Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hoppin' Hall Around

Another weekend and another round of appearances for the Halls! Saturday was wet and drizzly, but the Cadillac hardly had time to cool down. A recuperating Mrs. Nutting was present for this week’s OES meeting, and it was indeed a pleasure to see her in the East. Mrs. Hall had presided over the last meeting in her absence, and was happy to hand back the gavel. However, the good deeds of the past did not afford her any immunity in the present; Mrs. H. was tapped again to chair the Rummage Sale in June. Mrs. Hall was quoted as saying, she was glad to do it; the work was well worth the effort. Anything to get the basement emptied- cleaning out the catacombs at Penguin Hall, she remarked, could have qualified as one of the labors of Hercules; and given the age of some of the collections down there, it might very well have been one.
The meeting was a short, but interesting one. Mr. Avery Weedlock, of Weedlock Amusements, gave a fascinating lecture on the history of the Ferris Wheel in America. Any speech that begins with the declaration, “I’m a Carny, my father was a carny, and his father before him was a carny,” is sure to be a colorful story. The Halls would have loved to listen all day, but were off as soon as Mr. Weedlock took his bow, and straight into town for the next fĂȘte.
The parishioners of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were having a birthday party for Monsignor Gleba Saturday night, and it was quite a turnout. Approximately 120 or so guests were treated to Ernie’s Lakeland CafĂ© catering in the lunchroom of the old Sacred Heart School. The Halls were seated next to Fr. Dudciewicz and Fr. Matula, along with the other usual suspects from church. The good monsignor turned 81 last week and the boisterous crowd regaled him with toasts, songs and stories, both in English and Polish. He is a powerful presence at the basilica and a fierce defender of its heritage in Syracuse. The Halls dragged themselves home late; weary and fat from the hearty provisions of the evening.
Easter is scheduled early this year, and that means Lent will be likewise; so Transfiguration Church was having its Mardi Gras luncheon on Sunday. Actually, the holiday is really irrelevant; the luncheons at Transfiguration always have the same fare whether it is St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween: pierogies, kielbasa, kraut, pickles, black rye and a jelly filled donut for dessert. All washed down to the tune of an accordion player and several spritely polkas. There was quite a crowd there, but despite the fact that the Halls were held in a holding pattern for several minutes in the parking lot, they still managed to stay on their flight plan and made their scheduled stopover at Digger’s for the Superbowl!
“Digger” used to be the sextant and grave digger over at the old Sacred Heart Cemetery in Geddes, but a series of health issues led to his taking his leave from the position. His wonderful family, however, remains prominent at Sacred Heart and happily for the Halls, counts them as friends and perennial guests at his football blowout. Entrance to the party, as the regulars all know, is through the garage, affording easy access to his rec room downstairs. Every available space on the wall, that hasn’t already been given to either a nostalgic bar sign or a sports memorabilia, is taped over with gambling grids. The twenty-five or so guests (and countless other outside gamblers) have bet on everything from the scores from every conceivable stop, to appreciation of the commercials and half time show, to the level of nudity the network will allow since the “wardrobe malfunction” incident three years ago.
Dropping off some bottled beverages and store-bought drollery to contribute to his collection, the Halls took their usual perches at the bar and joined the raucous throng. This year, the Hall’s bets all went to “the good of the order”, but Digger himself (shades of a “fix”??) won big on some of the hundred dollar boards at the Polish Home, and in a surprise entry, Sister Melanie won twenty five dollars on the halftime squares. Mrs. H would have rather seen the Packers in the game instead of the Giants, but she didn’t care who it was, as long as they beat the Patriots; so the house was positively shaking with cheers when the Giants managed to pull a miracle out of their hats and take the championship. (Mr. Hall said he was only marginally interested in the outcome of the contest, but was there primarily for Henry’s horseradish-laced deviled eggs.) Hugs and handshakes and not a little money changing all around, and it was time to point the big black car towards home.

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