Wednesday, July 29, 2009

(H)all in a day's work

The big black car had been getting quite a work out lately, and when Mr. Hall remarked that he was noticing a little wobble in the old girl when he put the flaps down, Mrs. H. knew it was time for John's Auto Care to check the brakes. Leaving her in John's capable hands, Mr. H. sighed, patted the bonnet fondly and, going to the funeral home hanger, pulled out an absolutely identical big black car and taxiied it to the door. "Hop in- we have to go to Oswego to file a death certificate."
The weather in central New York can be tempermental, but it was a beautiful ride into town, that is until they noticed there wasn't a parking spot to be had in the entire village. "Oh no- Harborfest!", cried Mr. Hall- the one day of the year when everyone comes out. Dodging street vendors and wandering minstrals, they managed to work their way up to City Hall, file and leave, in just under two hours.
When their day was finally done, it was time to change togs and head on out to the Spinning Wheel, in north Syracuse, for the Annual Funeral Director's Clambake Funfest! The clambake is sponsored by the Onondaga Oswego Funeral Directors Association (acronymically known as "OOFDA"), for whom Mr. Hall was president last year. Unfortunately, the economic turndown was evident even at the fest; the prizes and raffles represented leaner times and when the buffets begin to feature not fancy cassaroles, but hot dogs, hamburger and liver with onions and bacon, even the most casual viewer gets the picture that things are not as lively as they used to be. Refusing to be daunted, Mrs. Hall headed straight for the raw bar. "The clams may have been sandy and the mussels dry, but they always have the sweetest, most delectable oysters in town," she proclaimed; and that must have been the case, for Mrs. H. could be seen, slurping with the best of them, for well over a half hour. It was only the gentle insistance of Mr. H. (and the wiping of the last bit of horseradish from the saucer) that persuaded her to move on and leave some oysters for the others. Bon vivant and famous man-about-Marcellus Hugh Norris pulled honors again this year as emcee for the raffle portion of the program, and as everyone knows "Honest Huey" as he is called, would never allow his personal favoritism to interfer with the execution of his job- though it did come into question after Mrs. H. won several nice prizes three years running.
As the twilight began to creep in and the little pockets of partygoers could be distinguished by the glow of their cigars, the Halls bade their farewells and headed back. It was only the work of ten minutes or so to pick their big black car out of the sea of black vehicles in the parking lot ("No, not that one either, dear," Mr. Hall patiently explained....) and full of seafood and fresh gossip, they flew on home.

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