Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Mulligans Christmas Card Photo

Dorric Mulligan is the manager of the Kicking Donkey Pub in Cloverdale. Dorric, along with his wife Delma and their children, live in the small flat above the pub. The Mulligan's are a large Catholic family and find the flat 'cozy' to say the least.

Dorric's parents arrived by train on Sunday to spend December and half of January with the family. They are old age pensioners living on a tight budget and haven't the money to stay at one of Cloverdale's fine motels or B and B's, meaning the Mulligan's will have two house guests for the holidays. Delma is not happy about the situation and informed Dorric that he will be spending the next several weeks sleeping on one of the pub's downstair sofas. The aging grandparents are oblivious to the tension caused by their unannounced visit. They suffer from mild dementia and enjoy their daily pint or two of Guinness, which keeps them in a partially woozy and cheerful state.

The family gathered for their annual Christmas photo on Sunday evening. Dorric placed the camera on a tripod, arranged the family, set the camera's timer and rushed back to insert himself into the picture. The camera beeped three times before snapping the picture. The beeping entertained little Tina and drew an immediate reaction. Her reaction confused Grandpa, causing him to loose focus and forget where to look. Grandma never found the lens. She was still trying to remember her youngest grandchild's name.

You'll notice that Dorric cropped Delma out of the picture. It was his own twisted sense of humor. He made the photo card in Photoshop, printed a copy and left it on the kitchen table 'by accident' so Delma could find it. He thought it would lighten her spirits, resulting in an invitation to return to his own bed.

Unfortunately, Delma was in no mood for one of Dorric's practical jokes. Delma exploded. The resulting fallout made the flat unsafe for Dorric and his parents. They are now staying at Miss Libby's Bed and Breakfast for the next few days while Delma finds her emotional footing.

We are all hoping the Mulligans reconcile quickly. The pub has several private bookings for the holiday season, which means its all hands on deck for the pub's staff.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lillian Wish’s Book Emporium

Lillian Wish's Book Emporium High Street Entrance.
Today's Highlighted Cloverdale Business for Christmas Shopping

Cloverdale’s Chamber of Commerce encourages our villagers to stay in the village to shop this Christmas season.

“We know how tempting it is to jump on the Coastal Express for a day’s shopping at Capital City or Tamworth on Tide, so we’ve encouraged our village businesses to offer unique items at special prices you might not find at the big shopping centers,” said Councilman Telper during the Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza and Christmas Parade held down the High Street.

Anderson Potter (Santa Claus) for the 21st year in a row. The costume will be retired this year. The Donaldson Family is promising a new 21st century suit for next year's parade complete with electrical lining to ward off the cold of a Cloverdale night.

Many of the hundred or so gathered who braved the cold and snow for the event nodded their heads in agreement (although it should be noted that most of them were the owners and employees of the businesses in downtown Cloverdale who stepped out of their shops just long enough to see Anderson Potter play Santa on top of the Donaldson’s Department Store float for the twenty-first year in a row).

Albert Spitter of 23 Glenwood Close, plays the trumpet for the Salvation Army when
he isn't playing video games or tormenting his sisters.

Cloverdale’s very own Salvation Army Brass Band accompanied the parade playing holiday favorites while Brigadier General Chuck Artz walked up and down the street waving the famous Red Bucket and solicited donations for the poor and needy. Most freely gave. Those less inclined to be parted from their coins received Chuck’s extra attention. The General stood in front of them with a smile stretching ear to ear. General Chuck is the village’s Stare Down Champion. A skill that has served him well in soliciting donations from the Scrooges of the Shire.

The Chamber of Commerce decided to use the village blog “Our Cloverdale” to highlight certain businesses during the holiday season. Our first business is Lillian Wish’s Book Emporium, one of the High Street's anchor establishments. Lillian opened the Emporium thirty years ago with her now deceased husband Filroy.

Lillian Doesn't Sleep Well so the Emporium is Open the Strangest of Hours. Here she is at 2:10 A.M. brewing a
pot of coffee for anyone else that might be out and about.

For the past three decades Cloverdale’s citizens have been treated to a wide variety of books covering “Every Topic Under the Sun, and Then Some More.” Yes, that phrase is also the store’s motto, written by Lillian herself. The store has two openings. The High Street opening is for those looking for the finest in new books and audio tapes. The back entrance (found if you walk down the ally just to the north of the shop) is for those seeking the best prices and selection of used books.

The Back Entrance of the Book Emporium.
Careful to Wipe Your Feet and be mindful of the cat box.

Upon entering the Emporium one feels pitched it into some magical world like the wand shop in Diagon Alley . Lillian is in her Sixties (although it is hard to tell to be honest). Her night shift opening hours are a perfect opportunity for people who work late or students (Cloverdale Community College is close by) to check out the latest book releases or some old school literature.

She calls her store a “Gemischtwarenladen” which translates to grocery store in a really traditional way. She offers the best prices on a great variety of bestsellers and new releases (some are in foreign languages, and if I knew how to read them I’d tell you what they were). And the best part about it is- she knows most of the books she sells.

Get your own customized book recommendation. If you are not into books check it out nevertheless – it will be your special Cloverdale experience. Something to tell your grandchildren. Take some time to get to know one of the village’s genuine “institutions”.
Since the owner is always there until past midnight it is almost like a 24 hours daily store. But please call to make sure it is open.