You may recall a post I did last year about how the donut famine in Chapel Hill was finally and thankfully brought to an end when a Krispie Kreme donut shop opened on Franklin Street downtown. Since then I’ve become a regular customer, and I must say that their freshly glazed, hot donuts are so good I can’t resist em. And The Princess, heavens, if I bring some of those home after my volunteer gig in the morning, I am THE MAN….for a couple of hours anyway. But what I’ve been finding is that the trip to KK has side benefits. While I’m waiting for my donuts, I sit on one of the couches or lounge chairs.
Of course, with my fidgety hands and my eternal quest for new riches, I generally slip a hand down in between the cushions to check for loose change. I always find money (today 89 cents). Are donut eaters rich, or just incredibly careless? But it’s not just the money. Perfectly good pens, cell phones, and this week something really cool. Check this out.
Yikes! This thing is incredibly sharp, and look at that serrated edge. I looked it up on the internet. The company that sells this thing bills itself as supplying the military and police, but also just plain folks like you and me. Here’s a testimonial for this knife from a guy that wrote-in to the website:
“…I got one of these for each of my daughters to keep in their purses when they went off to college, just so that I would feel safer…they found everyday uses for them.”
I’m telling you, if these girls are here attending UNC, The Princess has no worries; I’m staying away from them. Everyday uses? For these? What, are they regularly in knife fights? Of course, a pretty girl WITH A BOX OF KRISPIE KREMES… I guess she would have to fight guys off with knife.
It’s just two days until Christmas. Christmas brings me to thoughts of my Dad. He died on Christmas Day, 2002. That was kind of appropriate, as he really liked Christmas, I mean even beyond the religious aspect, he enjoyed the other stuff, especially the decorating. My goodness, our Christmas packages under the tree may have had underwear in them, but they were wrapped like they were the crown jewels. Dad worked for 3M since the year I was born, 1947, until he retired, and he had access to a company store that had fancy ribbons, bow makers, bows, tape and other holiday wrapping doodads. All of us kids learned how to make bows out of ribbon at an early age.
Dad loved games and contests. He lived up to his namesake, Merlin the Magician, at gin, and he and Mom were a great bridge team. Mom still wins at bridge regularly. If there was something to win, he went for it. One year at the company picnic he won a live pig!
The only reason we kids rode that crazy “push cart” in the July 4th parades, was so that he could, through us, win the prize for best kids float. But at Christmas, of course, the contests were all about decorating the house, winning the city decorating contest, and getting featured in the local newspaper. I think his big year was probably around 1954.
For weeks, dad spent many hours after work and on weekends laboring feverishly. First he got a lot of scrap lumber from the company, plywood from old billboards. After locating a set of plans, probably Popular Mechanics or some such, he commenced working like a demon on what was to be his biggest display ever. He cut the lumber into long strips, and then assembled the pieces into huge modernistic figures. The company store was useful again as the source for “ScotchLite” spray paint which was applied to the whole project. The 8 ft figures were erected in the front yard, and spot lights were placed strategically, extension cords meandering everywhere, so that they would illuminate the figures in the dark. When the lights were finally switched on, what you saw were the three kings (of biblical fame) on camels following the star of Bethlehem (up on the roof). Very impressive, at least to us kids. I don’t recall exactly how well Dad fared in the contest, but I do remember seeing a photo in the paper of our front yard, with the kings on camels (glowing in the dark like road construction signs). By the fact that that news article was saved for decades among other family mementos, tells me he was incredibly proud of that accomplishment. We were proud of him!
Dad would have enjoyed the scene in our local butcher shop today, Cliff’s. There aren’t many shops left like this. Walk-in coolers, glass cases with all different cuts of meat. The close, damp feel of the air, and the pungent aroma it carried. While I stood in line for our Christmas roast, I couldn’t believe the variety of stuff folks were picking up for their holiday dinners. Overheard just while I was in there: ham, butterflied leg of lamb, rabbits, standing rib (a 13-pounder), a deboned, fresh turkey, and a goose.
The Princess and I await the arrival of my Mom (by plane) and son Andy (by train) on Christmas Day…and hope everything comes off without a hitch. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday, full with peace, love and joy.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and as always, thanks for reading.