Outside the air crackles as crisp as a dry ginger snap. The sign at the corner alternates between time and temperature, but the glass appears to be broken and all it says is 0.-8F, which might mean 08, or 18, or 28. We do not know. I picture the inside of my lungs looking like one of those ice caves under a glacier. Lydia’s breath fogs like a Lucky Strike advertisement. We, both, are glad to get to the pub. It’s too late to eat with Jim and Tommy, but we enjoy a wonderful bowl of steamed clams and some fresh baked bread. I know I’m going to like it here. These people know how to take care of their stomachs.
The walk back doesn’t seem so cold. I guess it’s the beer from the local brewery revving our engines. Maybe I won’t die of secondary smoke inhalation before morning, after all.
Neither of us sleep well due to the rank odor of smoke. I wheeze my way through the night, Lydia uses the entire box of tissues in the bathroom. I order the hot and spicy reindeer sausage for breakfast. The links are course and peppery like the kind we used to stuff at home. I hope it’s Rudolf. I’m really tired of hearing that song between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The weather remains cold and foggy with brief showers of sleet. We wander about the downtown area looking for a few odds and ends. In particular, I want a plain, black bow tie, preferably the kind I can tie, not clip on. The tie I have has an adjustable band with a clip, and the clip shows when I put it on. After looking at some seventy five dollar, pure silk, hand tailored bow ties at Nordstrom’s, I find a saleswoman at Penny’s who wields a pair of scissors on my old one and cuts some threads which prevent the tie from sliding on the band. This is great! Now the tie simply slides over the clip and hides it—probably was supposed to be that way from the beginning.