It is dull, cold and drizzly outside. It is not a good day to end a four-day Thanksgiving weekend. But the Thanksgiving meal itself was good this year: Turkey, dressing with gravy, mashed potatoes with butter, and corn.
The day after that I put up my XMas tree. It is a plastic pine tree, only a meter tall, but it fits on a table in front of my living room window. I draped it with a rope of silver tensil, some silver ornament balls, and a silver star — all plastic. No, the plastic tree is not a real one; but I have nowhere to put a real XMas tree, and my cat (any cat, for that matter) would climb a real tree and knock ornaments off. Anyway, I am impressed with my humble XMas tree.
My XMas gift shopping is complete, much to the distress of whoever hears me say this. Really, though, I started early this month. The gifts (except for one relative, whose gift is on its way from Amazon) are now wrapped and labeled. I even got a gift for exchange at the annual meeting of the Fairmount Library Friends this coming Saturday.
As if in irony to all this, this Sunday’s Cathy comic strip expresses this very event. Cathy is all ready — for the XMas shopping craze, while her hubby is already — done! Cathy did not take that well: The next moment, he’s in a shipping box, she is calling to have him shipped to a different ZIP code for the rest of the year.
My rummaging for ideas on who to give whom compelled me on this past Saturday to do something that I ought to have done for some time. That needed task was to clean up the upper room, which has books, optical disks, and papers all about. In the end I did clean out my file cabinet by shredding all my pre-2009 bills, as well as clean off a table, which I then set up as a writing desk. But the room itself needs a lot more work. I have papers, momentos and assorted junk of the past 40+ years that I need to sort through.
Where did the compulsion come from? I was looking for the May 2009 issue of Consumer Reports because it had ratings on food processors. I could not find it in the end. The local library, where I went to have a document laminated, did not have it, either. In the end I dropped the idea on being told that the intended recipient is up to his nose in food processors.
I have mentioned the hen and duck in my last entry. Back in the end of July my sister the editor wrote about the hen. While the bird belonged to my folks’ next-door neighbors, but it likedthe bush under the folks’ family room window a lot better than its own coop. What my sister did not mention, because nobody knew at the time, was that the hen was using a hidden niche under that same window to lay her eggs.
How the discovery came about:
Next-door neighbor was informed of hen’s productivity and given the eggs. Their hen, their eggs. Of course, given that it was summer, the eggs were no good.
Since then, the hen had vanished in the choas of the village festival, Museum Days. The folks’ neighbors have replaced her with another hen — much larger, darker colored, and not as friendly.
The hen came with a mallard duck, whom everyone calls Timmy. Like the hens Timmy walks about the neighborhood, hides in bushes, digs for bugs and seeds with its bill, and takes juicy white dumps on the sidewalks.
The duck seems to like me a great deal, probably because I provide it with clean water for it to drink and to clean its bill. It even lets me pet its feathers sometimes.
Yes, I have petted a duck.
And yet, I have to be careful when I walk in the folks’ yard, so that I do not step on the duck. The duck has a habit of waddling in front of me, pecking at my shoes and pants legs, and even sitting on my foot.
I am a little concerned about their fate, especially the duck’s. Mallards are supposed to migrate south for the winter; but Timmy is too domesticated to know to do that. I do not know whether either can survive the winter.