13 November 2005

Christmas, Cloudy Days, and Other Wanderings

James had to work today, so I was on my own. I had to do the usual fetching-some-milk (and a newspaper) errand. I noticed that they have restocked the Christmas tree that we liked at BJ's. This is a seven-foot-high artificial Frasier fir (basically a larger version of the tree we have now). They were out last week, but they have more. It's a consideration...

It was what would have been a typical dreary November day, cloudy and with a bit of a breeze, in New England had it not had a Southern overtone and been so warm, about 20°F higher than your typical gloomy pre-Thanksgiving day, the kind that always makes me think of the exchange from Little Women:
"November is the most disagreeable month in the whole year," said Margaret, standing at the window one dull afternoon, looking out at the frost-bitten garden.

"That's the reason I was born in it," observed Jo, pensively, quite unconscious of the blot on her nose.

"If something very pleasant should happen now, we should think it a delightful month," said Beth, who took a hopeful view of everything, even November.
Beth's words about pleasant things were particular appropo since I cheered up a bit when I arrived at Town Center Mall (especially after I found a good parking space). I guess I'm like many women that going shopping is a happy activity (rather than an ordeal that fills men with gloom), although unlike many women I hate shopping for clothes or shoes. (Talk about something positively gloomy.) It was energizing to walk through the bright and lively movement, although avoiding the strollers made it a bit dodgy.

I went to Hallmark for their Holiday Open House; not much of a "do" except for having some treats out, but they had peppermint bark, which is too good for words: a layer of dark chocolate topped with a thin layer of white chocolate, studded with broken peppermint candy cane bits. Mint and chocolate and crunch all in a sweet mouthful. Then I strolled to Waldenbooks and back. Even though it is not Thanksgiving yet, Christmas shopping is already going full steam and kids are queued up to see Santa Claus. It still always surprises me that Santa arrives so early in the Georgia malls. To me he's out of place (or perhaps that's out of time).

Also went to Media Play since it was triple points day and hit a bonanza: I saw a book on sale that I had really loved reading last year and quickly snatched it up for my friend Sherrye. Plus while wandering about the used CDs I blinked: they had something called "Smooth Yule" (cool jazz arrangements by folks like Kitaro, Kevin Eubanks, and Kenny G) for only 50¢. Remainder perhaps, but I played it for the rest of the afternoon and it quite fit my mood, a bit mellow and a bit melancholy all at the same time. There had been a break in the clouds about that time, but it clouded up again, and although it was only 3:30, the world had a twilight feel. Cars had their headlights on and you could see lights in the windows of homes glowing as if it was going on toward sunset.

I headed down John Ward Road to pick up something for supper and was about to pass by one of the housing developments popping up everywhere; this one is the usual upscale version, Ellis Farms, starting at the mid-400s. I had spotted the style of the homes from the street and just had to turn in, and was further enchanted while driving around: had I money to be totally, insensibly insane with, here's where I would buy a house. They resemble those wonderful country homes you see in old English dramas, with a fieldstone front, rustic looking shutters, and double garage doors that look like the original ones that opened like stable doors. While they are not huge, they are sizable homes, and the air is so old-fashioned that I want to walk in one and make sure there is one dark-paneled room full of bookshelves stuffed with leather-spined volumes and furnish the place with solid old leather chairs, claw-footed tables, and hunting prints on the wall. (I didn't stop at the show home; I wanted to imagine that the theme continued inside, with solid mahogany-reproduction doors, transoms, china doorknobs and the like. Imagination is probably better in this case!)

Oh, and then I want to dress them out for Christmas, with lots of evergreens garlands and swags and red velvet bows, kissing balls and "mistletoes," cornucopias and kugels and Dresdens on the tree. In that dusky light, the houses looked so perfect for decorations of green wreaths and scarlet bows and single white candles in the windows that they could almost be a movie set, just waiting for the snow machine to begin, or even a misty dream like Brigadoon.

It was a cheering way to end a day out.

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