And so it finally came to pass that the little hamlet must be demolished in the name of Progress.
Before anyone rises up in a spasm of indignation at the outrageous abuse of Eminent Domain, I should point out that I am speaking of the Christmas Village which, until a few hours ago, dwelt in the oddly-shaped formal living and dining room at the front of my house. No one of any importance actually lived there, aside from miniature porcelain people who contributed nothing to society, frozen as they were in unproductive poses.
Naturally, your next reaction will most likely be along the lines of: “Wait a minute. It’s February 17th. Why the hell is there still a Christmas Village in your domicile? This reeks of irresponsibility and subterfuge. My reputation has been sullied by association with such a heathen.” (Okay, perhaps some of you didn’t go that far with your inner monologue, but I’m sure a few of you did, and I’m just trying to be inclusive here at Bonnywood. We love all opinions, even if we don’t agree with them.)
Suffice it to say that there were myriad and sundry reasons why the Village continued to stand proudly long past its expiration date. Part of it was that this year’s version was a physical poem to a lovely friend dealing with an unlovely situation. Part of it was that I have an extremely-extended family, resulting in an equally-extended holiday period wherein it takes a while for the various branches of said family to visit Bonnywood and review said Christmas Village.
The final such visit took place last weekend, with one of the participants being a niece who was barely more than a toddler when I began doing my yearly villages. She is 17 now, navigating the complexity of becoming an adult and distancing herself from childish things. But I still hoped to see at least a hint of the wonder she used to display when she would totter about Uncle Brian’s Sparkly and Blinking Land of Festive Hope, with the little frozen people she wanted to touch but didn’t.
On this visit, she managed to set her all-important phone down for a few seconds and surveyed the Village with a whimsical smile. I’ll call that good and hold it tight.
Sadly, the excuse well was now dry, and earlier today I began the dismantling process. This meant endless hours of disconnecting cleverly-hidden electrical cords and shoving edifices large and small into time-worn boxes crackling with years-old snow glitter. Said boxes had all been neatly stored under the dining table upon which the Village had been arranged, hidden behind artfully-draped white sheets that represented the non-glittery snow. Suddenly, I hit a bit of turbulence. I ran out of boxes under the table before all of the structures on the table had been carefully entombed.
Perhaps I had shunted some of the boxes to another location? Probably so, most likely into one of the attics where the village components live for 11 months of the year. I would need to retrieve them from there, but this would require the assistance of my partner, as it’s much easier to hurl boxes from above whilst Partner catches rather than me traipse up and down the rickety attic ladder 476 times. (This is what happens one gets old. You minimize physicality, lest something important snap in your withering musculature.) I went in search of Partner. He was in the midst of running the vacuum about in our bedroom. Oh. Well, I can’t interrupt that, I’ll just go wait in the Village room until he’s finished.
I waited for eons. Apparently, whatever he was trying to tidy up was fighting back. The engine of the vacuum kept revving and then backing off, as if wildebeests were running out of a medieval forest and attacking Partner at carefully-spaced intervals. At one point, Cleo the Cat came racing out of said bedroom, a look of utter panic on her whiskered face. Then she stopped, mid-flee, and dropped to the floor on a clever rug that we had purchased at Ikea and began licking her butt. This explained nothing. Was Partner in danger or not? Should I go check on him? Maybe not. We still have bills to pay and one of us needs to keep living so we can write the checks.
Finally, Partner shut off the vacuum. (Or the motor died. I really didn’t investigate any further.) He came wandering into the Village room. “Hey.”
Me, all about me: “Do you remember if we put some of the village boxes back in the attic?”
Partner: “I don’t remember that.”
Me: “We put something back in the attic. I remember you handing me stuff.”
Partner: “Maybe it was the wrapping paper. But why do you ask?”
Me: “Because I’ve run out of boxes and I still have houses to pack.”
Partner: “Did you check under your village?”
Me: “Yes, I took all the boxes out from under the dining table.”
Partner: “No, I mean under your village, not under the table.”
Me: “What are you talking about?”
Then I turned and surveyed the Christmas real estate, sparsely populated with the remaining, un-boxed houses. And then it hit me. The boxes were right there.
Sometimes I scare myself.
Categories: Present Tense