In the spirit of Sherry’s literary Christmas posts (check out her sidebar–a smorgasbord of Christmas goodness!), today I am sharing one of my favorite parts of the last Melendy novel, Spiderweb for Two. The plot of the novel revolves around the two youngest Melendys’ extended scavenger hunt that is put on for them by some anonymous person. However, in the middle of story, there is a chapter-long Christmas interlude during which all of the Melendys are back at home in the Four Story Mistake. Way back when we read it, I wanted to share this bit, but I exercised a little self control and waited until Christmas. 🙂
None of the Melendys ever forgot that vacation–in the memory of each those weeks had a shine and glitter that would never grow dim. For one thing the weather was right. December, unlike some Decembers, seemed to have modeled itself on all the Christmas cards in the world. It snowed and snowed, and when it did not snow, the sun came out and the fields sparkled as if they had been covered with granulated sugar. There was hardly any wind, so the trees kept their heavy epaulettes of snow, and the iron deer in front of the house wore big white mobcaps on their antlers.
“I keep expecting the smoke to come out of the chimney and form the words, ‘Season’s Greetings,'” said Rush.
The children were in and out of the house all day; nobody’s galoshes ever had a chance to dry, and Cuffy just spread newspapers all over the hall and gave up worrying about footprints.
Outdoors the scene was a litter of sleds; Melendy sleds and the sleds of friends, whizzing down the hillsides between the trees, or idle and abandoned on teh snowy lawn. Mark and Rush and Dave Addison skied down the east slope (where there were plenty of good hazards), and even Willy Sloper took to snowshoes: he looked like a bit web-footed duck as he tracked across the pastures. Oliver and Billy Anton got two dishpans and went spinning, toplike, down the south slope until they were dizzy and sick at their stomachs, and then they’d lie down quietly in the deep cold feather beed of snow until they felt well enough to start spinning again. The dogs had white beards all the time; and the air smelled very clean–so dry and cold that everyone’s nostrils felt crackly inside. (120-121)