By cheap Emmet
Well, here we are again. The checking account is depleted by that tax payment to the town of Camden; the cash is gone for those shingles for the barn roof and a load of oil from P. G. Willey. Christmas is coming and Cobb Manor is broke. Well, technically, Cobb Manor is always broke, but you just realize it more clearly in December.
I think the wisest course of events is to just skip Christmas presents this year. (No booing, please). In lieu of actual presents, I shall issue “pretend” presents from my very favorite retailer Hammacher Schlemmer, “Offering the best, the only and the unexpected for 165 years.”
For myself, I shall choose the “Verbal Music Request Speaker. All I have to do is speak into my Smartphone (wait!) and choose the Otis Redding “Blue” album and it will play magically. Have I told you that I once sang into Otis’s mike in a seedy Oakland bar? Well, I have now. It’s a mere $399.95.
For the Cobb Manor magnificent barn, I shall choose the 1959 Corvette billiards game. This is a regulation billiards table, sitting atop a gleaming (reproduction) of a classic Corvette. The lights work, which is a good thing because sometimes the barn lights don’t.
For the lovely Blue Eyes, who has put up with me for thirty (30) years, I shall pretend-purchase a heated cotton robe for a mere $149.95. Blue Eyes is cold for 12 months a year but especially in December. This robe has heating elements “strategically placed in the front and back” and “takes the chill out of emerging from a hot shower into a cold bathroom.” The heating elements are controlled by a lightweight, 12-volt lithium battery pack. If I know Blue Eyes, she will wear it to her drafty, chilly office, too.
For my very favorite grandson, Matthew, I shall choose the “50 Foot Snowball Launcher.” This beauty launches “softball size snowballs”for up to 50 feet. When those neighborhood ruffians start trouble on Pinecrest Street, Matthew shall kick some young behinds. Merry Christmas, mates! A mere $29.95.
For my magical granddaughter, Meara (honest, born on my birthday, too) I shall pretend buy the “Nutcracker Suite March Porcelain Musical Egg” for a mere $59.99. This beauty is reminiscent of the eggs crafted by Peter Carl Faberge from 1885-1917 and plays the “Nutcracker Suite.” How could you go wrong?
Besaw is getting on in years and breaks a few ribs every winter by tripping on his dog. But he still does constant entertaining since he is a borderline gourmet cook. I shall purchase (pretend) an electric wine opener. I have seen poor Besaw struggle with those corks from those Yellow Tail bottles. One wine “expert” opened 56 bottles in a single charge with this baby. That ought to get Besaw through a summer afternoon on the deck. She lauded the opener for requiring “no effort at all,” which is right up Besaw’s alley.
Chief Al is slowing down at a faster pace than the rest of us. It must be all those years walking the Rockland beat. We will pretend get him the “Heated Circulation Enhancing Lower Leg Massager” for a mere $299.95. This baby enhances blood circulation to sooth sore, tired muscles in the calves and feet. The leg wells hear up to 131 degrees to loosen those aging, tight muscles and ligaments. It features three kneading and three vibrating massage programs. Maybe Chief Al can make a comeback and start doing those golf course walks again, with his mighty dog, Taser. That dog hasn’t been out of the house since late September. There was also a $3,000 “Heated, Zero-Gravity Massage Chair in the HS catalogue, but that is way too much for Al, pretend or not.
David Grima, as you know, is a constant danger on the highways. He has had a succession of dangerously disintegrating vehicles that should be banned from the state’s highways. We shall buy David the cover item of the HS catalogue, the “Authentic Morgan Three Wheeler.” We are talking $59,000 but this is all pretend commerce, you will remember. This replica is made in Mavern Link, the birthplace of the original Morgan built in 1909. This baby will travel, with its 2.0-liter, V-Twin engine that will go from 0-60 in 4.5 seconds. That will be invaluable in Grima’s 76-foot commute to work every day. It has a top speed of 115 M.P.H., which should get him to work on time, for once.
The good thing about “pretend” presents is they don’t leave a big mess of wrapping paper, packing material and bows on Christmas morning. Cheaper, too.