A day or two ago, Mum said “we should start taking down the Christmas decorations bit by bit – it’s easier than taking them all down in one fell swoop.”
I began with the bears on the stairs… a lot of them lost the little sparkling pieces they were holding in their paws. The tinsel draped on mirrors and other surfaces by the stairs came down too, till I had a respectable pile of garlands waiting to be put away.
At tea time I walked Thundercloud. It was freezing but not too bad, till all of a sudden I got this feeling deep in my bones that the temperature had that very second stepped beyond the line of what was acceptable, freeze-wise, and the gathering clouds and general light was just somehow… not good any more. The dog and I were going back home. Now. And we wished we weren’t quite that far away.
When we got back to N’s house, I let Thundercloud rush in for her tea. Mum was coming out, and we walked home together.
A wet snowflake went SPLAT…. intolerable. As a hint to walk faster, I said to Mum “it’s starting to snow.” Her pace didn’t change, and the steadily increasing snowflakes melted and splotched on my glasses. I hate having to view the world through a blurry screen of waterdrops, which was why I wanted to hurry.
A little further along, Mum slowed right down till she had almost stopped, and said “I invited N. to tea. I thought it would be nice to do it now while the house is bright and cheerful with all the decorations.”
“OK, fine,” I said.
(I thought to myself, “couldn’t you have told me that when we were inside, warm, and dry? Why are we slowing down on a freezing, blowy and snowy road to discuss this? And guess who will be replacing all the tinsel that got taken down because you said it would be a good idea to start taking it down now?”)
Since we were walking slowly through the wet snow anyway, I decided to get my own conversational mileage out of it. “When I was walking Thundercloud, I found it was warmer in the woods than on the road.”
Silence while Mum looked off in completely the other direction.
“Did you hear…?”
Looks round innocently – “what?”
“I sai…”, I began, only to be immediately interrupted by a definite nod of her head. “Yes, it’s always colder on the road.” Then she went ahead up the driveway – the conversation was at an end.
We finally got inside and looked out, and the slush was belting down in the gathering darkness.
I went upstairs to clear up a few odds and ends, and Sharky came along, stared gauntly at his food bowl, and announced in clear, ringing tones that he was a very sick cat and his supper should have been waiting for him already.
Well, cat, we were standing outside in the snowstorm talking about how cold it was on the road. Somebody has to do it…
Out for a walk with Thundercloud, I was passing through the town’s forest conservation area, if that’s the right term for it – footpaths, small bridges, trees, stumps, grass, banks of primroses and daffodils, cherry blossom, toadstools and meandering burns. A popular place for birds, squirrels, dog walkers and Sunday strollers. Palely loitering in the middle of it all was a mother and her three-year-old.
They seemed to be waiting for me and Thundercloud, so I paused.
“Hello,” she said, trees rustling behind her, “do you know where Morrisons the supermarket is?”
Later on I had tea with N. (Thundercloud’s owner) and Mum, and told them about my encounter. After they finished laughing, Mum said “that reminds me of an old Irish joke. A tourist, lost in the middle of nowhere, asked an Irish man ‘please could you tell me the way to Dublin?’ The Irish man stopped to consider, scratching his head, and finally suggested, ‘well, if I were you, I wouldn’t start from here.'”
Edit Jan 2008: I’m unable to transfer my old comments across from Blogigo, but I liked this one from KateBlogs:
May 5, 2006 at 16:53:
What a strange encounter LOL.
Your Mum’s joke reminds of something that hapened to my Gran. Years ago, she was sitting in the park in Stratford on Avon, when a man came up and asked the way to Wales. No specific part, just Wales.