Richard the ant sat by the campfire, cleaning his pipe. His grandchildren were clustered around him, begging him for a story.
Old Richard was famous for his yarns. Some were sad, some happy. Some plausible and some really tall. But each one was interesting. The children loved him.
"Very well, my deal children", said old Richard, as he filled his pipe with shag tobacco.Let me tell you about Cousin Sammy, the ant who had made it in the modeling world.
"Children", said he, "you must have seen my cousin Sammy in many magazines and papers, he being a movie star and all, but you probably don't know he was an ordinary Alaskan Carpenter ant from right here in Nome. A fine representative of the Alaskan Carpenter Ant clan and the eldest son of my late mother's sister Bess."
"As ginormous a queen ant as ever built a hill." he added with a twinkle in his eye.
"Sammy was as lazy as he was handsome, though he made up for it by being smart." continued Grandpa Richard
"I'll rule the world one day, just you see" he would brag as we toiled in the tundra, stocking up for the winter.
"Bessie is spoiling him rotten!" my mother would hiss, but neither Sammy nor his family ever seemed worried about the future. "Oh, my sammy will be a great ant one day" aunt Bessie would say smugly.
And sure enough, the agents came scouring the countryside one day, looking for the handsomest and the best built Alaskan Carpenter Ant in the country and zeroed in on a few candidates.
Sammy was the best among them. After a little huddle, the agents made their offer. A very nice sum of money, half in advance, for a year's modeling contract.
It turned out that the sponsor was "Tide" detergent and they had arranged for their future model, Sammy in this case, to be on the cover of Time magazine!
We were overjoyed! It was an honor! And everyone was excited when the team of photographers from Time, the sales director of "Tide" and a bunch of important looking people landed up.
And Sammy? He was nowhere to be seen. We searched high and low but no Sammy. The Tide people were throwing tantrums. The Time photographer threatened to return to New Yorkl. We begged him to stay a day more and I went off into the woods, with an idea in mind.
I knew that Sammy had the hots for a young fire ant named Hilda and I kind of figured they might have shacked up for the weekend. But where would they be? I remembered that old rotten log we used to hide in and smoke weed. Sammy would be there if anywhere, I figured, and sure he was.
I barged in without knocking and caught them in a very compromising position. Sammy was furious but when he learned about my mission, his pallor changed from fiery red to ashen.
"Good Lord!" he cried. "I completely forgot! Dick, do something. We have to hurry."
I smiled at him. For suddenly, I had realized everything.
"Sammy, my brother", I told him calmly, "don't worry. Go back in and finish whatever Hilda and you had started. I'll wait here. And don't even think about the suits going away. They ain't going no place."
Sammy looked gratefully at me and vanished inside. He was back in no time, I noted smugly, and we set back for home.
When we reached, the colony was wearing a look of gloom. Aunt Bessies eyes were red from crying. My mom was consoling her. No one seemed to be glad to see Sammy.
"He's back, Ma!" I said. "I've found Sammy!"
"What's the use, Dick", said aunt Bessie. "Surely they must have gone back. Their deadline passed more than 2 days ago"
"They have not, I can assure you!" I said, in my most confident voice. "They'll do what they came to do!"
"How can you be so sure, Richard," mother asked
"You know the old saying, don't you?"
"What old saying?", asked Aunt Bessie, puzzled
"Time and Tide wait for Nome ants", I beamed!
And sure they did. Sammy still remembers and nary a week goes by without him calling me and asking about my health. Now wasnt that a nioce story?
But the children had long fallen asleep