Monday, April 5, 2010

Eggistential experience

"I think we should have this and this and this, and definitely, this!" said Mrs. Hall, as she loaded up the shopping cart at Target. The aisles full of Easter goodies are just too tempting at this time of the year, and it was all Mr. Hall could do to restrain her from purchasing more; especially that huge fuzzy lamb that was watching her with soulful eyes from the second shelf of the stuffed animals. The weekend before Holy Week was the perfect time to swoop down and make the most of retailing paranoia; shopkeepers fearing large leftovers traditionally reduce just ahead of the holiday, though shoppers that wait that long frequently miss the variety of goods the early birds enjoy. The sporting blood in Mrs. H. races at the thought of a well timed bargain, and to that end, she studies the daily flyers like a handicapper.
With the purchase of some brightly colored Easter grass, the shopping was complete and the Halls headed home. Mrs. Hall divided the boodle into three equitable piles and hid away two of them. The third, along with some hearty cookies that could survive the trip and a few token surprizes, was packed in a sturdy mailer and sent off to Master Chris in Montgomery, Al.
Holy Saturday rolled around, and with all the mayhem at work, Mrs. Hall realized she hadn't purchased any egg coloring. "I just want six or so lousy coloring tablets; what could possibly be in this little box that costs $1.99?" Mr. Hall had long ago realized that shopping with Mrs. Hall was not so much an afternoon of casual conversation but, in reality, a couple of hours of frustrated rhetorical vitriol. Colleen had come in Friday evening late, and was staying the weekend. By the time the big black car rolled back into the hanger, she and Ian were just getting up.

If there's one thing that's common knowledge around the Hall, it's that you're never too old to:
1) Wear funny clothes,
2) Carve pumpkins, or any other readily available vegetable, or
3) Color Easter eggs.
The eggs were still warm from hard cooking when the kids set upon their task. And they were just rolling up the technicolor newspapers left underneath when Mrs. H. brought out the gumdrops. "I'll do the egg tree if you make the bunnies," she said, and the race was on. By Saturday evening, the Hall was awash in Eastery influence.
Sunday morning was a lovely bright day, and Mrs. Hall rose early. After a quick cup o'joe, she thought she'd better get the younger set up and moving if they were going to stay on schedule. Ian and Colleen came bounding downstairs, and Master Ian managed to locate his basket in something short of about 45 seconds. "That bunny's getting a little tired, I think," remarked Ian thickly through some marshmallow eggs, but as Colleen was still hunting around, Mrs. H. just continued to read her paper and said, "We'll see."
Half an hour later, Mrs. Hall suggested it might be nice if Ian gave Colleen a hand; that perhaps together the two of them might be able to find the remaining basket. Ian whispered, "I found it already earlier- I just didn't want to give it away." Eventually Colleen stumbled upon the treasure and proceeded to make up lost time eating.
The afternoon shadows were pleasant and warm, but the prevailing wish at the Hall was for an action film, so they dragged out the tape player ("Does anyone know where I put my head cleaning tape?"), and dusting off an old VHS copy of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", they hooked up the player to their flat screen Dumont, closed the curtains and popped up enough popcorn to feed most of Marcellus.
Later that evening, after wiping the sticky orange glaze residue from their mouths, Mr. Hall was the first to praise the Easter ham and say that, though he regretted the omission of asparagus this year, the choice of fresh green beans, handpicked by Mrs. Hall was an admirable one and that all was going to be well, after all. Mrs. Hall, still amazed that the children were able to sit still for an entire movie, given the ample amounts of sugar they had consumed earlier, had put out just a simple plate of homemade pie crust cookies (her favorite) for dessert. For the Gentle Reader's viewing pleasure: a perfectly awful video of part of the egg cracking contest (shot by Mistress Colleen, whom one can only hope that her forays into animation will be more skillful than her attempts with a camera) can be viewed on the sidebar of this blog.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When Good is not good enough

Mr. and Mrs. Hall were driving in to Syracuse, when Mrs. Hall's cellphone rang. "Mom, where are you? I thought you were going to be here by now! The line is out the door and the news trucks are setting up remote feeds all over." "Get in and get us a table," said Mrs. Hall; then she turned to Mr. Hall and said, "Better kick in the afterburners, dear- it looks like there's a crowd."

By the time they arrived at Doc's Little Gem Diner, Master Ian and a friend of his were nearly up to the door in the line, and just as they were sizing up the situation, Mistress Colleen and several of her friends arrived, too. "I had to explain to them where I was going, and they wanted to come."
Inside, the diners showed very little desire to move; no one wanted to leave as it drew nearer to 10:00 pm- the time posted last week on the menu board. The place that still had neon lights proclaiming "We Never Close" was finally fixing dinner for one last time. There must have been almost a hundred people or more, trying to cram into a diner meant to hold at most, fifty; some were peeking in the windows, others waited shortly, then when they realized they weren't going to be able to get in, ended up just milling about in the parking lot, wiping their eyes. Master Ian came through, and soon the Halls were seated in the corner booth. Colleen and her friends at one point tried to squeeze in along side the table, but there was just no more room. They opted to watch from an outside vantage point.
The press had made several appearances earlier in the day for heartfelt interviews with Doc and his cronies, and the wait staff at a few times seemed on the verge of breaking down as they struggled to serve the patrons whom they had come to know almost as family.
Mr. Hall tried to order a chocolate milkshake; no good- they were out of chocolate. A bowl of ice cream? Nope, all out of ice cream. He settled for a cup o' decaf, but the boys ate some cheeseburgers in record time and managed to down two glasses of drinks as well. Ah, youth, remarked Mrs. H. as she rubbernecked around the room; reporters from a couple of the local stations were interviewing people behind them as they ate. Mrs. Hall was interviewed in the parking lot by a SU student working on a media project. It was ironically clear; Doc's Little Gem was garnering more attention closing than he had while trying to make a living.
As they finished eating around 10:15 pm, it was evident things were winding down. Mr. Hall paid his final tab, and said good bye to the staff. Mrs. H. went over to Doc to shake his hand and in his usual fashion, he took her hand and kissed it. Waving farewell to the fellow diners straggling slowly out of the door, one question was on everyone's mind: Where will we go now?
The Monitor will keep its readers posted when or if Doc makes another Syracuse appearance. Until then, stay tuned.

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