Scallops with home-canned tomatoes and the fresh rosemary that's still thriving by my cellar window. Garden kale (via the freezer) with garlic. Couscous. Homemade eggnog alongside a variety platter of baked goods.
Christmas at the Ramada
1. The Lobby
Ramada nearly rhymes with armada
a disarming coincidence, O notes,
as she shoves apart the glass doors
for lingering K and they step into
a Wonderland of holiday cheer
so cheerless she pictures just how hard
the squirrel-faced girl at the front desk
must have laughed when, the day
after Thanksgiving, a burly crew
of Portuguese teens crammed the pale
lobby with misshapen Edwardian carolers
and a giant twitching Santa with a gold-
lamé belt and a broken nose. Across the grubby
carpet, two mechanical elves lugubriously
negotiate a seesaw; the check-in counter
is bestrewn with large rats sporting Mr. and Mrs.
Claus outfits; and toward the lounge, a pair
of handyman snowmen wash and sweep
with the enthusiasm of wind-up convicts.
murmurs O. The air is lightly filled
with the tones of Christmas carols
so faint they might be the rustling
of bat wings. The lobby smells of dust
and industrial rug shampoo.
Beyond the night-time glass, asphalt looms.
The lights of Route 6 tout good prices
and fun. Cars stuffed with after-dinner
shoppers mutter past, tires scraping sand,
satisfaction imminent as a blizzard. O signs up
for a smoking room, a king-sized bed. K thumbs
postcards and examines a rat. In their veins,the spirit of Christmas surges like bourbon.