11 Dec

We spent a warm, cloudless December afternoon creeping around an eerily quiet antique mall, poking through dusty cigar boxes of faded photographs, fondling rusty skeleton keys and gingerly inching around rickety tables stacked with paper-thin porcelain teacups.   My slowing pace unnoticed by my companions, I was left behind for a bit as I paused to imagine the sorts of ladies who sipped from these fragile vessels and what mysterious secrets they might have locked away with such keys. I wonder if my favorite octopus coffee mug will ever find its way to an antiques shop in the future… and what shoppers and collectors may wonder about me?

I am not a haggler or someone who likes to bargain vendors down from a marked price, or else I might have tried to strike a deal on a stack of elegant Victorian-era postcards tied with a bit of frayed ribbon.  I would have liked to use them as greeting cards or gift tags or maybe just stick one in a random book that I return to the library or trade in at a used bookstore.  I always enjoy finding these surprising pieces of ephemera tucked into the pages of a riveting story, don’t you?

A stuffed crow looked on from his perch as I pondered these things.

Afterward we stopped by another another emporium of oddities, the entrance of which was flanked by this charming fellow.  The kindly proprietor informed me that the statues could be had for a cool $25K…

Gargoyles led to Goblin Market where we savored an early evening cocktail.   I believe this was an “herbal martini”; I am not certain if I would drink it again, but it was certainly interesting.  A strange combination of savory upon first sip and sweet at the swallow.

On the way back we stopped and watched the sun set over Lake Apopka at Trimble Park.  Even though I grew up in FL and weathered nearly 20 years of mild, semi-tropical winters, since moving away to the Northeast – and returning back to the south- I find I am having a hard time re-acclimating myself to December days that are not frozen and which do not require layer upon layer of clothing.  I only gazed out over the lake for a moment or two before I began adjusting my collar and rolling up my sleeves, uncomfortable in the unseasonable heat.

Today the the clouds gathered and spilled and it was a morning best spent indoors. The results were fragrant, steaming mugs of spiced wassail and even spicier ginger cookies. After a point these endeavors accumulate so many dishes and so much mess, one may as well fully commit and make three more kinds of cookies.   This is the sort of logic that is brought about by boiled wine and elevated sugar levels and is difficult to argue with.

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