Saturday, December 11, 2010

Zero to Christmas in 36 hours

December 1st had seen 62 degree temperatures and even though the high winds and heavy rains were enough to prompt the locals to jokingly remark that the “monsoon season” was upon them, the weather was still so mild, it made getting into the spirit of Christmas shopping seem like a bit of a stretch. Inevitably, though, the weather gods roused themselves, checked the calendar and realized that whomever was supposed to be in charge of snow in the region had been seriously slacking. In his haste to make up the difference, the new guy apparently (isn’t always him?) simply pushed the “heavy precip” button a couple of extra times and went back to partying with Thor. The winter weather mechanisms thus set in place, it began to storm and blow like there was no tomorrow. It was precisely during this time that Mr. Hall had brilliantly scheduled the upstairs windows to be replaced.
As Mrs. Hall worked on cookies downstairs in the warm kitchen, she could hear a series of hard poundings on the east wall, and a string of several unprintable expressions. Looking out, a frigid workman could be seen, poking his head through the hole in the wall beneath a disturbingly menacing cage of icicles. In an effort to soothe, Mrs. Hall had brought him up a plate of fresh baked and a hot cup o’ joe, and casually remarked on how brave she thought he was. The only reply this managed to elicit was a gruff “I hope yer happy; there’s a snow drift in yer room now.”
Two days and forty three inches of snow later, the inhabitants of Penguin Hall looked out of their new sparkling, double hung windows, at a sea of white. Perusing the canyons that were now their streets, Mr. Hall wondered if it was worth it at all to hazard the city thoroughfares. “But we have to-” gasped Mrs. H. “Jimmie from the Mazda dealership just called!” She was already pulling on her heavy coat and boots. “He finally found me one!”
Regular readers of the Monitor might recall that Mrs. Hall had frequently and ardently professed in the past, a certain weakness for small shiny overpowered sports cars. Mr. Hall always told her that when the children had moved on and the need for that ever popular Conestoga Of The Suburbs, the Dodge Caravan, had passed, he would indulge her passion. That time had finally come. The gentleman from the dealership admitted he had been unable to track down her first choice of a Galaxy Grey convertible; but if she was agreeable, perhaps Mrs. H. would be interested in checking out what he had been able to procure. Agreeable was hardly the word for it; when Mrs. Hall laid eyes on the rich bottle-green color of the power retractable hardtop and the tan English saddle leather seats inside, she emitted a such a sigh of complete and succulent rapture, she could have been mistaken for Mr. Toad. The salesman fairly purred at Mr. Hall and asked him to his office to work out the details of the sale. How Mr. H. managed to finagle a bargain out of him after that, remains a mystery, but the Gentle Reader can rest assured, that both Mr. and Mrs. Hall left the dealership that afternoon, pleased with their purchase. They drove it gingerly home, placed it in the garage, covered it with a soft cloth and Mrs. Hall was last seen telling it a bedtime story lovingly before shutting off the lights.

The jazz music played softly in the background. Mr. and Mrs. Hall sidled up to the bar at Daniels Friday as Stefanie brought over his usual Manhattan. “Something light today, Stef,” remarked Mrs. H. “We just came from the cocktail party over at the Crematory and with all the festivities going on this week, I don’t want to fill up.” Stefanie understood and brought her an inoffensive little red wine. Dan’s wife, the lovely Deana, came over and wished them both a happy holidays. “Is that all you’re going to do to decorate the bar?” she turned and admonished Stefanie. (They had had words before.) “A few silver snowflakes? I can hardly see them.” Stefanie was adamant. “It’s supposed to be elegant and subtle- you don’t want Christmas to throw up all over you.” The holiday season having truly begun, Mrs. Hall turned to Mr. Hall and, clinking her glass against his, said she believed she was ready to order now.

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