11 December 2009

Only Two Weeks until the Big Day. . .

You can almost hear the tin soldiers marching to do batttle with the Rat King and his minions.

No painting to report his morning as it was just too cold in Zum Stollenkeller yesterday evening for a sedentary pursuit like that. Odd that a cellar would get so cold, but there you are. However, temperatures are supposed to moderate somewhat during the next few days, so hopefully the weekend will see me back at the painting table, at least for a little while.

In the meantime, here's a cheerful Christmas image for you Grand Duchy of Stollen regulars -- a nutcracker version of The Rat King from, you guessed it, The Nutcracker! I have a similar wooden, puppet-like ornament, depicting the Rat King, which I must get from my mother before next Christmas. Mom still has a couple of boxes of Christmas tree ornaments and decorations from our younger days (my sister and me) in storage that I need to claim when I rent a truck and pick up several family pieces of furniture next summer.

Anyway, there is a funny family story connected to the Rat King ornament I mention above. About 18 years ago, when I was living in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh with my mother and step-father, one cold December morning a week or so before Christmas, Mom looked contentedly out the kitchen window at the birdfeeder, hanging from a tree in the back yard. To her intense dismay, she noticed two of the Rat King's brethren (ahem) gnawing at the corner of a big plastic bag full of garbage left on the back porch! Seems my professor step-dad (a displaced Welshman) had not taken the kitchen garbage all the way to the garbage cans (it had been his turn to do so) at the side of the house the night before due to the intense cold.

So, I pulled on shoes, headed out to the porch, shooed away the tresspassing rodentia, and quickly deposited the garbage bag in it's proper recepticle. Once inside, Mom muttered something under her breath about how my step-dad was going to be in BIG trouble when he came home. I laughed, and replied. "No Mom, you're misktaken. Those weren't rats. Those were city chipmunks!" She laughed and we moved onto talking about other things. But ever since, we have always referred to my Rat King ornament as the City Chipmunk ornament. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...

"City Chipmonks" . . . I love that. A wonderful story, Stokes. Thank you.

-- Jeff


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