If you know me at all, you know that the inside of my car is a disaster. I believe our entire CD collection is on the floor of the car, along with every gas station receipt and candy bar wrapper we’ve accumulated over the past two years. There are many tissues. Some are unused. Others are not. (I know!) I think there’s a wrench set in there somewhere. Also, several barrettes. (Just in case.) I’m missing a can of Lentil soup. I’m sure it’s in the car.
A few weeks back, I found myself driving to the grocery store in desperate need of the ingredients for punch. (When you’re attending a late night yarn store party, it’s sort of silly to NOT fill a gigantic punch bowl with pineapple juice and frozen fruit and whatnot, right? You know it!) Anyway, I scored a front row spot, made my way into the store, grabbed my punch stuff, and carried my bags out to the car.
Please know that it was a windy day. Super windy. Blustery, even. (And I don’t throw “blustery” around very often, my friends.) When I opened up the back of the car, a (mostly empty) pumpkin head from Halloween got caught in the wind and flew out. And because my reflexes are spot on (seriously—throw a basketball at my head sometime and see how fast I duck!), I quickly brought my leg up with the lofty intention of kicking the head back into the car. (Because I’m doing it all for Slobo Ilijevski these days. And in my mind, I’m a lot more athletic than I am in your real world.)
As you probably guessed, the pumpkin head did not make its way back into the car. In fact, I kicked the goofy (now empty) thing UNDER the car, where it slowly rolled to a stop dead center—out of my reach from all angles. As I finished packing groceries into the car (and picking up the stale boxes of Milk Duds from the parking lot), I hoped that the wind would somehow catch the head and blow it out. No luck.
It was then that a really perfect thing happened. The Salvation Army Red Can Christmas Man showed up for his bell ringing shift. And as he set up his station and started singing (Yep. He’s one of THOSE Salvation Army Red Can Christmas Men.), I slowly closed down the back of the car and put my keys and iPod in the front seat.
“Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen! When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even!”
(This is where I dropped to my knees on the driver side of my car.)
“Brightly shone the moon that night, though the frost was cruel, when a poor man came in sight, gathering winter fyoo-oo-el.”
(This is where I dropped my head down to the ground and began slithering snakelike under the car—slowly inching toward the pumpkin head and trying my hardest to not get my coat all dirty. Hey wait. You do remember that I’m parked in the front row, right? Yep. Right in front of the Salvation Army Red Can Christmas Man. As I’m typing this for you, he’s probably sitting around with his family telling his side of the story. “And all I could see were too legs sticking out from under that car! Woo hoo! Gold!”)
“Hither, page, and stand by me, if thou know’st it, telling, Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?”
(Yeah. I’m still over here squirming around under the car in the style of the yonder peasant. I’m still five inches away from this damned pumpkin head! My cheek is rubbing against the parking lot, which is just as good as microderm abrasion, right? I’m crabby, yet I know that this entire scene is my own fault!)
“Sire, he lives a good league hence, underneath the mountain; Right against the forest fence, by Saint Agnes’ fountain.”
(Got it!!! I got the pumpkin head! And now I’m doing the backward army crawl on my elbows with my arms tightly wrapped around it! I will NEVER let my car get this cluttered again! Do you hear that, 2009?!)
“‘Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither: Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither.’ Page and monarch, forth they went, forth they went together; Through the rude wind’s wild lament and the bitter weather.”
(And, victory! I bounced up and lifted the pumpkin head over my head Stanley Cup style for the Salvation Army Red Can Christmas Man to see! And he looked a bit relieved, because he really HAD been watching my feet jerking around from under the car. And he kept singing, because when you know all of the stinkin’ words to Good King Wenceslas, you really DO keep on singing them, because that’s quite a thing, don’t you think? (Personally, I’m Wikipedia-ing the heck out of those lyrics right now!) Before jumping into my car and driving away, I yelled something ridiculous like, “I got it! This pumpkin head! Mine! A-HA!” (I don’t remember my exact words, because they were so cringe-worthy that my brain is helping me block them. Lingering humiliation and whatnot, you know…)
And I know you want to know if the pumpkin head is still in my car.
Of course it’s not.