Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nolan Waterford Gates and the Christmas Inventory

With Christmas only seven weeks away little Nolan Waterford Gates of Marley House, Cloverdale started the yearly inventory of his play room. At breakfast this morning he stood and tapped a crystal glass with his silver fork bringing all other conversations to an end at the family breakfast table.

“Yes dear, what is it?” Lady Gates inquired of her son. She was working her way through a poached egg while reading the morning mail. Father Gates was completely hidden behind the morning paper, except of course, the ends of his fingers.

“Father, please,” Nolan spoke impatiently, knowing the effort it could take to divert his father away from the Confederacy’s news. Father Gates found the article he was struggling through rather tedious and lowered the paper far enough to see his son's face.

“I regretfully must close the play room to everyone, including the servants, so I can complete my yearly inventory of its contents in preparation for Christmas," Nolan said in a matter of fact voice. "I say this to illicit parental support. Young Martha and Matthew must stay out. You both know how they love to mess everything up."

“Nolan, must you do this every year? It seems so unnecessary," Lady Gates replied to her son’s request. "You know how much your younger brother and sister love playing, and we know how pleasant mommy is when these two darlings are occupied and not underfoot. You wouldn't want to see mommy upset would you?”

“Mother, the one year I didn’t take inventory I requested a Coastal Express Train Set for Christmas not remembering I already had a Coastal Express Train Set. It was a complete waste of your money...”

“Shhhhh,” Lady Gates held her finger over her mouth, then pointed toward the two younger children sitting opposite Nolan, both of whom sat mouths wide open at the horror of having the Play Room closed. Nolan stopped, looked at the two small Gates, and continued.

“It was a complete waste of Santa’s time, not to mention the Elfs,” Nolan corrected himself. Lady Gates nodded in approval of her son’s quick wit.
“The inventory therefore is necessary so we get new things, not repeats of things we already own.”

“Understandable dear. How thoughtful of you," Lady Gates said in her 'I don't want to be having this conversation voice'. "Isn't our little wonder something Maurice?" Father glanced at this wife over the top of the sports section, grunted, and straighted the newspaper for a better read. Lady Gates hated that morning paper. Its all she ever saw of her husband in the mornings. She turned toward Nolan, "Speaking for your father and myself, I promise no one will enter the Play Room during inventory. Although I wish you’d let the servants in to do their daily cleaning.”
Lady Gates was one who insisted on a spotless home.

“No, mother. Nobody.” Nolan reasoned.

Lady Gates returned to the mail and her poached egg. Father grunted and moved on to another page of the morning paper looking for something interesting.

“I'll leave the table and get started then,” Nolan said as he stood and bowed to both parents. He left the dining room. The two younger Gates erupted into screams of anguish at having lost the Play Room. Lady Gates rubbed the sides of her forehead, feeling one of her child induced migraines coming on. She rang the bell for an aspirin and the nanny.

Nolan stopped Minny, the housekeeper, on his way up the grand staircase. He gave her instructions concerning a sign he wanted painted and displayed outside the Play Room warning anyone who entered of his pure and uncontrollable wrath if they violated his privacy during inventory. Minny set her polishing rag down on the banister and rushed to the kitchen to carry out the young master’s order.

Nolan entered the Play Room and firmly shut the door. He made a visual inspection of its treasures then opened one of the sideboard’s drawers. He took out his Big Chief Tablet and pen, turned to the first sheet of paper, wrote the date on top and started the long process of cataloging the room's contents. From that list, he and his siblings would create their Christmas wish lists.

Nolan Waterford Gates is a peculiar and thorough boy.

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