Sunday, November 14, 2010

Flying by the seat of our (tuxedo) pants

Mrs. Hall arranged the penguin embroidered cocktail napkins on the bar. "Did you chill the champagne?" she asked Mr. Hall. He nodded from behind his paper. It was not out of line for Mrs. H. to be concerned; Penguin Hall was the site for the matron's appreciation brunch last Sunday and she wanted everything to be perfect for all the ladies and gentlemen. It had been the custom to hold these brunches at a nearby restaurant, but on a whim, the Halls had offered to have it at Penguin Hall this year and the matron was only too happy to agree. As Mrs. H. pointed out, it's always nicer to sit in front of the fire and not have to worry about waiters and servers shooing you out the door, and besides, Mr. Hall makes a fierce mimosa. The precedent for having the ladies over had been set a few years ago when, as matron and patron themselves, the Halls had hosted a holiday fĂȘte at the home. The upshot had been that they unleased their giddy guests into the village after imbibing a heady five pitchers of Mr. Hall's infamous mimosas, and those of whom could recall anything at all after that, swore they had enjoyed themselves immensely.
Several waffles, muffins and sausages and later, as the dishes were swept off and the embers smoldered away, the few remaining stalwarts wiped the residual maple syrup off their lips and eyed the swiss chocolates near the coffee. "I don't think I can move," slurred the matron. "That's quite alright," soothed Mrs. H. "You sit right there. I have no intention of doing anything in the realm of straightening up anyway, for another day or two ."

Mrs. Hall looked down the long row of stately buildings and apartments. James Street in Syracuse was probably the most historic and lovely of all the patrician boulevards left in the old town. As she sat waiting for the light to change, she remembered what Mr. Hall had said earlier, when she inquired where the Century Club was located; “Oh, you can’t miss it. It’s on the corner and it’s really old.” Looking forward, there didn’t appear to be any building under the age of a hundred on the entire block. She thought to herself, I’ll have to remember to tell him what a funny guy he is after lunch, if I ever get to it.
Rosie Taravella, one of the VPs over at WCNY, had invited several folks, along with the Halls, to brainstorm over lunch about their upcoming new event for New Year's eve. Mr. Burns was the chairman and he had kindly offered to host the luncheon at his club. Mr. Hall had an earlier funeral to cover but was able to join them just as the menus were being passed. While the sun was shining brightly and the air was an unseasonably warm 58 degrees, it was generally agreed that you can never start planning for the holidays too soon. The fresh popovers arrived and the ox-tail soup was delightful; they kicked around some advertising tie-ins and promotional strategies for the event and then the little band called it a day. "All in all, a lovely way to run a meeting," said Mrs. Hall, and Mr. Hall had to agree. "Now, all I have to do is find a dress for New Year's eve!" and Mr. Hall shook his head, as they slid back into the big black car.

"Do you think they will ask me to speak?" worried Mrs. Hall aloud, as she nervously snuck a fry out of its holder. "Oh, I'd lay fairly long odds on that," replied Mr. H. "Judging by the size of the field at the last event, you're relatively safe. It'll only be when we get down to some of the local official visits, that you'll have to worry about folks nodding off when you approach the podium." Braced up a bit by that little review, Mrs. Hall finished her salad. The big black car had scarcely had time for a quick checklist and a wash between flights; no sooner had they slid into the hanger, than they were programming in another destination into the GPS. Because of their hectic schedule, they were frequently observed shopping or dining, especially in fast food joints, in their formals. "Remember the pizza place in Jordan?" giggled Mrs. H. over her soda. "The policemen who walked in were placing bets on how long it would take me to spill something on my white dress." "You beat them all, too- I remember," said Mr. H. "Though how you managed to slurp that blue Icee down I'll never know! Finish your coffee- there's a car dealership along this route I want to check out- they were advertising some new Cadillacs and I think we could slip in a drive-through without being noticed, before the meeting." Mrs. Hall jotted down some ideas on the paper napkin and popped it in her purse. She pulled on the long black gloves and wrapped her stole around her shoulders. "Just think, dear- in just ten short months or so, this will all be over!" Mr. Hall, duly noting that she probably wasn't safe to be out alone, confined his comments to himself and started up the engine.

No comments:

Tell your friends!