Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Penguin Hall-day Classic

The week before Christmas was just a blur around the Hall. Mr. and Mrs. Hall spent most of their time at the airport, ferrying in the kids as they arrived, amidst warnings of more snow and storms. The weather gods, in a uncharacteristically merciful act of benevolence, spared upstate New York from its fury and planes flying to and from Syracuse Hancock International proceeded unimpeded.

Some of the younger set had spent most of their day in transport, so that upon arrival at the Hall, they were so exhausted that even relaxing in front of a video game was too taxing for their little systems and they succumbed to Morpheus in sito. Mistress Colleen hit the social ground running, and between catching an Eastern Star meeting or two with Mrs. Hall, and sledding down the Westvale reservoir with her friends, she managed to make good use of the holiday time.

Mr. and Mrs. Hall continued the usual string of Christmas parties at this time; work had prevented them from attending the Batesville Casket Company's shindig at the old IBM country club down in Endwell this year, but they managed to find time for the holiday blowout at John's Auto Care in Solvay. Once again nestled cozily under the car parts and the hoists, John along with his lovely wife Betty, invited family and friends to raise a glass and toast the new year. Brake fluid and barbecue sauce shared workbench space together and the bar held court under the ceramirub and the WD-40; good times and fellowship flourished everywhere and the Halls were only too happy to be included in their feast.

Because they had come in so late, there was a lot of last minute scrabbling for presents. Colleen displayed a remarkable talent for wrapping, wowing the crowds with her show-stopping bow made entirely of duct tape, for one of Ian's friends. Finally, after all the hurry and scurry was done, the clan sat down for a peaceful Christmas eve dinner. With the carols playing in the background and the video fireplace on the large flat screen TV, the Halls were able to bask in the joy of family fun and camaraderie. They descended on the presents under the tree, pausing only make notes for future thank yous and to take turns shooting each other with nerf guns.
The snow had stopped blowing and the night was bright and clear. Masters Chris and Ian dutifully pressed their uniforms and dressed for midnight mass. The sight of the two young men holding the huge doors of the Basilica open for their sister was more than Mrs. Hall could bear, and she wiped a tear. Choir and carols, trumpets and the Hallelujah Chorus; the Knights of Columbus ushered in the monseigneur and the nativity and for a few hours in December it seemed like it was heaven on earth.

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