For Verily, This Post Be Long

by pjmcbride

St Romuald

St Romuald (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

Isn’t everyone wondering what I’ve been up to lately? (No, everyone’s wondering why you go on vacation and haven’t managed to post yet, they grumble.) Well, I’m wondering who’s the 1 person who just read 28 posts. Obviously a procrastinator. I hope you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to keep caught up.


–You people know who you are. And then they breed and it gets even worse.

Rom wore his festive fool’s cap (you know, what the Joker wears in a deck of cards), and then had to explain the historical origins of the fool’s cap to his father. One got a strong sense of “Romuald’s going to stand up and tell the class what’s so funny.”


–The sirens’ song led men to crash their ships on the rocks, you know.

On Christmas Eve Eve (I think it was; I lose track of time on vacation) (by the way, I got Rom one of those day-of-the-week clocks as a retirement gift, and it’s proven useful to us both), I was singing “O Come All Ye Faithful” (in Latin, no less) as I walked back to the bus stop from Thornton’s. I thought I was safe in doing so, since I was the only pedestrian for miles around, and the motorists all had their windows up. I sure was surprised when a guy came up from behind me and passed me on the sidewalk. I must have been singing too loudly to hear him. Well, I wasn’t going to chicken out at that point, so I kept on singing. When I turned the corner, I glanced back and saw that he was looking around, no doubt wondering, Where did that beautiful music go? Or maybe it was like the way you feel when you stop banging your head.

But what does this have to do with Christmas Eve? they ask. Do you lose your sense of chronological order on vacation as well? Well, SHUT UP AND I’LL TELL YOU! You people are so demanding.

There was caroling at the Christmas Eve gathering, as is customary. (Not door-to-door, at the thought of which one shudders.) Rom’s 2-year-old grandchildren have heard people singing before. But when I added my voice to the chorus, you would think they had not, in fact, heard people singing before. They stared at me with saucer-like eyes, as if they had never heard the like. I’ve never heard a recording of me singing, but I’m guessing I sound a lot like Lou Reed, so perhaps that was the problem.

Over the Expressway and past the woods, back to my house we went (Rom and his grandson both being cranky by then) (usually I’m the first one to start whining about wanting to go home). I ended up playing catch with The Granddaughter. This was apparently unthinkable enough not only to be photographed for Facebook (Look! They’re playing together! Don’t make any sound or the big one will go hide in the bedroom again!), but, again, the child herself appeared to grasp that the situation was unprecedented, and regarded me with delighted surprise–for the next 500 tossings of the ball. My cat is more easily bored. A lot more easily bored, in fact. Esmerelda is on a Grail-quest for the Perfect Cat Toy, which will hold her attention for more than 2 days.

“BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED ON YOUR VACATION SO FAR?” Nick, so help me, stop nagging–not to mention boasting–or I will kick you next time. I mean it.

I got Rom and myself a couple of scratch-off lottery tickets for Christmas, as is customary. His was a dud, but I won $50. Now, the spirit of Christmas would dictate that I say, “Here, Creech, take mine instead,” but I’m not that good a Christian. So I went to Thornton’s today to cash it.

I got out of the bathroom (first things first) and went to get a soft drink (second things second), when what to my wondering eyes should appear but Old St. Nick himself, in uniform at long last, fully fitted out with implements, looking all lean and mean and like he considered himself to be a Very Big Deal Indeed. (Of course, the seeming cockiness just serves to conceal the yawning abyss of self-doubt, but we won’t speak of that.)

Now, normally I am always aware of the possibility of running into this beast on days when such a possibility exists. It’s just self-preservation, after all. But apparently visions of $50 were dancing through my head, so I was caught quite off-guard. I concealed it well, though, because bluffing in the presence of police officers is a job skill I learned very early.

As if an order had been given–COMMENCE WHINING!–he said, “Why didn’t Rom bake me Christmas cookies? He knew I was an invalid.” Well, ya know, one’s life decisions come with consequences. Mr. Big Shot chose to leave Dispatch (or did we overpower him and drag him out the door?). You have to work at Dispatch to get Rom’s baked goods, which are the best in existence. That’s just the way it is. Although perhaps, for certain monetary considerations, I might speak to him….

“If you want to kick him, I won’t say anything,” Nick’s fellow officer offered. I seriously entertained the prospect. I mean seriously. The temptation was great. But it would have caused him to lose the respect of onlookers (assuming he had their respect to begin with), so I let him be.

“I can’t give you a ride home tonight. How does that feel?” he said cheerily, as if he wanted to be kicked. I turned my back on him (trusting his fellow officer to restrain him from springing), and started for the bus stop.