Saturday, April 16, 2011

April is a taxing month

“I don’t know why the Grand Matron insisted on all of us wearing white shoes. It’s impossible to find any this time of the year. And wearing them before Easter-… well, I mean, really!” Mrs. Hall was fretting over dressing again. Every weekend had been taken up with traveling to meetings and the Halls had begun to realize their lives were not their own. “I’ve worn through my last two pairs- we have to find another pair of white shoes before Friday.” Mr. Hall shook his head- that tone of voice could only mean one thing; a trip to the mall was imminent. For the most part, Mrs. Hall could always be trusted to purchase consistently conservative wear, but when it came to shoes- all bets were off. Something in her brain seemed to short circuit- there were times when her whimsy got so much the better of her, Mr. H. was scarcely sure he knew her. After fruitlessly blazing a path through every shoe store they could find, Mrs. H. was nearly distraught. An inspiration came to her and she dashed into a store for teen prom dresses. Mr. Hall saw her do a little dance. “I’ve got them!” she cried, “and I may just take the pink ones, too.” A horrified look crossed Mr. Hall’s face. She must have caught a glimpse of it; she reluctantly replaced the pink pumps on the shelf, but insisted on taking the white patent leathers. “I may not have any control over the dresses,” she said, “but no one can stop me from wearing these shoes.” The Shrine Circus was in town again. After taking care of business at work, the Halls had hoped to hop over to the fairgrounds and catch the 2:30 pm show, but the fates, and local traffic, were apparently against them. Finally parking somewhere around the perimeter of the fairgrounds, they waited for the shuttle to ferry them to the Coliseum, nearly a mile away. The weather was unseasonably warm and apparently everyone decided to do the same thing at the last minute; when the Halls arrived at the doors, the house was turning folks away. Mr. Hall greeted the gentleman in a fez at the door, and shook his hand; he showed him his complimentary pass and the gentleman hurried him through the turnstile into the stands. “If you let the potentate know you’re here, I’m sure he’d want you in his box” said the gentleman. Mr. Hall waved him off- “Thanks for the offer- but I see some seats right up there.” Mrs. Hall was tugging at his sleeve- the tigers were already performing. “Let’s go get some hot dogs!” he said. The circus was particularly good this year and it was a joy to see the seats groaning with happy families enjoying the show. Mrs. H. recognized the albino boa that was being handed around for photo ops as one she had held before, allowing Mr. Hall a sigh of relief. The big finale was a terrific elephant performance, and it would have been fun to stay and see the whole thing again, but the Halls had more meetings to make that day, so they walked the long way back to the car and raced on home. Last weekend, several of their visits were scheduled around the Albany district. The forecast was so inviting, Mr. Hall made a suggestion. “Pack lightly my dear- I think we should take Winston out for a spin!” Mrs. Hall was thrilled. Despite the fact that Winston was a 6-speed standard and Mrs. H’s high school driver’s education had been woefully inadequate in that regard, she had been making significant strides in her driving. Nevertheless, Mr. Hall enjoyed piloting the newest member of their fleet himself, and not a few times Mrs. Hall had caught him zipping along somewhat faster than the recommended posted speed. The last meeting that weekend was in Saratoga. The racing devotees that populate the area are notoriously fond of not only fast horses, but sleek and sporty wheels as well, and it was a true joy to put the top down and join the other sports cars on Main Street. Having an hour or so before they had to get ready, the Halls walked down to their favorite diner for lunch. They were on their way to a wonderful milliner’s shop in town where Mrs. Hall was determined to look for a straw boater for Mr. Hall, when they passed by a tack shop window and something caught Mrs. Hall’s attention. For a second, a glazed look came over her, and her left eye twitched ever so slightly. As in a dream, she began to step inside when Mr. Hall caught her arm and shook his head “no.” “You would regret it in the morning,” he advised, even as she looked back longingly at the zebra striped vinyl cowboy boots calling to her from the shop. “I know for a fact I would,” and he slid her into the diner for lunch. The clouds came in that afternoon during their meeting, and by the time they wearily packed for home, the cold winds were reminding them it was still only April. The Halls slid themselves back into Winston, and in a jiffy he had them home and safe in the hanger again.


Unknown said...

I'd love to see you in those "pink" heels! I see you in a sassy pair of jeans and a bright pink cardigan sweater set to match or even a subdued top with the shoes that just "pop"!, I wonder if I'm right?! Inquiring minds want to know...?

Penguin Hall said...

(Editor's note: Though Mr. Hall had earlier nixed the vivid pink pumps- the editorial staff has it on good authority that Mrs. Hall intends to slip on over to the mall later this week and see if they are still there. And, on a side note- the staff thinks your ideas of a coordinating outfit are spot on and terrific!!)

Tell your friends!