So long, and thanks…..

So long, and thanks for all the fish….(with apologies to Douglas Adams….)

There was a chat on one of the eBay discussion boards today about how to increase store traffic (since eBay has now virtually eliminated any eBay Store item from search…..), and one seller was particularly worried that Christmas was going to be quite spare at his house due to lack of sales now. Another wag suggested that he offer to sell his store at auction, because it was clearly haunted by ghosts who chased away anyone coming it to look around, and because “haunted” items always seem to draw not only a lot of interest, but lots of bids! Another said perhaps they should start describing every item in their stores as haunted in order to generate interest, and then people could give “haunted gifts” for Christmas.

I was reminded of the fish…….

DH’s parents came to visit one Christmas-something they don’t usually do, because they don’t like leaving the sunny, warm Valley of the Sun to come up to cold, snowy northern Nevada. But this particular year we convinced them. We don’t normally exchange gifts, as we all already have “too much stuff,” but DH did buy them some token gifts just to have something to open on Christmas Eve. One evening, while they and DH were off to town on an outing I decided to just sit and admire the beauty of the tree lights in the darkened house. DH had already wrapped his parent’s gifts, and placed them under the tree.

I went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea, and was startled to hear a rustling under the tree, accompanied by some tinkling musical notes. After nearly dropping the hot tea on my foot, I searched under the tree and found…nothing unusual. The family returned, we had a nice chat, and we all went to bed. I woke early the next day, as is my wont, and rose at 5:30am, made tea, and sat near the lit tree. In the cold house, the furnace came on…..then, again, a rustle. Again, some tinkling notes…again, nothing to be found.

I puzzled over it all that day (which was Christmas Eve), and wondered which gift was “haunted”, but was too busy with the activities of the day to worry too much about it. It is our custom to go to church on Christmas Eve, and after church to have a drink and a special snack, while each opening one gift, leaving the rest to open on Christmas Day. DH opened a new stack of CD-R discs…I received a lovely Diane Von Furstenberg silk scarf. Mom received a bottle of her favorite Red Door cologne. And step-dad John got….Big Mouth Billy Bass: a mounted plastic fish who raises his head from the mounting board and belts out a rendition of Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” The mystery of the haunted gift was solved! That particular gift had been placed near a heat register. The fish’s song and head movements are motion activated…and the moving air of the blowing heat rustled the wrapping paper and made Billy come to life.

I’ll never forget John’s parting words when he left for home shortly after Christmas: “So long, and thanks for the fish!” (If you don’t get it, you’re MUCH too young…..).