When we got to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland we noticed a bunch of plastic chairs set up in front of a TV, in the large vestibule just before the main floor. We joked it was for all the bored husbands waiting for wives to buy every Christmas thing imaginable. We learned we weren't joking when we noticed they were all guys (mostly adults, some kids), watching the Lions game. All right, then.
We'd gone there for bunny_hugger's birthday, as we had the year before. The difference this year is her parents didn't come with us. bunny_hugger's mother was still nearly incapacitated by her back injuries and she might be up to doing something for their wedding anniversary, but the hour-plus ride to Frankenmuth to walk around all day was not it. On the bright side this did mean we could poke around in our typical, casual, very slow way without worrying about boring her parents. We didn't actually look at everything in the shop, since no mere finite number of human beings can. But we did spend more time considering, like, the carved-wood renditions of Lilo and Stitch than we otherwise might have.
It seemed to us there was more Thanksgiving merchandise than the previous year, or we just had more time to search it out. I'm not saying it's necessarily stuff we'd buy, although figurines of mice using candy corn and autumn leaves to play at being turkeys is weirdly charming. And we failed once again to find a terra-cotta turkey figure suitable for putting on the mantle. bunny_hugger did find a baffling pair of turkey ornaments that were all right but not quite what we wanted. They're turkey-shaped, yes, but very thin, as though meant to be bookholders. But they're too light to stand up to the rigors of holding up a series of books or even a stiff breeze. They're attractive, and they'd do for the season's decoration, but their exact purpose is a mystery. We don't even know what to call them; the Bronner's tag didn't have anything to clear up what they were besides turkey figures.
Bronner's web site suggested they had ornaments featuring the raccoons from the Rankin/Bass classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Wait, what raccoons from the Rankin/Bass classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer you ask? Yes, three different ornaments. Did not see any of them in the actual store so maybe they're web site exclusives. They did have a surprisingly large number of raccoon figures, though, and I picked up some for myself and some to send to Royce, and then kept one I'd meant to send and sent one I'd meant to keep. Well, no actual harm done. (Here's one of the baffling Rudolph ornaments. Coach Hermey?)
Among the things Bronner's offers is customization of ornaments, putting a set name on stuff. This is even free, at least for ordinary-grade ornaments. bunny_hugger thought to get one with a dragon and her own name, the sort of thing we'd have loved as kids had anyone in the 70s realized that kids love dragon stuff. And among the many, many pet ornaments, among the many, many rabbit ornaments, was a white one promising I Love My Rabbit ... with space for a name. She got it inscribed to Columbo, the first of two ornaments we'd get, neither of which we'd hang before his body failed him.
We had a great day, even staying long enough to close out Bronner's. (It was a Sunday; they closed early.) Were her parents there we'd not have been able to stay so long and see so much, including the outside lights at night. Many of those were the same kind set up at Crossroads Village for its holiday spectacular; here, we could watch them up close and in much better weather.
Afterwards we went in to Frankenmuth proper. Part of this was we'd heard that there totally were a couple pinball games there, including a FunHouse, and we wanted to search with what seemed like more reliable information about where it was. We didn't find it. We did find in the gift shop complex underneath one of the big restaurants this great bird marionette. It turned out to be really easy to work, apart from being a foot or two too short for adults, and it inspired bunny_hugger to get a taller one for Christmas. We also got to Cheese Haus, picking up some fine and exotic, garlicky cheese spreads, and also a block of chocolate cheese that's good and that we keep forgetting we have.
Also we discovered that the door handles at the Bavarian Inn have these dragon-head figures. We'd not noticed before, but we maybe hadn't come in through those doors before. Great to discover stuff like that.
Trivia: NBC's first (1937) contract to have Arturo Toscanini was for him to host ten performances for a salary of $40,000 plus --- at his wife Carla's insistence --- income tax. Source: The Mighty Music Box: The Golden Age of Musical Radio, Thomas A Delong.
Currently Reading: A Short History of the Office of Price Administration, Harvey C Mansfield and Associates.
So during the group photo there was a bit where just everybody was pointing for some reason? I don't know.
PunkCat in his raccoon suit drawing focus away from like sixty people in suit.
Poor helpless photographers stranded atop the hotel, doomed to appear only once a year for group-photo taking and then disappear again. Also I realize they're all in short sleeves, so I guess it was one of the warm-weather years for the con.