Jingle Bells

Farmyard in Winter, Jean-Francois Miller, 1868

Dashing through the lack of snow, in a hundred horsepower Prius we go, laughing all the way, over the cornfields we go. Bells on instrument clusters ring, making our spirits bright. O what fun it is to ride and sing a Prius song tonight. Jingle bells, gas pump bells, there are so many bells on the way! O what fun it is to ride a hundred horsepower Prius tonight and get 50 MPG too.

We drove to Ann Arbor today, a trip that we’ve made more often than I can count. On this road trip, like on so many other of our recent such trips, we listened to an audio book. It helps to break the monotony, making the miles pass by faster. As is our want, we chose a destination themed book. Since we were headed to Ann Arbor, I searched for a local author and found whole catalogs chock full of them, but it was an NPR article that steered us to Harry Dolan and his 2006 murder-mystery, “Bad Things Happen.”

Who knew that this once sweet little burg had become such a den of crime. Peppered with local references, its mysterious protagonist tries to navigate the literary world as the editor for a crime story magazine. All goes well until the bodies begin to pile up. The book opens with a version of that old saw, a friend will help you move, but only a really good friend will help you move a body.

This story is not exactly great literature, which only makes you wonder at the quality of the stories that are talked about and that the magazine rejects, but it did help make the trip go by. We are about three-quarters of the way through, so we don’t know how it ends, but we did learn that if the Ann Arbor police are after you, your best bet for escape is US-23 to Toledo. I am reminded of Hunter S. Thompson’s advice, “Drive as fast as possible towards the nearest state line.”

Secularly pictured is a manger. It’s dark interior shows some farm animals, but not its depths. With days until Christmas, there is plenty of time for a nativity.

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