The Curious Life of Emmaline Mayberry
Updated: Oct 19
Down in the small but lovely town of Okotoks there is a woman many people are inquisitive about. Here is an insight into one of her days.
A twinkling sound comes out of the iPhone of Emmaline Mayberry at 6:00 AM, calling for her to greet the day. She reaches her long fingers to the phone and turns off the alarm. She sits up and stretches her limbs out in every direction. With her body slightly awake, Emmaline steps out of her bedroom. A click of her stove sounds in the distance. That is the sound of her tea being heated and by the time she finishes her shower, it will be ready for her.
With towels wrapped around her body and hair, Emmaline picks up her light green silky pajamas and goes into her bedroom to select an outfit for the day. Inside her closet, she finds beautiful Victorian style outfits in jewel-tones organized by color and sleeve-lengths. A smile appears on her face as she appreciates seeing all of her clothes displayed with neatness. She pulls out a grape-colored ruffled, long sleeved blouse with a button-up neck and a black and white striped calf-length skirt with pink flowers at the bottom. This whole ensemble will look beautiful with her new black strappy pumps that she is just dying to show off.
In less than fifteen minutes, Emmaline has her hair done up in a bun, make-up on her face, and clothes on her body. She walks to her kitchen and finds her morning tea of citrus ginger green tea, perfectly steeped and waiting for her to drink. As she pours her tea into a delicate teacup that resembles a dancing fairy, she looks at her emails. Another message from the mayor, asking her to donate something for the charity auction being held in three weeks. She will have to think about what to give.
Primrose, her sweet-natured calico cat with a scrunched-up face, walks into the kitchen and brushes up against Emmaline’s legs. She looks down to the cat, smiles, and bends down to scratch behind her ears.
“Good morning my sweet friend.” Emmaline says as Primrose curls up against her fingers, purring with pleasure. “I trust you slept well. Let me get you some breakfast.”
With a heart-felt meow, Primrose trots to her food dish and waits for Emmaline to open that can of tuna for her.
“Enjoy.” Emmaline says after giving Primrose her food and a gentle stroke.
She walks into her living room with a watering can in her hand. The few herb plants that Emmaline has are as spotless as they are magical. The rosemary by her balcony window not only smells wonderful but makes her feel protected by things she can’t see. The lavender on the other side of the rosemary smells just as wonderful and enhances her clarity which she often needs for work. In the middle of it all she also kept peppermint, mugwort, and sage in separate pots. Those she used specifically for her health from fatigue to sore muscles. Each one of these plants thrives under her care. She carefully and mindfully waters each one. A lift of the leaves tells her that the plants are thanking her. They are going to be beautiful for another day.
With a deep breath in, Emmaline goes to the center of the room where her meditation rug sits. She lights the candle in front of her, places a fist-size quartz crystal to her left, puts her hands to her heart, and closes her eyes.
At first all she sees is nothingness which is nothing unusual. Soon, there are a meld of colors and stars surrounding her until she gets her first vision. Her vision starts out with a giant tree full of leaves but it isn’t a tree that she recognizes. It is so beautiful and yet it gets even more so when she sees a group of fairies surround it. That quickly disappears until she sees her shop completely empty except for this antique gasoline lantern that is lit up. She is confused by this since that lamp shouldn’t be lit. Then she sees a warm tart cherry pie cooling in a window sill.
After ten minutes, she awakens back to the world, stands up, and straightens out her outfit. That was her most unusual meditation she had yet. Although Emmaline didn’t understand what she saw, she figures that she saw the pie because she’s having cravings. She puts her mediation tools back on the coffee table and walks towards the door. She grabs her briefcase which has her latest astrology article for the Okotoks Western Wheel newspaper.
“Have a good day sweet friend!” She calls to Primrose, is answered with a meow, and walks out the door ready to take on the day.
Once she is downtown, Emmaline has a tea and her bagged lunch as she walks towards the newspaper building. She grabs the door and walks inside to see a short balding man in a staid brown suit typing away at the computer.
“Good morning, Ben.” Emmaline says in a confident but mellow voice. Careful not to startle him.
Ben looks up to her, stands up and smiles as soon as he sees her. “Ah! Miss Mayberry. You look lovely today as usual.”
“Thank you.” Emmaline says primly and pulls out the article for next morning’s paper. “Here is the latest horoscope. I hope it will suffice.”
“It will do more than that.” Ben says as he takes the article from her hand. “Our paper’s popularity is up thanks to your astrology articles alone. Not only am I getting positive comments about them but we are actually getting some attention from big time papers like the Calgary Herald.”
“Wow!” Emmaline’s eyebrows pop up over her glasses. “Thank you, Ben. You have just made my day.”
As she walks out the door, Ben says, “See you tomorrow!”
With an added spring in her step, Emmaline walks to her antique store called, “Lost Things Found.” She opens her door, looks around, and gives a contented sigh. There is nothing like walking into your own store and breathing in the magical freedom that it brings. The store itself is often described by her customers as “Old School.” She has all dark wood cabinets and shelving up against the pure white walls. Her windows were arched like ones you would find in church. As she taps her finger on her lips, she remembers how she found these windows in a flea market. The items seem cluttered on her shelves but the displays inspire others to decorate with what she has. With a sip of her tea, she walks over to her desk/counter and looks at her emails before the clock strikes 8:00 AM.
Since she has opened her shop, Emmaline has had a steady stream of customers. Each one looking for tips on decorating with antiques and she managed to sell a unique Moroccan-style lantern to a young couple who wanted an exotic feel in their home.
Now that it is noon, Emmaline is alone again and decides to get her lunch from her mini-fridge behind her counter. She gets out the hummus vegetable wrap and a cold matcha latte green tea that she had got from Home Ground cafe before she entered the store. It is a sweet little coffee shop that she loves to stop in from time to time. As she nibbles on her wrap, she hears her phone go off and the caller is Milt Norman from the Okotoks Museum and Archives. Interested in hearing what he has to say, Emmaline taps on her phone.
“Hi Emmaline. It’s me.” Milt says on the other side.
“Hi Milt. What can I do for you today?” She asks cheerfully.
“I was wondering if you had any paranormal paraphilia available for the supernatural exhibit.” Milt answers.
Emmaline leans back in her chair and says, “I think I might but I’d like to discuss it with you when I close shop. What do you think?”
“I look forward to it.” He says. “I’ll see you later.”
“Absolutely.” Emmaline says smiling. “Ta.”
It was a pretty steady afternoon with various people coming in to buy some wares and interesting things but as soon as 3:30 PM hit, everything got dead quiet. So, for better or worse, Emmaline closes her shop early at 4:30 PM.
She walks out of her store, turns, and locks the door behind her. The museum is only three blocks away and Emmaline loves a good walk. As she strides on, she has a sudden thought and checks her phone to make sure she has the pictures she wants for the supernatural exhibit of the museum. Looking at her pictures, Emmaline takes a sigh of relief as she flips through her phone. She walks on towards the museum
In ten minutes, she arrives at the museum, opens the front door and goes inside. In the entry she sees Milt pacing back and forth pressing his fingers together as if he is anxiously waiting for something.
“Are you alright Milton?” Emmaline inquires as she walks up to him.
“Oh!” He says as he looks to Emmaline in surprise. He drops his hands and smiles over to her. “Yes, I’m fine. I’m just contemplating on how I’m going to market this idea I have for the museum.”
They greet each other with kisses on both cheeks. As he hands her a bottled water, Milt pipes up, “So what do you have for me today?”
“This.” Emmaline says as she pulls out her phone and shows him the pictures. “On this one picture there is a silver tea set that a wealthy ghost is very attached to. The next one is a cryptic typewriter that I got a couple of years ago from Montana that will curse the first person to type on its keys. And last but not least, a silver steel tanker figurine that will keep water demons at bay.”
“This is fantastic!” He exuberantly says. “These new pieces would definitely bring in some tourists.”
“I agree.” Emmaline states. “That is why we need to create an event for this. I’m thinking a cocktail party with some hors d’oeuvers. Maybe even an auction. I’m dying to bring out my little black dress that I got from Morocco.”
“Yes, lets do that. I’ll get on setting up this event if you can get the items and their biographies ready.” Milt says bursting with excitement.
“That I will and I had better take my leave if I am going to do that.” Emmaline says as she puts her phone in her purse and waves to Milt.
An hour later, Emmaline arrives in her condo with a dessert from her favorite bakery “94 Take the Cake” in one hand. She drops her briefcase beside her door and thinks back to the murmurs she heard in the bakery. Things like:
“It’s the astrology lady.” One woman said. “Her horoscopes are uncannily real.”
“She always has these strange objects in her store.” An middle-aged man said.
“She is so odd.” Another customer says. “I wonder how she knows where to find the trinkets that she does.”
Emmaline chuckles at all those comments. She doesn’t take anything to heart and really if people think she is strange, then it’s good business. Thinking of their comments reminds her that she has a horoscope to write. She sets her favorite Oreo cupcake on a plate, makes herself an afternoon tea of hibiscus and mint to go with it. She opens her computer and begins to work on the horoscopes.
She looks to her astrology chart that she keeps in a frame above her desk to get ideas of what is going to happen during this time. She opens up her laptop, looks up the positions of the sun, moon, and planets on the internet. With a quick glance at her astrology tomes, she remembers her knowledge of the zodiac and thinks about what these positions she sees before her will mean to the individual houses. Easy deduction has her typing the horoscope for Capricorn. She keeps in her mind that Capricorns are realistic, ambitious, and persistent. It looks like tomorrow will be a challenge for them as Saturn will officially enter their house.
In no time, she finishes her writing each of the horoscopes. Emmaline raises her arms in a big stretch as if to celebrate a long journey through a treacherous forest. She looks from her computer to her cupcake and sees that she has finished it. She chuckles at that and looks to Primrose. With a meow coming out of her, Emmaline smiles and nods.
“Okay. Lets eat.” She says as she stands up and walks towards the kitchen. “Oops.”
She makes a quick dash back to her computer, closes her files, and prints her latest article before she heads to the kitchen again. She opens her little cupboard and pulls out a can of tuna for Primrose. After placing the food in her dish, Emmaline gets out a bottle of wine and a glass for herself. Spirit Hills Bonfire is the wine she selects because today is definitely a sweet and spicy kind of day. As she sips her wine, she pulls out some random ingredients from her fridge to see if she can make a meal out of it.
She takes the Tuscan Herb Olive Oil that she picked up from “On Tap; Oil and Vinegar” shop. As she picks it up and looks at it, she reminisces on why she loves that store. It’s like an apothecary but its sole focus is on oils that you cook with. Emmaline loves the care, creativity, and taste of the On Tap oils. Each one is more unique then the rest.
Emmaline closes her eyes and puts a sleeping mask on her face to make sure she isn’t peeking. With both hands in the fridge she grabs ten random ingredients. While facing the counter, she lifts off her mask to see what she had grabbed. Grape tomatoes, kale, yellow pepper, capers, jarred sundried tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, oregano and hot sauce are what she sees. With what she has selected, Emmaline decides to whip up a quick pasta dish.
As she eats her dinner, she looks at the magazine she bought called Flea Market Finds. As she flips through it, she studies all the little trinkets and treasures that the pictures provide. It’s always a joy for her to read about the amazing things that people find, and sometimes fix up to give them another chance. Oh well, time for another glass of wine and sitting out of her balcony.
She pours herself another glass and walks towards her balcony with Primrose hot on her heels. A light breeze welcomes her as she pauses to breath in the fresh air. She sits out on her chair and lights a candle to promote peace and tranquility. She closes her eyes and relaxes in her chair as Primrose jumps on her lap. As she strokes her cat lying on her lap, Emmaline turns her head to see her two ghostly “neighbors” resting against the wall of the balcony.
“Don’t you two go anywhere else except my balcony?” Emmaline says primly.
“And miss this?” Says Dean, the transparent ghost in a leather jacket smoking a cigarette. “Hell no.”
“There’s no better view than right here dear.” Says Rose, the elderly transparent woman standing beside Dean.
Emmaline can certainly agree with that. It is such a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. There is no one, dead or alive that would get tired of it. With a sip of wine, Emmaline smiles at the two ghosts and nods her head.
“Are you going to look for more treasures dear?” Rose asks inquisitively.
“Nothing has come up yet.” Emmaline answers.
“Why should that stop you?” Dean says cheekily.
“Good point. Death certainly hasn’t stopped you from smoking Dean.” Emmaline returns and he waves his cigarette hand at her and chuckles.
“You must go!” Says a little voice from the railing of the balcony. There stands her usual pixie visitor named Mikka. “You’re going to get a phone call in a minute about it.”
Emmaline raises an eyebrow at the small fairy with an ethereal glow that surrounds everything on her from her long hair to equally long legs. Her wings flutter with excitement, hoping that Emmaline will say yes.
“Alright. I’ll go find more treasure.” Emmaline says toasting her wine at Mikka.
Mikka claps her little hands happily. Emmaline settles back into her chair as Mikka flutters over to her tilted wine glass and takes a drink. She recalls the day Mikka first came into her life. The ghosts were here when she moved in but Mikka came out of the blue one night, talking about how much she loved the flowers on Emmaline’s balcony. She never knew which one brought her in but she is happy that it did. Mikka is fun, sweet, and great company. After finishing the rest her wine, Emmaline picks Primrose up and walks into her home.
“Good night all.” Primrose waves to all the spirits. “And don’t get any of those butts on my balcony Dean. I mean it!”
With his smoke in his mouth, Dean playfully flips her the bird while Rose and Mikka cheerfully wave at her.
She and Primrose go inside and realize that it is 8:55 PM. OMG! Emmaline thinks to herself, her favorite show “Ru Paul Drag Race” is going to be on in a few minutes. It’s so fabulous to see a show where these men are allowed to be themselves. They worship their feminine side, show off some amazing costumes that you would only see in big time shows, and the fact that the performers embrace themselves show both compassion and honesty. It also helps that the catty trash talk is hilarious too.
Emmaline pulls out her tarot cards. She needs a quick reading in order to know what her next step in life should be. She turns over the chariot, the nine of pentacles, and three of cups all upright. She can tell that she is going to travel soon, get a rare treasure, and celebrate with both new and old friends. She smiles at that and suddenly hears her iPhone ring. The name, “Professor James Altadore” appears on the screen, speaking of old friends. She knows that she has to take this call.
“Hello Professor.” She says slyly, “find something interesting, did you?”
“Emmaline,” He says ignoring her slyness and excitedly getting into it. “What do you know about Costa Rica?”
“The star of coffee and chocolate, a Spanish speaking country that tourists frequently visit for it’s warm weather, thrill-seeking culture, and yoga retreats.” Emmaline says smugly. “Never heard of it.”
“Very funny!” James says agitatedly. “Listen! You remember the Treasure of Lima don’t you? Well I have word that there is more of it stretched out in various parts of the country. I need you to come with me and find it.”
“This is very short notice James. I have my business to think of you know.”
“I know but you and I both know that you have been wanting to go to Costa Rica again anyway to find more store items. Why not go now?”
Emmaline couldn’t fight with that logic. It’s true that she has been meaning to go back and find some more items for her shop. No time like the present. “Alright I’m in. I’ll make all the arrangements tomorrow.”
“Excellent. I knew I could count on you.” He says and hangs up the phone.
A smile appears on her face as she has a new adventure to go on. But first things have to be done. First stop, her computer to fire off some emails. One to Ben to let him know that although she is going to be in Costa Rica and will send him the articles via email, one to Milton to let him know about her flight. With poor Milt there will be a lot of arguing but Emmaline always manages to convince him that she will find something amazing for the museum. That’s tomorrows problem though. Next on her list is to book an Airbnb. She loves Airbnb, the options, the freedom, and above all, she can immerse herself into the culture. Is there anyway else to have an adventure?
With a sigh and a stretch, Emmaline stands up from her computer and goes into her kitchen to make her sleepy-time tea. It only takes a few minutes and she takes it to her meditation altar. She takes her phone and sets the timer. She lights her candle, rings her singing bowl and closes her eyes.
She sees nothing but hears a gentle voice telling her to “go.” She flutters her eyes awake and smiles. Emmaline stands up and gets ready to go to bed. After a few minutes, she gets into her same pajamas she wore the night before, plugs in her phone, and sets the alarm. As she drifts off to sleep, she thinks back to all of her previous adventures.
When she traveled to New Orleans to find those interesting old bottles. How she found a tiny little chocolate store figurine in Switzerland in a tiny out of the way store. Then there was the antique vase she found in China. So much is done and more to do. It is really funny how the whole town thinks she is such a prim and proper albeit eccentric woman. It’s true that she is a private person and expects a certain standard in herself but she fills her life with amazing travels and new lessons. She looks forwards to what this one will bring.
Special Thanks Goes To:
Debbie From Airbnb : For letting me stay at her loving home and taking good care of me in her Come From Away East Coast Room. Her cat is a sweetheart too! https://www.airbnb.ca/
On Tap Oil and Vinegar: That olive oil is delicious. A must buy. 22 McRae Street, Okotoks, AB, T1S 1Y6 https://ontapov.ca/
Okotoks Museum and Archives: For the pleasure of hearing all those amazing stories and seeing those cool treasures. 49 N Railway St, Okotoks, AB T1S 1K1 https://www.okotoks.ca/culture-heritage/museum-archives
The Ginger Laurier Boutique: Pretty outfits and the glamourous decor. 52 McRae St, Okotoks, AB T1S 1A6 https://www.gingerlaurier.com/
Mission Thrift Store: For many cute trinkets. 216 Stockton Ave, Okotoks, AB T1S 1B7. https://missionthriftstore.com/store/okotoks/
Home Ground Coffee and Esspresso Bar: For tasty lunches. 22 N Railway St, Okotoks, AB T1S 1B7. https://www.facebook.com/HomeGroundCoffeeOkotoks/
Cozy Cottage Interiors: Many fabulous antiques and housewares. 43 McRae St, Okotoks, AB T1S 1B8 https://cozycottageinteriors.ca/
94 Take the Cake Bakery: For their beautifully delicious treats. 94 Elma St W, Okotoks, AB T1S 1J9 https://ninetyfour.ca/
17th AVE Thrift Calgary: For the perfect Emmaline Mayberry Outfit. 2631 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3E 0A5 https://17thavethrift.ca/