Happy Birthday Vincent?

Sharon Holtz

It was after 6, when Catherine finally left the Court House. She lamented to herself, "Of all days for the Judge to run so late! And, I still have to make a couple of stops too. At this rate, it is going to be after 8 before I make it down to the tunnels to share Vincentís Birthday with him."

The first stop on her list though, Catherine was more than happy to make, and that was to Mr. Smytheís book store. She had nearly given up hope that her book order would arrive in time, but happily, early afternoon, Mr. Smythe finally called her. In his monotone manner, he told her that the order she had placed weeks ago, just came in! Yes, like a miracle, it arrived in time for Vincentís Birthday!

Her next stop on the list, was to the music store. She wanted to pick up just one more item she knew Vincent would enjoy. As she paid for her purchase, the sales clerk offered to do a quickie gift wrap job for a small additional fee. Knowing that would save her some valuable time, Catherine took the sales clerk up on her offer. Looking at her watch, Catherine thought, "Hmm, I am making pretty good time!"

Just then, a big burly guy bumped into her, and sent her, and her packages flying, landing all over the floor! The man was as sorry as could be, and kept apologizing as he helped her to her feet. She smiled at this character who was a little rough around the edges, graciously telling him she was just fine. He explained the reason he was ramming around like a bull in a china shop, was because he was late for his friend Bubbaís Birthday Bash! He then added, "But I know that ainít no excuse to run into a delicate little flower such as yourself! It seems the hurrier I go, the behinder I git!"

As he handed Catherine her packages, he noted, "Hey lookey here! Your CD is wrapped up just like mine!" Worriedly Catherine asked, "Oh my! Are you sure this one is mine?"

In a confident manner the character donning a John Deere hat, stated, "Positutely!"

After a final reassurance to the clumsy man that she was ok, she was now on her way. Trekking through the snow covered park bearing gifts, she was finally there at the tunnel entrance! Chilled to the bone, and a little late maybe, but she was THERE, and she could not wait to see her Vincent!

As the huge iron door slid open, there he stood, looking so majestic and beautiful! Snuggling into his waiting arms, she breathlessly said, "Happy Birthday Vincent...I am sorry to be so late!"

With a smile in his sparkling blue eyes, he rested his head on hers, and replied, "You are here now...that is all that matters."

Smiling up at him, she agreeably said, "Yes..."

As they walked arm in arm back to his chamber, Vincent asked, "Catherine...earlier...I sensed something was wrong, are you well?"

Amazed, yet not amazed Vincent knew she had gotten hurt, she smiled to herself as she answeredhis question, "Well, my derriŤre is a little sore, but other than that, I am fine." She went on to explain, "What happened was I had collided with another shopper earlier, who was going to a Birthday celebration too, I believe he said that his friendís name was Bubba! Quite a name uh?"

Nodding Vincent agreed, saying, "Indeed."

With a slight laugh, she added, "What a calamity Vincent! You should have seen us! Both of our packages flew everywhere!" Excitedly she continued, "Speaking of which, I cannot wait for you to open your presents. I hope you will like them."

Elegantly he said, "Anything you have chosen for me, I am sure I will treasure Catherine..."

As they entered his chamber, Catherine quickly stepped up to warm her hands over the smoldering embers within the huge copper kettle. Gingerly, Vincent helped her off with her coat, prompting Catherine to look up at him, to show her pleasure at this gentlemanly gesture.

After a paused entranced moment, he thoughtfully said, "I steeped some of the tea you like, in anticipation that you would be chilled upon your arrival."

Carefully, she took the steaming cup from his hands, and after taking a sip, she said, "Thank you...this is just what I needed."

As a smile enveloped her face, she set down her cup, before picking up one of the gifts. Softly she requested, "Please...open this one first."

Compliantly he nodded, and playfully he gave the package a little shake. With a pondering tone, he teasingly asked, "Hmm, what could this be?"

Suspecting that he was having fun with her, she eagerly suggested, "Well you could open it, and find out." Unwrapping the gift, he smiled the moment he realized it was a book, and saw...what book it was. With a huskilated deep whisper, he read the title aloud, "The Comedies of Shakespeare..." Looking up at her, he said, "I am without words Catherine."

Sweetly, she said, "I know you have most of Shakespeareís works, such as the sonnets, poetry and the tragic plays he had written, but I thought it would be fun for you to read some of Shakespeareís humorous writings too."

With a slight nod, he contentedly replied, "And it shall be..." Thoughtfully, he leafed through the pages, stopping to read a random passage or two, before softly saying, "Neat."

Happy that he seemed pleased with his first gift, Catherine handed him his other, and excitedly said,"You have one more gift to open Vincent..."

As Vincent held the small, flat, square package in his hands, he at once recognized the shape of it. And that was because Catherine had given him some classical music CDís, along with a portable player, as a gift this past Christmas. So he now intuitively guessed, "This feels like a CD. I am wondering, could this be another classical music selection to add to my growing collection?"

Raising her brow, she encouragingly said, "You are right, it is a classical CD, but...at least you donít know which one."

In agreement, Vincent said that was true, and then went on to inspect the gift wrapping. Prompting him to note, "Such lovely paper Catherine."

Admitting that she had it gift wrapped at the music store, she moved him along by saying,

"I thought it was pretty too. Now quit stalling and open it! I am dying to see if you like what I got for you!"

As he opened his gift, he knitted his brow as he read the title to himself. Questionably, he turned the CD over, to read the index on the back, hoping that would give him a clue as to why Catherine, had chosen this CD for him.

Sadly Catherine asked, "Whatís wrong Vincent? I thought you liked Beethoven."

Vincent validated Catherineís impression by saying, "Yes I like Beethoven very much...however...I donít believe this is..."

An over anxious Catherine, butted in while Vincent was still talking, and suggested, "Great! Then letís play it!" Eagerly, she popped the shiny new CD into the player, and waited for the beautiful symphony to begin. To her shock and dismay, instead of music, she heard:

"You might be a Red-Neck... if your family tree doesnít fork!"

"You might be a Red-Neck... if you go to your Family Reunion...looking for girls!"

"You might be a Red-Neck... if you lie through your tooth!"


Catherine looked up at Vincent in horror, and said, "This is Jeff Foxworthy not Beethoven! Oh no! That man and I, must have gotten our gifts mixed up!"

Vincent saw how upset Catherine was, and he sincerely tried not to laugh at the mix up, or...at the jokes the comedian was telling! So instead he, protectively brought Catherine into his arms, and said, "Donít be upset Catherine...try to look on the lighter side of this situation."

With tears brimming in her eyes, she asked, "What could that lighter side possibly be?" Tenderly lifting her chin, Vincent sweetly said, "Just think Catherine, somewhere in the world above,

Bubba is guzzling a beer, and eating pork rinds, listening to my Ludwig van Beethoven!"