Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hall Aboard!

Mr. Hall, ever desirous of the perfect Manhattan, and Mrs. H, yearning to see her old Midwest haunts again, locked eyes and hearts over the breakfast table last Friday and decided then and there that only a quick trip to Chicago would quell her hunger and quench his thirst. But even as Mr. H. was donning the leather gloves and refolding road maps, Mrs. H. had a request; "Let's let someone else drive this time, dear", and so, with that, they opted for the romance of the rails.

Thirteen hours later, Mr. and Mrs. Hall, (with Master Chris in tow) were strolling leisurely from Union Station to the Ogilvie Center, in downtown Chicago. With the sun bright and clear, they hopped the first commuter bound to the Northwest Suburbs, Arlington Park and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Pranitis, noted art collectors, gourmands and Mrs. H's parents. As usual, the Manhattans were perfect, the dining superb and the snappy music and sparkling conversation went on long into the night, even as Mr. Hall "rested his eyes" on the living room sofa for an hour or so.
As Mrs. Hall had a couple of cards that she had been meaning to send, a cute toy she had picked up and some local gossip to pass on, the trip was absolutely de rigour, but just before they left, Master Christopher mentioned in passing that he had just enlisted in the US Air Force. He had had it on the tip of his tongue earlier, but in the excitement of the opening of the bar, it had slipped his mind completely. Hearty handshakes, back slapping and kudos all around then ensued, the bags were brought back in and another round of drinks ordered.
No visit to Chicago is complete without a visit to Mr. and Mrs. Frank Acton's, so after a quick call, Mr. Acton himself ("Unka Knubby" as he is known; yes, there is a story there, but one not fit for the younger readers of this edition....) was dispatched to fetch them post haste. Utilizing the charmingly inaccurately named O'Hare- Elgin Expressway (it might be more readily named "the Memphis-Milwaukee Expressway, for all its relationship to its terminal points), Unka Knubbs set a new land speed record in conveying the Halls to Winfield, and from there to Costas Greek Restaurant, where they were joined by their son, young Master John Acton. Nothing says fun like setting some fromage on fire, then following it with charbroiled octopus and braised lamb shank. And so it was a weary but well-fed crew that tottled onto the Lake Shore Limited Saturday night, fat and happy after a whirlwind weekend in the Windy City. The moon rose over a glittering skyline as the train pulled out, but the Halls were already asleep, reliving their lively excursions in their dreams.

Important Safety Note: Replace the lid before operating one of these things...

The Kitchen Kemists at Penguin Hall were working overtime last month to come up with a special refreshment before the summer season of barbeques begins. Fortunately, they came up with one before inflicting too much damage on the labs.

The Penguin Hall Monitor is pleased to announce the Signature Drink for Penguin Hall is now " The Chilly Willy"! Proprietary rights prohibit this editor from revealing the Secret Recipe, but suffice it to say, it's cold, it's blue and it tastes like "a party in your mouth and everyone's invited"! Early reports from unwitting volunteers have been exceedingly favorable and anyone wishing to experience this new summer sensation is encouraged to swing by Penguin Hall, cozy up to the bar and order one now.

Requiescat In Pace Charlton Heston

In her younger days, Mrs. Hall was employed by a firm that regularly promoted its author's books with genteel autograph parties, and it was at one of these that she was fortunate enough to have made Mr. Heston's acquaintance. Recommended tribute: a rainy weekend, an endless supply of popcorn, an overstuffed couch and the heroic endurance to watch not one, but three biblical epochs: "The Ten Commandments", "Ben Hur" and "Quo Vadis"

Monday, April 7, 2008

Hall about town.....

The funeral home was buzzing with activity all this weekend, and the Halls barely had a chance to light down anywhere for more than a moment, but when they did get a breather, Mr. H. was heard to say, "The circus is in town- Let's go!"
The next thing you know, the big black car was headed to the State Fairgrounds to support the Tigris Shrine and the Shrine Circus. Mr. Hall himself is a Shriner, and although he was appearing sans fez, Mrs. H. took the opportunity to purchase her own small fez, with the proceeds going to the good of the order. The Halls arrived just in time for the opening chords of the Circus Overture, but they were immediately whisked away to the Potentate's box, where Mr. and Mrs. H. took their place next to The Illustrious Potentate himself, J. Michael Gates. Advertising had been terrific this year and the risers were filled to the brim. The show contained a full menagerie: elephants, dancing bears, a big cat show that was tremedous, but Mrs. H. complained (somewhat wistfully) that there were no snakes to handle at the intermission. Mr. Hall, ever the voice of calm reason, reassured her that once you've handled two or three, as she has already done, you've pretty much handled them all, so she really was not missing anything. That, and a hot dog from the concession stand, seemed to smooth the waters and the evening went on without a hitch from there.

Tell your friends!