I am not a practical joke person. Are you?
This week our super short Christmas story, Reginald’s Christmas Revel by H.H. Munro, details a holiday gathering full of mishaps and ends with Reginald mischievously causing a commotion during his visit with the Babwolds.
Growing up, my extended family all lived nearby so I didn’t experience staying with relatives or friends for the holidays as we find Reginald doing in this story. My dad was a dairy farmer, so we needed to fit in our Christmas activities between the morning and afternoon milking. My grandparents on one side lived about 45 minutes away; after my siblings and I opened our gifts we would all pile in the van for a yummy meal and another round of presents with all the cousins. My dad’s family was literally 5 minutes away, so celebrations with that side didn’t require much travel at all!
I sort of envied my friends who packed bags and settled in for game nights and meals and all the fun of sharing a home and table for several days.
Unfortunately, poor Reginald wasn’t a huge fan of his fellow housemates for this holiday visit! I had to laugh at the sarcasm and wit woven throughout the story. I’m an introverted listener and am usually pretty patient with even the longest of story tellers. I’m not sure I would have made it with this crew though!
Did you (or do you) travel and stay with people during the holidays? What are some of your stories from those visits?
The story ends with the trick that Reginald plays on Miss Langshan-Smith, who as Reginald describes her was “a rather formidable lady, who always got up at some uncomfortable hour in the morning, and gave you the impression that she had been in communication with most of the European governments before breakfast”.
I don’t know if I find Reginald’s trick particularly humorous, but I can imagine it was quite the shock and disruption for poor Miss Langshan-Smith and the other guests!
Okay, I would love to know: are you a practical jokester? What kinds of tricks have you played on others? Any holiday related ones?
If you enjoyed this story, Reginald appears in several other short stories! Check them out:
The next two weeks we get to hear from two book-loving friends in the community about their favorite reads of 2020! Come add your own lists in the comments.
December 22: Top 5 Books of 2020
December 29: Top 5 Books of 2020
“The account that inspired Melville’s masterpiece and shook an island’s reputation only told one side of Captain Chase’s story. In this tale, his wife and daughter tell their side for the first time.
Nantucket whaleman Owen Chase is not at home for the birth of most of his children, including his firstborn, Phebe Ann. Owen’s wife, Peggy, works to maintain a sense of security while hoping and praying that Owen is safe. But as Peggy is quietly marveling at Phebe’s development, Owen’s ship, half a world away, is rammed and sunk by an angry whale.
Against all odds—and contrary to preliminary reports—Owen returns home, seemingly well, to his stunned relatives and neighbors. But will life ever be the same for him and anyone who knows and loves him?
Experiential narratives of both Peggy and Phebe span decades of the Chase family’s story to illuminate life at the height of the whaling era and grace for dealing with significant hardships in a timeless, moving way.”