Monday, March 22, 2010


Mrs. Hall pulled the last little bit of malted waffle out of the iron. Most of the inhabitants of Penguin Hall lay about the place, sated and sticky from breakfast and lapsing into that happy coma that comes from warm, fattening comfort food. "Who wants the last piece?'' she offered, but as there came no answer (at least, nothing intelligible), she ate it herself. Weekend mornings relaxing around the house have been few and far between recently; winter having taken an ugly turn as of late, the last four weekends the Halls have had to work straight through at the funeral home. So it was a pleasure to sit around and get caught up with each other again.
Ian managed to rouse himself sufficiently to string together a sentence or two. "They had a ceremony for me at the meeting last Wednesday. My sergeant gave a little speech and presented me with a certificate announcing my promotion and then told everyone to be sure and do whatever I told them to do. Then he pulled me aside and told me he could bust me out of Squad Leader just as quickly, and that I had better stay on my toes. It was great!" Ian has been working out vigorously with all his friends and has taken lately to showing off his ability to do Marine style pull-ups and bragging about being "totally ripped." "Look, Mom- I've got a 'six-pack' now!" he has been known to proclaim, usually accompanied with the gesture of lifting up his tee shirt to reveal his form; a motion absolutely guaranteed to make Mrs. Hall squirm. "You're not really buff," she'll tease; "Those are just drawn on." "That's the truth," said Colleen. "His 'Ab Master 2000' is really just a Sharpie."
Mistress Colleen can afford to be flip. Last week, while checking her mail, she received notice that she had been accepted into the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA. Thrilled to have her plans for moving to California in place, she has been dancing around the Hall (on those happy occasions when she comes home to check her mail, do her laundry, sponge a meal or two, etc...) and generally walking on air. Her goal is to hopefully secure an internship with the animation studio Pixar, and she has heard they pull a number of them from this school.
Worried about driving her little black car all the way across the country, Colleen asked Mr. Hall for some help planning her trip. There is not a lot that will stir Mr. H. on a lazy weekend morning, but like the smell of smoke to an old fire horse, the very mention of travel re-ignites his pilot spirit. Mr. H. jumped out of his recliner and pulling out his constant companion, the dog-eared giant Rand McNally, immediately set about penning a flight plan for her. Thus engaged, the two poured over the mileage charts and service directories happily, for the better part of the next few hours. Long enough at least, for Mrs. H. to clean the kitchen and set up a fresh pot of coffee. As she brought out a cup to Mr. H. she laid a plate of small butter cookies next to it. "I'm fairly certain Proust didn't write "À la recherche du temps perdu" sitting at his local Walmart, yet yesterday, I bought madeleines there. Proust must be whirling dervishly in his grave." Colleen rolled her eyes. "No one cares about that old stuff any more, Mom", she said between cookie bites. "You really have to get with the times."

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