole table!"

Now Jodie is worried.  She's worried that Muffy doesn't know what she's gotten herself into.  Sam agrees.  Jeff doesn't understand, but Jodie quickly explains that termites eat wood.

Jeff is confused.  "Eat wood?  I didn't know you could eat wood, too."

"Well, we don't," Jodie explains, but termites sure do, and there's a lot of wood in Muffy's house."

Now Jeff understands.  "There's a lot of wood everywhere!"

Sam agrees.  "It's because you can make so many things with wood!"

Jeff asks Sam about how one makes things out of wood.  Jodie suggests that Sam tell Jeff about the time that they went to the playground with a few kids.  Sam agrees.  "Clamoring carpenters!  I'd forgotten all about that!  Now that was a great day with Ryan and Lori!  Well, most of it was, anyway.  I was standing by the fire.  It was nice and warm, and then you surprised me!"

We then see Sam and Jodie with Ryan and Lori at Adventure Playground.  The facility allows people to have fun, with, as Jodie put it, "nobody to say, 'Don't do this!' and 'Don't do that!'"  Sam found his way to the tools, showing us a saw and a hammer.  We also see kids painting.  When Sam asks Jodie what her favorite place to play is, Jodie points to a nearby building.  Sam comments on all of the colors that the building is painted, and how the kids painted it themselves.  Sam then notices a rope nearby, which the kids can use to climb to the roof of the building.  We then see Sam sawing a piece of wood.  He explains that he's making a short stick.  After he finishes that, he intends to hammer a nail into the wood.  However, Sam has difficulty hitting the nail on the head, so Jodie helps him drive the nail.

Later on, after it had gotten cold, Jodie found Lori and Ryan again, but couldn't find Sam.  She was worried that Sam was upset about her hammering "his one and only nail" into the wood, but then she remembered that Sam doesn't stay upset very long.

They found Sam standing next to a railing.  He shouts to them, "Jo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-odie!  I'm the king of the castle!  I'm higher than everything!"

"Uh-uh!" Jodie responds.

"What?"

"No, you're not!"

Sam looks behind him, and sees the CN Tower behind him.  He remarks, "Ah!  Well, maybe not everything!" and laughs.

Back at Muffy's place, Muffy is offering Terry a snack.  She's not sure what Terry likes, so she made an assortment.  Terry says, "Actually, I prefer maple over just about everything else."  Muffy thinks that he is referring to maple sugar, and agrees that it's her favorite, too, and offers to get a plate full of it.  Terry stops her, explaining, "Not maple sugar.  Just maple.  You know, like the tree!"

Muffy is confused.  "You say you'd eat a maple tree?  I'm afraid I just don't see."

Terry isn't worried.  "That's okay.  I'll just nibble on this table here."  We then see sawdust flying, and then the table tilts downward, dumping the items on top.  Terry then asks, "Mmmmmm, that was wonderful.  What was it?"

Muffy is a bit shocked, and replies, "I'll answer as calmly as I'm able.  That used to be my dining table."

Terry replies, "Oops!  Sorry, Muffy!"

Next, the Mime Lady is standing around a number of objects: a door, a hat, a toy train, and a rocking horse.  TXL asks which object is not made of wood.  We tell her that it's the hat.  The Mime tests this by knocking on all of the items to verify that they're made of wood.  The door, the rocking horse, and the train all make a knocking sound - thus they're made of wood.  The hat, however, makes no sound when knocked on, meaning that it's not made of wood.  The Mime then puts the hat on and leaves the scene through the door, as TXL says, "Bye!"

Back in Muffy's place, Muffy is lamenting Terry's eating of her furniture, saying, "I tried to sit in my favorite chair, but one of the legs was no longer there."  Terry is heard apologizing for the chair.  Muffy wonders if a nursery rhyme will cheer her up.  We then are treated to a nursery rhyme.

In the Computer Room, Sam is getting back to whittling.  He first reminds us again that whittling is for grownups, because you have to know how to use a knife properly before you start whittling, because otherwise, you might hurt yourself.  However, he says, whittling is as fun as knitting once you learn how to do it properly.  TXL asks Sam what he's whittling.  Sam isn't sure yet.  "It could be an elephant, an airplane, or maybe a giraffe or something.  In any case, I don't really care.  I just whittle to pass the time away."  Sam then sings a song about whittling and whistling while passing the time away.

Up in the Children's Department, we see two pairs of shoes.  When Jeff asks what they are, Jodie explains that they're wooden shoes from Holland, used as part of a traditional costume.  They then hear a voice: "Excuse me, Jodie?  Can I talk to you?"

Jodie and Jeff are initially confused.  Jodie then says, "Sounds like Terry Termite."

"Either that, or the counter's learned how to talk," remarks Jeff.

It is Terry, so Jodie gets the magnifying glass in order to see him.  Terry is worried that Muffy won't like him because he's eaten so much of her furniture.  He explains that he can't help it, because when he smells wood, he "just has to eat it."

"That's natural for a termite," says Jodie.

However, Terry is concerned about losing his friends.  Jodie suggests that friends will understand.  It reminds her of the story of the guard in the forest, who was very proud of his uniform, especially his busby.  Jodie explains that the job of a guard is serious business, walking back and forth, and not being allowed to talk to anyone.  Thus the guard thought that he had no friends.  Jodie then pulls out a book and reads the story to Terry.  We hear about a soldier standing guard on a windy day, when the wind blew his busby off of his head.  Then an eagle came and grabbed it in midair, flying away with it.  The soldier was unable to leave his post to get a new one, and had no friends to get a new one for him, so he sat down and cried.  Soon, he was surrounded by several animals, who wanted to help him.  The animals reminded the soldier that his never talking to them isn't his fault, because he's not allowed to talk, and that he guards their forest, which benefits them.  They first gave him an acorn cap, but it was far too small.  The skunk suggested using his tail as a hat, but it wasn't practical.  The owl suggested wearing a feather, but it didn't look right.  The queen bee suggested using an old beehive as a hat, and it was perfect.  Thus the soldier had a new hat, as well as several new friends who understood his situation.

Jeff and Terry both enjoyed the story.

Jodie then notices that she only has three shoes.  "I thought I had four wooden shoes here."  Turns out that Terry had eaten one of Jodie's shoes while she was telling the story.

"I just don't understand," says Jeff.  "What's so good about wood?"

"I don't know, Jeff," replies Jodie.  "I just don't know."

After Jeff and Jodie leave the room, Terry steps out on the counter and sings about his love of wood.  "What's so good about wood, they say?  I've wondered about that myself.  I keep on asking that question all day as I chew on a desk or a shelf!"  He wishes that he could find something better than wood, but can't find anything else comparable.  He recognizes that it's not normal, but he can't help that he loves to eat wood.

Next, we see the Mime Lady with three pairs of wooden shoes.  We see that the colors don't match.  We help the Mime match the shoes up with the proper color mate.  While the Mime stands by looking satisfied, the shoes shuffle off to the right, leaving the Mime to wonder what's going on.

Back in the Children's Department, Sam is showing off the results of his whittling.  Jodie, upon looking at the wood, remarks, "If you whittle any more, Sam, you'll have a willy whittle piece of wood."  Sam laughs at the corny joke.

When Jeff reminds Sam that he hasn't told them what it is yet, Sam has them guess.  Muffy guesses that it's a mouse's ski.  Jeff guesses a wooden snake.  Jodie guesses that it's a surfboard for Terry.  Turns out that it's a popsicle stick.  Sam didn't set out to make a popsicle stick, though.  "I just kept whittling and whittling, and before I knew it, there it was.  The perfect popsicle stick!"

Jodie points out that Sam made a mess with all of his wood shavings, which have to be cleaned up before morning.  Muffy, meanwhile, still has a problem with Terry eating her furniture.  Jodie comes up with a solution for both problems.  Terry can eat all of the wood shavings on the counter, and then, because he's full, he won't eat any more of Muffy's furniture.  Everyone thinks that it's a great idea - especially Terry.  Everyone then sings about all of the wonderful things that wood is good for.

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