The beautiful sunny spring day was a perfect day to enjoy the prettiest park in town. At the Cottontail City Commons everything was blooming in glorious colors! Bows the Bunny loved it – especially the purple flowers! She hopped all around smelling the flowers and wiggling her nose in delight! Glitter the Butterfly was flitting back and forth from blossom to blossom. Granny Vee ambled through the gardens, stopping to smell the roses and other fragrant blooms.
But there were also other things to enjoy at the Cottontail City Commons. Buttons the Bunny was playing ball with his friends. Phil the Frog was jumping and splashing in the lily pond. Checks the Chipmunk and Squiggles the Squirrel were having a picnic on their checkerboard tablecloth. The Bard Owl was reciting his poetry for a group of attentive listeners. And Silly Papa was – well, Silly Papa was being Silly Papa!
Whenever Silly Papa came to Cottontail City Commons he clowned around! He came to make people laugh! And today was no exception. He walked around the commons wearing – would you believe? – a big, orange clown nose! And when he squeezed his big, orange nose, it honked loud and clear! “HONK! HONK!”
So here he was on this particular day, honking his nose and wiggling his ears and clowning around. Silly Papa had drawn a big crowd. He juggled balls and honked his nose and people laughed. He did card tricks and honked his nose and people laughed. He did somersaults and honked his nose and people laughed.
In the crowd, a little girl giggled and guffawed. “Ha-ha! Hee-hee! Oh Mommy, he’s so very funny!” She laughed so hard she almost dropped her bouquet of rosebuds that her father had just bought her from a vendor. “Oh, Daddy! Isn’t Silly Papa funny?! He’s the funniest clown I’ve ever, ever seen! Maybe I can be a clown when I grow up.”
“Maybe so, Sarah,” smiled her mother.
“I want to make people happy, too. And I want to start right now.”
“You make us happy, little princess,” said the father warmly.
“Good! And I want to make Silly Papa happy, too. I want to do something nice for him because he did something nice for me. He made me laugh… a whole lot! Now, what could I do for him? ” The little girl thought a moment. “I know! I’ll let him smell my flowers.” She took a big whiff. “Maybe I could even give him one, if you don’t mind, Daddy.”
“I think that’s a wonderful idea, little princess,” replied the father.
Sarah slipped through the crowd towards Silly Papa.
“Silly Papa, would you like to smell my flowers?” Sarah lifted the bouquet towards the big, orange nose.
Silly Papa smiled. “Why, thank you! How sweet of you, Sarah! Don’t mind if I do. Who wouldn’t want to smell such pretty roses?” He started to sniff a bit. His face looked puzzled. “Here, let me just take a bigger whiff of those little buds!”
Papa took a big whiff and shook his head. “That’s seriously weird. Not a scent. I can’t smell a thing.”
Suddenly, he jumped back. “Oh, I get it! Those are those trick flowers that squirt.” He pulled out a phony flower from his pocket. “I’ve got one of those, too!” He squeezed the plastic flower. WHOOOSH! It squirted water.
Sarah smiled. “That’s funny, Silly Papa! But these are not squirting flowers! I just thought you’d enjoy smelling them.”
“Are you sure they won’t squirt me?” asked Silly Papa.
“I promise they don’t squirt. But they do have a great scent!”
“I have a great cent, too, Sarah.” He reached out and pulled a coin from behind the little girl’s ear. “See, it’s a great cent. It may be only a penny but that face on it is Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest American presidents ever. Yep. That makes it a great cent all right!”
Sarah applauded the trick. “How did you do that?”
“Do what? I just wanted to show you the penny that was there behind your ear. Maybe you missed it when you brushed your hair this morning.”
Sarah smiled. “Funny, Silly Papa! Very funny! So now…. what do you think of my roses? Do you like their lovely scent?” She lifted her bouquet again to the orange nose.
“Not a scent!” Silly Papa shook his head. “Somebody tricked you. These must be fakes! They sure look real but these rosebuds have no smell at all! Not a scent!”
“Of course, they have a smell, Silly Papa. They’re real as real can be!” Sarah took a whiff to reassure herself. “Aaaah! They smell wonderful! Silly Papa, try again.”
Silly Papa took another whiff. “Not a scent! What nonsense is this? Flowers with no scent!”
Sarah was confused. The flowers were so very fragrant. “Well, maybe my buds are too tiny for your big orange nose. Let’s find a bigger flower.” She took his hand and led him over to some big, beautiful roses in full bloom. “Aaaah!” she said, “These smell wonderful! Surely you can smell these roses!”
Silly Papa sniffed and sniffed. “Not a scent! What nonsense! That which you call a rose, or by any other name, should smell sweet! But alas! Alack! Not a scent! Such nonsense!” Silly Papa looked so sad.
The little girl was bewildered. “Come! We’ll find the biggest flower here and then surely you will smell it’s wonderful scent!” Now since it was springtime, the Cottontail City Commons was filled with blossoming bushes and trees and multitudes of flowers. Sarah looked around and spied a blooming magnolia tree. “Oh, magnolias! Surely you will smell them. Here, take a whiff!”
Silly Papa sniffed and sniffed but in the end he could only say, “Not a scent!”
Next they tried the dahlias, then the asters, then the hyacinths. But each time Silly Papa could smell nothing and just muttered sadly, “Not a scent!”
Finally, they gave up and plunked down on a bench right in the midst of the fragrant garden. Granny Vee wandered towards them.
“Oh, isn’t it delightful here, my dears!” she exclaimed as she twirled around. “Just smell the aroma of all these flowers! It’s decidedly delightful! Decidedly delightful!””
“I can’t smell a thing!” blurted out Silly Papa. “Not a scent! Not a single scent!”
“Nonsense!” exclaimed Granny Vee. “With that big, orange nose of yours, you’re telling me, you can’t smell any of the wonderful aroma in the air? That is nonsense!”
“That’s just what I’ve been saying! Such nonsense!” echoed Silly Papa. “But wait a minute! I didn’t come here to smell the roses! I came here to make people laugh and instead of making people happy, I’m sitting here all sad! That’s really nonsense!” He jumped up suddenly. “Let’s go make some people happy!” He squeezed his nose. “HONK! HONK!”
“Wait another minute!” interjected Granny Vee. “That’s it! That’s why you can’t smell the roses! It’s as big as the nose on your face! In fact, it is that nose on your face! That big, orange nose! That’s why you can’t smell the roses.”
Sarah perked up. “I think she’s right, Silly Papa! Hurry, take it off and see if you can smell my rosebud.”
“Take off my nose!” exclaimed Silly Papa playfully. “Seriously? You want me to take my nose off! How can I smell without my nose!? Such nonsense! You expect me to smell without my nose?”
“Silly Papa! That’s a fake nose!” declared Sarah. “Of course, you can’t smell with a FAKE nose.”
“Fake? If it’s fake, just try taking it off!” dared Silly Papa in fun.
So Sarah pulled at his orange nose but it didn’t come off. Instead it went, “HONK! HONK!” The little girl giggled. She tugged at the nose again. “HONK! HONK!” She giggled again.
“Okay! Okay! Take it off yourself, Silly Papa, please! I want you to smell my rosebud,” pleaded Sarah.
“Okay, okay! If it will make you happy! Off it comes!” With a big, clownish flourish he pulled off his orange nose causing it once more to sound the loud “HONK! HONK!”
Again Sarah laughed. They all laughed.
Then something sensational happened. Silly Papa started sniffing, and sniffing and his face lit up with delight! “Why the air smells wonderful!”
Sarah jumped up and down happily. “You can smell, Silly Papa! You can smell!”
“Well, of course, I can smell! What do you think this is for?” He asked, pointing to his own real nose. “Do you think this schnoz is only good for honking?” He squeezed his own nose but it didn’t honk. “Oh, well, I guess my honker doesn’t honk! But it sure can smell! It can smell the roses!”
He skipped around going from flower to flower. “I can smell the lilies! And the honeysuckle! I can smell the magnolias! Why this garden must be the best smelling place in all of Cottontail City…. and I’ve been missing it!” He took another deep breath. “Aaaah!” Then he leaned over and took a whiff of Sarah’s tiny rosebud. “Now that’s seriously sweet!”
Now in all this sweet-smelling excitement, the big orange clown nose was forgotten. And since it was so very round, it rolled down a slope and hid under a bush.
After Silly Papa had smelled almost every type of flower in the garden, he decided it was time to get back to his other joy: making people laugh.
So here he was again on this particular day, wiggling his ears and clowning around but he couldn’t honk his nose. He juggled balls and people clapped but they didn’t do much laughing. He did card tricks and people were amazed but they didn’t do much laughing. He did somersaults and people applauded but they didn’t do much laughing.
“What’s hoppened?” He asked as he sat down next to Granny Vee. He looked a bit sad and no longer noticed the wonderful fragrance of the garden, so concerned was he with the loss of laughter. “I’m not making them laugh like before. Did I lose my funny bone?”
“No, Papa,” said Granny Vee caringly. “I think every bone in your body is funny!”
“What? You think I’m funny looking?” asked Silly Papa making a funny face.
“Don’t be silly!” she chided.
“Don’t be silly? But I’m Silly Papa!”
“Precisely! See, you haven’t lost a funny bone! Not one! ” declared Granny Vee. “But I do think what’s missing is as plain as the nose on your face!”
“My nose is by no means plain, my dear!” Silly Papa said jokingly. “But I get your drift. You mean it’s no honker! I need my honker. Now where is that big orange nose?”
He pulled everyone of his pockets inside out but couldn’t find it.
Just then Sarah came running up. “Silly Papa! Silly Papa! Look what I found! It’s your nose!”
“You found my nose! Well, hallelujah!” He started jumping up and down with glee.
He took the orange nose and put it on his face.
“Oh, Silly Papa! You look so funny!” Sarah giggled.
“Come on, let’s go clown around!” Silly Papa started off.
“But Silly Papa, you can’t wear that nose anymore!” exclaimed Sarah.
“What do you mean? Of course I can wear this nose,” he replied. “Is it on straight?”
“But Silly Papa, you can’t smell the flowers with that nose! Don’t you want to smell the roses? You can’t smell a scent!”
“Nope. Not a scent!” Silly Papa smiled.
“HONK! HONK!” went the orange nose. Sarah giggled. “HONK! HONK!” Other children gathered around them, chuckling and laughing. “HONK! HONK!” Sarah squealed with delight.
And Silly Papa was – well, Silly Papa was being Silly Papa again! He was very, very happy amidst the sound of happy children’s laughter. It was far, far more precious to him than the scent of even a trillion roses.