|Karen's Cowboy, Part 4 (FINALE)
||[Jun. 12th, 2017|10:41 pm]
Baby-sitters Club Snark-fest!
First of all, here's part 3, since I'm not allowed to edit tags on the Dreamwidth version of this journal:
That being settled, let's finish this.
Chapter Dezesseis: The Real Annie Hancock
The treasure hunt (see the previous chapter) is fruitful, revealing old Life and National Geographic magazines, Zane Grey books and - I am not making this up -
Lots of grown-up books with covers showing bare-chested, long-haired muscle men grabbing women who liked as if they were about to faint.
There are also old-fashioned kids' books, one of which is a 1932 book called Talks for Girls, which is all about how "girls should be cheerful, polite, clean, and honest." Karen actually has a pretty good reaction to that:
Really! Who would go around thinking you should be grumpy, rude, filthy, and dishonest? Not even Pamela Harding, my best enemy back home, would say that.
Granted, she most likely wouldn't say that because I can't really imagine a seven-year-old regularly using words like "filthy" and "dishonest," but whatevs. :P
As a side note, I believe this is the both the only mention of Pamela in this book and her last mention in the entire series, since this was the last BSLS book.
Anyway, Karen and Jenny eventually find some Nancy Drew books and a clipping about Annie Hancock. It pretty much reiterates what we already know - great archer, great dude ranch hostess, bla bla bla. It also mentions a local historian who was writing an article on her for the county historical society. Unfortunately, it's not in the library. Fortunately, there's always the Internet, and even more fortunately, the ghost writer knows that the Internet exists. Karen asks Kate if she can go onto the Internet, claiming that she wants to show Jenny a "kid's site." She admits that she's not being entirely honest, but why? It's just the historical society website. It's not like it's a porn site or Tumblr or something. :P
Anyway, the girls find the article and print it off. It reveals the true story - Annie was actually the one who started the silver rush that led to the founding of the ranch when she found a silver nugget, which her parents were able to use to buy not only the land that made up the ranch, but also a fancy bow-and-arrow set that Annie had always wanted. Not only that, but the ranch was named Arrow-A after her. And so, in a coincidence rivaled only by the later Harry Potter books, it was actually Annie who inadvertently brought her future husband's family to Colorado. As cheesy as this is, I can't help feeling all warm and fuzzy over it. ^___^
Oh, and you know the land she had to sell after her husband's death? Turns out it wasn't her family's property, but said husband's. Anyway, Karen speculates that maybe Annie haunts the mine because it's where she found the silver nugget that made her life so great. I'm not sure that hauntings can be caused by happy spirits, but meh.
Chapter Sytten: The Real John Wayne
The next day, all the adults and Andrew have plans (no mention of Phil, though), so Karen and Jenny are able to stay behind to carry out their sooper-seeckrit plan to restore Jon's confidence. The previous day, they'd found some old guestbooks in the library, which apparently weren't important enough to mention then, but anyway, they copy down some stuff from the guestbooks all morning, and at lunch, interview the other guests. Finally, they go riding with Punkie (I'm sorry, but I still can't get over how hilarious that name is) and Bill and interview them about Jon.
That evening, they do some craft project which isn't described yet, but finish off their plan, which they'll put into action at the hoedown. Sorry this recap is so short, but Karen and Jenny are being so cloak-and-dagger that it's hard to describe anything. :P
Chapter Tizennyolc: The Wild, Wild West
On the last full day at the Arrow-A (hey, that rhymes!), the hoedown begins with the ranch hands demonstrating their tricks. One of Punkie's lassooing tricks (even though he was the archery expert when he was introduced) makes Andrew more determined to practice his mad rope skillz, and Karen sighs, knowing that she's going to practice on her. I'd say good for him, but, as I've said, I don't hate Karen as much as I probably should.
Anyhoo, after a barbershop quarter performance, the guests get to show off what they've learned. Naturally, Karen, chosen vessel of Artemis, gets a prize for most accurate shot, followed by a relatively uneventful barbecue and a square dance. After the dance, Jenny signals to Karen to put their plan into action...but what could it be?
Chapter Hehadaah: Annie and Jon - Happy at Last
During a break in the music, the girls get Jon's surprise, then find Jon, who greets them with "Howdy, pilgrims," in case you hadn't gotten the reference with his name. They reply with "Jon, we must talk to you" (Karen) and "It is critical that we speak" (Jenny), because of course seven-year-olds talk like that.
Unnatural dialogue aside, the three head to Jon's study to show off their surprise - a folder decorated with Western-themed magazine cutouts, filled with guest-book quotes and interview answers from the guests and ranch hands all about what a great dude-ranch host and boss Jon is. The last page is a note from Karen herself, thanking Jon for reassuring Andrew about the wolves and helping Granny feel at home. Jon thanks Karen and Jenny, but admits that while he doesn't exactly believe that Annie's ghost haunts the mine, he doesn't exactly not believe it either, and wonders out loud if he would be better off just giving up the land. Karen responds to this by pulling out her trump card - the historical-society article. Somehow Jon didn't know any of this, despite being a direct descendant of Annie Hancock, but naturally, Karen the Golden Child was able to find it out, and thanks to this new revelation, he decides to stay on. I actually liked this moment because, despite the heavy-handed reference in his name, I really liked him and thought his intergenerational friendship with Karen was pretty sweet.
Chapter Dudek: Back West Again
The Brewer-Engle clan is on their plane back home, and Karen misses the Arrow-A already, to the point where she doesn't feel like doing anything - not even pretending to barf into the barf bag. I'd chalk that up as a good thing, personally. Andrew is also sad because he wanted to hear the wolves again, but they never returned. Thankfully, this sad moment is broken by Lisa pointing out how much Karen will have to tell Hannancy when she gets home. Thanks for throwing them under the bus, Lisa. Oh, and remember how this is technically a Halloween book? Well, Karen and Andrew have decided on costumes! Karen is going to be Annie Hancock, and Andrew is going to be a wolf, demonstrating by pretending to howl. A flight attendant pretends to be scared, and Andrew gives her a mini-lecture about wolves that reminds me of how I would sometimes explain a lot about things I'd been learning about for fun to adults, so I can't fault him too much for that.
Now Karen feels better and thinks about how she wants to go back to the Arrow-A someday, but even if she doesn't she'll always remember it. She joins Andrew in a wolf howl, and nobody even tells them to use their indoor voices. Somehow, that seems like the perfect ending to the Little Sister series, but I'd like to finish it off with my personal favorite Old West song:
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Aaand that's my first snark completed! It was harder than I thought, but pretty fun, too. So, until next time!