Kage Baker liked the peculiar rhythms of dates like this. She loved the advent of digital clocks, too – she had always had trouble reading classical analogue faces – and happily watched all ours for the consecutive moments – 12:34. 1:11. 4:56. They all amused her, and held a kind of time-mocking magic in her cosmology
To make today’s entry title perfect, I should have gotten up and contrived to post it at 9. That would have taken the time magic to another decimal.
However, at 9 AM I was blissfully asleep, subliminally aware of coffee being ground in the kitchen – for me, but blessedly not by me. I am resting, taking my meds, checking my blood pressure, and in general heeding my body’s hints and being a fussy old woman. I feel dreradfully guilty … the coffee helps, though.
I ought to be at Dickens Fair; the magic of the date, though, permits me to know what it is like there right now. The rotating bars of the digital calender open like a garage door, much more efficient than the old pages just falling off the wall. No matter Kage preferred digital appliances …
In the Parlour, someone will have seated Mr. Charles Dickens for his first reading of the day. His cup of tea will be steaming on the table, and a dozen happy customers will be leaning forward to hear his wonderful initial description of London on Christmas Eve.
My bar staff will just have quieted down from whatever early morning riot has amused them, and will be eating chips (that’s fries to you pagan Americans) for breakfast. The saintly Neassa will have given Mr. Dickens his reading copy and now faded away deftly into the kitchen; where she is, I hope, refreshing herself with peppermint bark and Hershey’s kisses. My “daughters” Meg and Caroline will have two lunches laid out waiting on the side board, and will now be sailing in swan-like tranquility around the Parlour, as decorative and smiling as angels on the Christmas tree.
The streets are thronged with happy crowds. The air smells of cookies, roast beef, gingerbread, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, perfume, beeswax, popcorn, wet pavement and ancient cattle (lends us that air of London reality, you know).
The neighbors are out and about – Nancy still smiling and alive, her Bill still an ardent suitor; the telegraph kids swooping by on roller skates; the Crummels or the Cratchits or the Mad Tea Party wandering around noisily. Jacob Marley (having secretly sated himself on jelly beans in my kitchen) has slipped out into the street and is pacing about in chains and desperate melancholy, hoping to redeem Scrooge.
Becky from the Prince Edward Bar next door has wandered in with a washer, wondering if we need (or have) a replacement. Or my Adam has wandered over there to find out why the shared water is flowing at half-pressure. An electrician rushes by with a ladder on his shoulder, officially rendered invisible by the plaid lap robe thrown over it. Top hats are blooming on the hat stand. Three non-matching gloves have already been turned in. A small girl is contemplating toasting a teddy bear over the faux parlour fire.
Normal morning at Dickens Fair, like nothing else on earth. Wish I was there. Hope you are.