Browsing Archives for January 2012

His Blue and Frozen Remains

January 5th, 2012

It was a dark and stormy night…

No… wait.

Actually it was a dim and frozen morning.

Preceeded by a dark and stormy night….

For I was seated in my usual spot, the perch in our home described as the “brown chair” a heavily padded wingback which is the most desirable seat in the house. I had the laptop on my lap as I earnestly scanned the headlines for news of the latest protestations to emerge from either Bachmann or Santorum, my two favorite right wing nut-jobs.  When into the house burst the CD!  He was in the midst of a night of call and had spent most of the evening at the hospital attending to patients as they arrived in our small town ER. However at around eight-o-clock, there was not a patient in sight and he drove home to eat a bite of supper.

And that’s when he veered.

And this veering is where our grim mystery begins…

Because it was raining outside.

And very cold.

And the freezing rain was rapidly turning everything it hit into a sheet of ice.

But the important part of this story to the CD is not the ice…

But the rain.

For we have been in the midst of a drought in this part of the country.

A severe drought.

A drought that had shrunk our pond to half it’s normal size causing the dock that the CD built this summer to display more than a decent portion of it’s unattractive underpinnings.  But the steady rain fall of the past few days had vastly improved the appearance of the CD’s new dock.  It now sat on top of the water in the exact manner he had intended and he felt compelled in spite of the sleety rain, to get a closer look at his creation.

“I’m going out to see the dock!” he announced as he ambled out the front door into the rain.

“Okay” I replied to his back and then went right back to scrutinizing the internet for the latest intel on the GOP.

And that was the last I saw of the CD that night.

Later, when I went to bed, I wondered briefly where he was.  I contemplated giving him a call, but his phone doesn’t get reception in the lower level of the hospital where the ER is located and I figured he had just been called in and I had missed his departure due to the general hubbub of our house.

The next morning I woke up alone.

The house was very cold.

I shivered, pulled on a heavy sweater and turned up the furnace.

I got the boys up, stumbled downstairs, put on a pot of coffee and set out a few breakfast items.

And that is when I saw it.

Exhibit A…

The Country Doctor’s stethoscope.

It was lying on the kitchen counter.

Hmmmm… That’s strange, I thought. I had not heard the CD come home last night and trust me, the man can’t take six steps without waking the dead. He’s not exactly a creature of stealth.  Still – I thought maybe for once he had re-entered the house in the middle of the night without waking me up.

So I checked to see if possibly he had slept in the guest bedroom…

Exhibit B…

But no.

The guest bedroom had clearly not been slept in.

It was then that I noticed his briefcase was leaning against the fireplace.

His briefcase.

His briefcase…

His stethoscope…

His briefcase…

The stethoscope…

Briefcase…

Stethoscope…

The empty beds…

Briefacse…

Stethoscope…

Empty bed….

What was the last thing he said to me…

Something about the dock?….

“Going out to see the dock… going out to see the dock…  the dock… the dock… the dock… dock… dock…..”

Fearing the worst, I ran to look out the front door…

Exhibit C

In the night, the pond had completely frozen over.

Everything was slick with snow and ice.

What if the unthinkable had happened!?!

What if the CD had slid on the ice as he walked across the dock, hit his head on the wooden planks and then  slid silently into the freezing waters of the pond?

I crept out to the dock, terrified of what I might find.

I could see his footprints where they had walked around on the dock, but from the yard I couldn’t tell if they went up to the edge.

I needed to get a closer look…

Just a little closer.

I folded my hands inside the sleeves of my sweater.

The cold air sliced through my thin pajama pants.

The icy grass stabbed my feet.

It was about here that I decided a phone call might be a better way to solve this mystery.

Besides!

What if I unintentionally disturbed the evidence???

So I jogged back into the house and called the CD’s cell phone.

CD – Hello?

Me – Hello!

CD – Hi.

Me – HI!

CD – What’s up?

Me – You haven’t drowned in the pond!

CD – What?

Me – You’re not dead!

CD – What are you talking about?

Me – I thought you were trapped under the ice!

CD – What?

Me – I didn’t want to disturb the evidence.

CD – I have no idea what you mean.

Me – I’ll explain when you get home.  Just please come in the house before you go out to the dock.  I don’t want to have to search for your blue and frozen remains again. It’s too freakin’ cold outside!

Death Comes to Pemberly

January 5th, 2012

The instant I heard PD James interviewed on NPR regarding her latest book Death Comes to Pemberley, I knew I was going to have to go to great lengths, possibly even murder, to lay my hands on a copy. Fortunately, the CD saved me from committing any such grisly crime by purchasing the book for me for Christmas. Having never read a PD James book, but being somewhat familiar with her mysteries via Masterpiece Theater, I figured that if anyone could pull off a Jane Austen murder mystery, it might be her. James is a highly awarded author and a popular one as well, plus she loves Jane, is British and it would seem that these two things might work together for the good of those that love Jane Austen and are called for her purposes.

Did I enjoy the book?  Why yes I did! In fact, I read it almost non-stop.  Was I appalled by James’s interpretation of two of my favorite characters of all time, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, her description of Pemberley and the way she involved most of the principal characters of Pride and Prejudice in her murder mystery?  No, I was not. I generally enjoy it when one artist toys with the work of another. But I must say that as a devoted Austen fan, I was also not entirely pleased with this re-visioning of the work of Austen. I imagine that any devout fan of Austen will experience moments of deep regret and other moments of immense satisfaction while reading this book. It is fun to revisit Mr. and Mrs. Darcy and see them enjoying their married life, raising their children and caring for their estate and their employees. Throughout the book, one is reminded of their great love story and it is fun to think about it again in a new context.

Sadly, all the female characters of Austen’s story are largely insignificant in this book. While the men take firm control of the narrative, hauling bodies around, guarding suspects, attending trials, crashing through the underbrush to find evidence and agonizing over their allegiance to one another, the women can only worry, fret, wring their hands and toss and turn in sleepless nights. The absence of Elizabeth’s perception and wit is especially noteworthy as the story unfolds.

In her interview on NPR, James confesses that Pride and Prejudice is not her favorite Austen book. Instead she cites Emma as the Austen tome most dear to her heart and at the end of Death Comes to Pemberley she weaves in her favorite story in a manner that actually brought tears to my eyes. And though it is a moving moment in the story, the reason I was swallowing back a lump of emotion had nothing to do with the story line. It was more the naked affection of P.D. James for Austen in her determination to bring in her favorite book that caused tears to sting my eyes. For it was not the act of a great writer that joined Pride and Prejudice to Emma, it was the act of a devoted fan and that was something I could relate to on a deeply emotional level.

Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2012

Who’s up for another circle?