Tuesday, December 30, 2008

X-mas Files

Mr. H. reclined even further back in the big leather chair and sighed. An aura of complete satisfaction surrounded him.
“A gold foil-wrapped chocolate coin for your thoughts,” said Mrs. Hall. “I’m afraid, after all the Christmas shopping, that that is the only unit of exchange left in the house.” Certainly that was true- every electronics store within miles, either brick and mortar or virtual, had been scrutinized to within an inch of its lithium battery fueled life, for the latest and greatest in breakthrough technology. The video Yule log was blazing and the mechanical mood jellyfish swayed lazily on the end table. Every gift under the Christmas tree had been purchased for either dual core processing, a terabyte of storage or auto-loading software to control an army of anthropomorphic servo-driven drones.
Mr. Hall stared at his shiny new 47 inch LCD TV, let his eyes drift to the mini camcorder still in Christmas wrap, then returned to reading the instructions for his new GPS device for the big black car. He sighed again. “I’ll take that for a happy thought”, said Mrs. H.
Indeed, the air about Penguin Hall has been very cheerful for the last week or so. The best way to launch anything, whether it be a steamship or an evening, is with a fine bottle of wine, and that was exactly the way the Halls began their Christmas Eve repast. Happily, the toast was graciously provided by Mistress Katie and Master Erick, who had come by to celebrate the nativity with Mr. H. and Co. They were exceptional good sports about the traditional Wigilia dinner, diving into the sauerkraut soup and pierogies like old hands, and pausing only to dare each other to brave the stewed prunes. By the time the plates were cleared and the cookies and fruit brought out, everyone was too stuffed to enjoy them. In many countries, it is still believed that whatever happens on Wigilia has an impact on the following year. If that is true, then the following 365 days hold the promise for much warmth, happiness and good cheer.
Despite the rain early Christmas Day, there was still sufficient snow cover to qualify for a white Christmas, and after another short visit, Mr. Hall wished his children a happy New Year and took Master Erick to the airport to see him off. The rest of the Hall’s residents embarked on a movie marathon for the remainder of the day, determined to bathe in large-scale LCD glory til their eyes bled. Then clutching their electronic tribbles and battery-driven dartguns to their fuzzy bathrobes, the children toddled off to dreamland once more. Merry Christmas to the Hall and to all, a Good Night!

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