Dinah dressing up my plaid scarf.

Dixie and Darby have shared the uncomfortable conversation needed to keep their friendship on track.

Dixie began by explaining that although she sometimes felt sad thinking about Aunt Myrtle, she didn’t want anyone to treat her differently. When Darby became unusually quiet and well mannered towards her, she felt worse. She was reminded that her life had changed.

After listening to Dixie, Darby promised he would be his same teasing and tormenting self; the Darby that Dixie was accustomed to. Darby has been a dragonfly of his word!  Dixie is once again getting her fair share of teasing. The pair like each other very much and Darby’s teasing is only in fun.

Do you know anyone that likes to tease you? A brother? A sister?

Dinah has settled into her new room at the Insect Inn. It’s not as spacious as she’d like, thought it is the biggest private room  at the Magical Insect Inn. Our resident diva finds she doesn’t spend much time in her room anyway. These Fancifulls are much more energetic, and outdoorsy than the insects in her own community, The Hills. 

She’s learning about sports – RAIN BALL for instance. She has never heard of this game before now. Honey (Bumble bee) explained that a dragonfly who created the rules, was born in Oh Valley.  RAIN BALL has not become widely popular outside of their valley. One day they hope the game becomes as popular as BASKETBALL. 

The whole Fancifull community temporarily sets aside their tasks to take part in the game. There is no set schedule as there’s no game without rain. The community’s weather prognosticator, Belvedere (senior bumble bee) is responsible for keeping an eye on the sky.

 When Belvedere spots big, dark clouds rolling across towards Oh Valley, Fancifulls gather in their Central Park. Teams are easily formed. The first two Fancifulls arriving receive team captain leg bands. As each Fancifull arrives, they fly alternately to each team. There is none of the embarrassment caused by choosing team players in Oh Valley. The Fancifull way ensures no wasted time debating who is chosen. Best of all, no Fancifull is ever chosen last.

The rules of the game are simple – think Paintball, with rain drops replacing paint. The inclusiveness of RAIN BALL, however, make it far more fun to play than Paintball. Unlike Paintball, when splattered by a rain drop, you are not finished playing the game. Your new roll on the team becomes that of a Shelly – a shelter for a dry Fancifull of your team.  A Shelly hovers over a team member who has not been touched by a raindrop. The sheltering umbrella gradually increases in size as more Fancifulls: Dragonflies; Butterflies; Bumble Bees; Grasshoppers; Ladybugs; Moths, all  different species of flying insects work together to ensure that they retain one team member completely dry.

dixie-watching the dark skys roll in

Dixie is watching for the right clouds that signal a game of RAIN BALL is about to begin. Yay!

Strategies abound. With more raindrops falling, decisions must be made on the fly.  Which dry Fancifull will the rest of the team shelter. There could be 3 or 4 dry Fancifulls still on the team with small groups of Shellys over each one. By combining all resources and forming a larger and thicker umbrella over a single Fancifull, they might secure their victory over the other team.

The key to winning this game is WORKING TOGETHER. Towards the end of the game, there will be dozens of Fancifulls of varying species flying over a  single dry Fancifull teammate.

The length of each game is never the same. A game can progress very quickly. It can be over in as little as 2 or 3 short minutes, depending on how hard it rains.

When only a sprinkling of raindrops fall, the game ends with no winner. It doesn’t matter. Everyone has taken a break from their daily tasks and had fun and laughs, together.

Thinking it was a bit silly at first, Dinah quickly saw how much fun everyone was having. She realized that by joining in, she began having fun too. 

At that moment, Honey buzzed past.

“This game is perfectly delightful. So exhilarating! My goodness, I haven’t had this much fun since my friend, Druxy and I walked the red carpet together.  No.. This is actually more fun!”

“Isn’t it? I knew you’d like it. You are learning so fast and very good already. You’ve got some great moves.” Honey complimented.

“I am known for being a quick study in The Hills,” Dinah laughed.

Until now, Dinah had no idea how quick and agile she could be! That’s a useful skill in RAIN BALL.

Like all dragonflies, Dinah also has extremely good vision and can see 360 degrees around her ALL the time. This includes seeing above her without having to tilt her head. Dragonflies can see raindrops as they are about to land on them and can dart out of the way.

Wouldn’t that be fun? Seeing a raindrop coming down and shifting out of the way before it splats on your head?

Dodging rain drops is easy at first but as the rain intensifies, the game speeds up and everyone tries much harder to stay dry.

 Dinah was flying on her own for quite some time, darting left and right out of the way of the falling drops. Then she became a “SHELLY” in a large mass of flapping wings. It was surprising to witness the ease by which the unified formation of varying sizes and shapes blended. 

Darby playing RAIN BALL

Do you see the raindrops on Darby? He is now a “Shelly” on his way to join his teammates and use his wings to shelter a dry teamate.

Everyone on her team worked so well together. Dinah was flying with Gabriella (Gabby), and Grommet (Grasshoppers); Brighton and Baxter (Bumble bees); Milly, Molly, and Mazie (Triplet Moths); Lily and Lexie (Ladybugs); as well as Flutter, Fanny and Bianca (Butterflies). They were all hovering over Delta, their one remaining dry teammate.

Fancifulls on the other team were: Darby and Dixie; Billy and Bernie (Bumble bees); Bella and Brianna (Butterflies); Grady, Gryffin, and Gracey (Grasshoppers); Louie, Leah, and Larry (Ladybugs); and Monday and Milton (Moths). A few remaining Fancifulls, who arrived after the game started, watched from their vantage points and cheered everyone on. 

*** Note –  RAIN BALL is never played in thunderstorms. Fancifulls play safe!

Who won???

Belvedere, who is Senior Bee refereed the game. Like yours truly, Sue,  Belvedere is becoming quite forgetful. He officially called it a draw because he couldn’t see a clear winner.

“Oh dear,” he sighed to himself.

Then, raising his voice, “I hope you all enjoyed yourselves. I think it’s time to head inside now,” Belvedere called to the puffing and panting players.

“Baxter, Can I see you for a moment?”

“Yes Uncle Belvedere?” Baxter sensed that something was wrong.

” Shhh….Can you help me find my glasses?”

“Oh, Baxter chuckled. That’s why you didn’t stop the game when we were ALL clearly, dripping wet. Your glasses are on the table in the dining room at the Inn. Lets go.”

With relief, Belvedere and Baxter quickly caught up to the rest of their friends and headed over to the Inn for more fun.

It was not long before all the Fancifulls were drying off and comfortably watching the rain outside while “bench-racing” – replaying the game, with all it’s ducking and diving, bobbing and weaving. It really was quite invigorating and so cleansing! Dinah hoped it would rain again very soon.

Here’s hoping a raindrop doesn’t SPLAT you on the head today,

Sue, Axie and The Fancifulls of Oh Valley

** (Sue is scratching her head wondering where that story came from as it’s sunny out today. Must be from a 25-year old picture she recently posted on FB. It’s a picture of friends mugging for the camera before they began their paintball game.)