Thursday, February 26, 2009

Congratulations Airman Chris!

The risers were packed. Every available patch of grass around the presentation grounds was taken. Flags snapped in the warm breeze and little children twitched as the families waited almost patiently for their sons and daughters in blue to arrive.
And then, finally-the sergeant barked, the band played and over 600 freshly pressed, shined and primed brand spanking new airmen of the US Air Force marched in procession onto the field. Mr. Hall stood to see and Mrs. H. wiped a tear; Colleen and Ian cheered like mad.
The Halls had arrived much earlier that morning for the Airman's Run, so they could shout their support as the men and women ran by in formation. It had been overcast and breezy then; but by 1:30 pm the sky had cleared up, and the 80 degree weather was baking the crowd and graduates alike. As soon as the airmen received their ceremonial coins, they were dispersed and the families mobbed the field. There was mass hugging and weeping for the better part of the next hour.
Mr. and Mrs. Hall took Chris out to lunch at Smokin' Joe's BBQ (right on base) but it was a wonder any food managed to get into any of them; the talking, laughing and sharing stories went on at a breakneck pace for the whole afternoon.
Tomorrow: Graduation Parade at 9:00 am, then Squadron Open House. Stay tuned for the latest updates!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's snow fun

I'm beginning to get a little tired of this, said Mr. H. as he turned down the sound on the television. The weather seers had been perusing their thesauruses for yet another adjective for snow- it was only halfway through February and they had already burned through their entire allotment of positive descriptive phrases- and now were just gesturing towards the map of central New York and shaking their heads disgustedly. That accursed rodent in PA needs to see an ophthalmologist, muttered Mr. Hall.
Mrs. H. was used to these periodic spells and, after disappearing into the kitchen, reappeared holding two glistening glasses. More disturbed by the weather casters' choice of tie than she is by the forecast, she is often overheard saying given that there is relatively little difference from one day to the other in February's weather, you'd think they could slip out and pick up something a little less garish. This will make you feel better about the weekend, she said, or at the very least, feel less of anything.
Mr. H. is very particular about his martinis; chilled Tanqueray, just a suggestion of vermouth, and the requisite three olives. When the martini moment takes over Mr. Hall, Mrs. H.'s companion to that is her own invention: The Foggy Monocle. Instead of the olives, Mrs. Hall rubs the rim of the glass with a key lime slice and then drops it into the martini. (ed. note: If on their next shopping spree, the Gentle Reader happens upon a bag of key limes at the local market, they have only to slice them thinly into coins, lay them on a cookie sheet in the freezer til they freeze solid, and then bag them up for future use.) Mr. Hall once remarked that freezing the limes made them cloudy; why not just call it The Cataract, he quipped. Mrs. H. has had to remind him before not to be bitter just because of the weather.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

February fun

Coming out of the underpass Wednesday afternoon on their way back to the funeral home, Mrs. H. remarked how heavy the fog was on that side. You’re always told it’s different on the other side of the tracks, she said, but she had never looked at it quite that way before. Warmer than usual weather was making short work of all the snow left lying carelessly about and shreds of fog were draped across the road at every turn. The trouble with spring, said Mr. Hall, was that it left you no choice. Too rainy to indulge in outdoor sports, and so morose that any indoor introspection became a dangerous invitation to depression; the weather left folks with but one option: costly wanton diversion.

The auto show had been a disappointment this year- a sad showing of trucks, a paltry sprinkling of sport cars and very little in the way of inspired luxury vehicles. No classic cars, no concept cars and worse of all- no Miatas! Mrs. Hall was on the verge of requesting a refund when Mr. H. reminded her that Valentine’s Day was just around the corner and all the city’s restaurants were hers to choose- just name it and the reservations were as good as made. Reviews of the sushi hibachi restaurant TokyoSeoul had been favorable lately, so it was but the work of a minute to secure a table- at 5:00 pm. Isn’t that a bit early, Mrs. H. remarked. Not if we want to make the hockey game, said Mr. H, and he gently reminded her that the Grand Rapids Griffins were up against the Syracuse Crunch Saturday- they had been planning to cheer his home team on. Mrs. H. beamed at Mr. H. a look of pure succulent desire; nothing says loving more than an evening of raw fish and blood on the ice, and she had to admit it; she was one lucky girl.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Waiting Not So Patiently for Spring

While Killer waits and dreams of warmer days chasing vermin of various proportions and sleeping in the sun, Mr. and Mrs. Hall continue to wage their daily battle against the elements, in an attempt at making their appointed rounds.
“Shall we go in our street togs or slip into fancier dress?” asked Mrs. H. Invitations are often unclear these days and it’s hard to tell what’s appropriate sometimes. “Whatever you think is called for”, came the reply; but try as she might, Mrs. H. could simply not recall what was the proper etiquette required for Grand Openings of Warehouses, including especially Casket Warehouses in Obscure Neighborhoods. Given that it was nearly zero by the time they left work, with the promise of further precipitous drops in temperature and/or wind chills- they opted for business attire. Batesville enjoys a prominent position in the world of funeral merchandise and their affairs usually reflect a stature and confidence secure in that knowledge. The opening of their new warehouse, however, was slightly less glamorous, so the Halls stayed just long enough to familiarize themselves with the new products, comment on the state of the industry and acquire yet another set of coffee mugs and magnets. “Alvord House?” suggested Mr. H, but it was hard to tell whether Mrs. Hall was shaking in accordance or just shivering furiously.
The Alvord House was busy as usual- the locals used to say you can heave a brick in any direction and hit at least five people you know there on any given night, but they have recently taken to discouraging that practice- and it wasn’t long before the Halls were seated next to acquaintances of theirs; Mr. and Mrs. Powers and a number of the little Powers. The Powers immediately bemoaned the fact that Christopher was in basic training now and not at their beck and call; Mr. Powers was a regular customer of “Rx Machina” (Chris’ computer repair service) and the prospect of facing the future sans Chris as his safety net was leaving him not a little shaken. Mrs. Hall said she truly sympathized, having lost Chris’ computer savvy as well, but suggested they will have to learn to move from being the Technical Powers to just the Powers That Be.
Last weekend, after turning out the lights, filing the last DC and, pointing the big black car westward, the Halls dashed on over in time for their favorite Superbowl venue: Digger’s bar. Mrs. Hall had snarfed up enough 3-D glasses, available at various local grocery stores, for most of the crowd and after separating them on the perforations, handed them out. It was a good thing, too; one: because the 3-D adverts were a big hit this year, and two: because Digger had just purchased a large HDTV for the family room and the computer-enhanced commercials were the perfect way to display its HD prowess. The Monitor is happy to report that after so many years of donating to Digger’s coffers, Mrs. H. finally managed to reap something on the happy side of the ledger, and came home fifty dollars richer for the football boards this year. Having eaten horseradish laden deviled eggs til their eyes watered, the Halls shook hands all around, hugged the host and took their winnings to retire home.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Why didn't we think of this?

Those happy-go-lucky pranksters in Austin TX came up with what would have been the perfect promo for our Halloween party last fall (See "Survey says- Fallout Party was epic!"). In a recent article from the Lone Star state, apparently local citizenry, frustrated in their daily commute, decided to give the drivers an excuse to bail at the nearest exit.

The Monitor would like to go on record that they applaud such innovation in the area of traffic management, and also appreciate the fact that not only did the perpetrators admit to such tomfoolery on a hackers website, but they thoughtfully included the instructions for replicating the prank, so novices in other venues might take up the task as well.

Jack of (our) Hearts

The Pranitis clan rallied last Saturday night in Chenango Bridge, to shed a tear and raise a shot glass to mourn the loss of one so dear to them all. John E. Pranitis, known far and wide to all and sundry as “Jack”, passed away after fighting a long battle with cancer.
Jack’s regular family was already large by most standards, but his extended and adopted family seemed to include most of the Southern Tier and considerable outlying areas. The funeral home was standing room only. The reception at the American Legion in Endicott was a lively affair as well; but it was the group that gathered in the family home afterwards which really exemplified the spirit of the man.

The laws of physics seemed not to apply there; from the outside, it was just a home like any other in that working class neighborhood- but inside, the rooms stretched and expanded, somehow managing to hold two and three times the amount of humanity that should have reasonably been able to fit. And it was apropos that his home should be like that- for Jack’s heart was much the same; infinitely large and able to encompass and enchant, cajole and inspire all with whom he came in contact.

With heavy hearts and cracking voices, we say, “Good bye Jack; God be with you”; though, for Jack, it had always been so.

Tell your friends!