(Start at the beginning)
When Noel was little, the cold weather and cold winds arrived in November each year. And that would be the weather … until sometime in March of the next year. But times had changed and the weather was different now. In certain years, it didn’t get consistently chilly at all until December or later. And what this led to were days that were cold and snowy, followed by spans of time that were a bit warmer and comfortable.
Such was the case on this day … Saturday, December 11th. Not more than a week ago, the area was experiencing the falling of almost two feet of snow. But on this day, the temperature was nearing 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
She would have been a liar if she had said she wasn’t happy about the reprieve from frigid conditions. And, knowing it would be cold again before long, she took advantage of the good weather while it lasted. Venturing to the Country Crafts Village, just a few miles away from the tourist district of town, Noel engaged in something she loved to do … shopping without the need to buy anything in particular.
Having been down this road before with her, Nick prepared himself to carry the forthcoming bags.
The Country Crafts Village was a small collection of crafty stores, also selling food that was identified with the area as well as clothing with local labels. It was a tourist trap that was located far enough away from the tourist hub to never be slammed with massive crowds, all at once. But that didn’t mean business was slow. It just meant the area was calm. People flowed through and browsed the tiny stores, then moving on.
But for the hard cores, like Noel, every item in every store deserved consideration. And given the amount of tiny unique trinkets, this took some time. Noel was certainly up for the task, Nick always being so patient as to allow her to aimlessly browse.
But at Christmastime, this shopping village ramped up the offerings – bringing in a local craftsman who used to make model train towns for a living. Now in retirement, he made model scenes of places and buildings that had nothing to do with the railroad. The village gave him the entire main office for his displays, going so far as to move the desks and counters to an alternate location for the holiday season.
When Noel walked into the main office, her jaw dropped so hard that it almost unhinged itself from her face. This craftsman’s attention to details, finite and miniscule details, was unbelievable. Standing at each display, she eyed up every little building, every little person, every little bush and tree and blade of grass. And as her attentions were fully focused on the displays, Nick had an opportunity to determine if her shyness of the moment was indeed because of her fascination with the displays … or if it was because she had wet herself and didn’t want to tell him as they were shopping.
She always had a fear that, if she told him she needed to be changed, he might take her away from where she was – insisting on changing her right away. That was a diminishing fear, though. In reality, diapers were such a common thing for her anymore that she sometimes didn’t realize she had wet herself until he checked her.
Walking up behind her, he wrapped his arms around her, nonchalantly unbuttoning her coat. Startling for a moment, she shrunk into further shyness, lowering her chin but keeping her eyes on the displays as he put his left hand under her wool sweater and down into the front of her stretch pants. Cupping the underside of her diaper from the front, he was happy to feel that she was staying warm. But, no. She hadn’t wet herself yet.
Kissing the top of her head, he took his hand out and put her back together, buttoning her coat and interfering no further with her admiration of this craftsman’s work. One display in particular that bugged her eyes out was of a snowy town that had buildings with Olde English style as well as building from 20th century America. It was all dusted with a white covering of flakes, resting alongside some snowy hills. Even the evergreen trees had a detailed covering of snow.
But it wasn’t just Noel who started taking such interest. Nick’s eyes locked onto the display that was sitting next to the one she was looking at. The display in front of him was of a skating rink, an old time looking skating rink. The scene was obviously in the middle of winter as the pond was frozen enough to skate on.
“Is that a real place?” she asked softly, seeing how fascinated he was with it.
“Yeah,” he replied with a smile. “It’s called The Horseshoe. It’s a pond that’s a part of Fetterman Park. It normally isn’t open unless it’s a really cold winter. So it might be open this year, but probably not today. Do you wanna go to it?”
“Yes!” she said, crinkling with excitement and clapping her mitted hands rapidly.
“I don’t know as it has a website. It’s not run by folks who are up to the minute with technology and all,” Nick stated. “But I’ll find out if it’s operating this year and we’ll pick a date.”
They didn’t buy the scene she was looking at. Miraculously, she bought nothing at all. But once she yawned, she knew it was time to go – Nick telling her that it was her nap time when they got home. She couldn’t have agreed more, not wanting to grow fussy in public because she was getting tired.
That would’ve been a different kind of scene.
Continue on to Sunday, December 12th