Ollie and Claire
By Tiffany Strelitz Haber, illustrations by Matthew Cordell
As we head into summer 2013 and all the adventures big and small awaiting families during the coming months, I read a very timely and delightful book, perfect for vacation reading called “Ollie and Claire”. It jogged the snatch of a song in my memory bank from September of 1979. In fact it was the last #1 hit of the 70’s. Written and recorded by Rupert Holmes, it was called “The Pina Colada Song” by some, otherwise known as “Escape”. Maybe you remember it too. It’s on YouTube by the way if you want to have a listen. It’s pretty catchy.
Quick recap: a man is looking for intrigue and adventure that is not apparent in the routine-filled relationship he shares with his “lovely lady”. He reads an ad in a personal column where an anonymous someone lists all the things he secretly longs to break out of, in what he terms the “same old dull routine”. Madame X lists “Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain”. They plan to meet. They do. And you know whom she turns out to be.
So I walked in with high hopes, then she walked in the place.
I knew her smile in an instant; I knew the curve of her face.
It was my own lovely lady, and she said, “Aw, it’s you.”
And we laughed for a moment, and I said, “I never knew.”
That you liked Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.
It’s funny how that song, and its very human predicament, started to remind me of “Ollie and Claire”. They are two dogs that are closer than fleas on a hound. Their activity-filled days include shared picnics, yoga, swimming, yodeling, rigorous exercise forays on the track, and even exactly the SAME dinner shared nightly; bologna on white bread. Lights are out at each house at 7:15 on the dot. Odd, but even I began to feel certain sameness had crept into their routine!
Claire becomes bored with the same old, same old. Did she by any chance talk to the woman who took out the personal ad in “The Pina Colada Song”? Claire surreptitiously posts a personal ad on a tree. Hey, she bypassed a newspaper, but well, it’s cheaper and more convenient.
Travel friend wanted
For Round-the World
Come Circle the
Planet with Me!
Do you love hula dancing and
Sledding through snow?
Do you feel the need
Adventure is calling,
Let’s Go Go Go Go!
Meet me here Monday at 4.
Hey, Claire! What about good old Ollie! Helloooo! While you’re dreaming of pirate ships and mermaid sightings, where will Ollie be?
Hmm. Seems he, via a quick, apologetic phone call, will be incommunicado for a bit. Claire’s mailbox note to Ollie says the same.
Just whom do you think Ollie and Claire meet at their individual 4 o’clock rendezvous for adventures with a new and exciting play pal?
And we laughed for a moment, and I said, “I never knew”
“That you liked Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.”
What a sweet tale that just goes to show you never know a person’s interests until you ask. So kick off the old, boring routines this summer and take a page from the “Ollie and Claire” play book and have your young readers plan new adventures with friends they may see in a whole new light as a result. Maybe their current friends have more in common with them than they ever dreamed! No need to take out a personal ad or tack one to a tree! By the way, I love Pina Coladas!
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