China Pattern by Waechtersbach*
I hope you've had a moment to glance at my recent Fortnightly blog post: "Another Faraway Auld Lang Syne" (December 28, 2010). And I hope you were touched as I and my family have been by William Saroyan's short short story "The Faraway Night." (My talented son Ben actually memorized this entire piece and recited it at a school Declamation program when he was in junior high!)
If you enjoyed Saroyan's reverie, you might also like to take a look at F. Scott Fitzgerald's story of youthful infatuation and gradual disillusion -- "Winter Dreams" (click for text).
The opening and closing lines caught my imagination long ago and have remained as one of my own winter dreams:
"In the fall when the days became crisp and gray, and the long Minnesota winter shut down like the white lid of a box, Dexter's skis moved over the snow that hid the fairways of the golf course. At these times the country gave him a feeling of profound melancholy--it offended him that the links should lie in enforced fallowness, haunted by ragged sparrows for the long season. It was dreary, too, that on the tees where the gay colors fluttered in summer there were now only the desolate sand-boxes knee-deep in crusted ice. When he crossed the hills the wind blew cold as misery, and if the sun was out he tramped with his eyes squinted up against the hard dimensionless glare.
"In April the winter ceased abruptly. The snow ran down into Black Bear Lake scarcely tarrying for the early golfers to brave the season with red and black balls. Without elation, without an interval of moist glory, the cold was gone. . . .
"As so frequently would be the case in the future, Dexter was unconsciously dictated to by his winter dreams.
*More Winter Dreams: Years ago, when my sister Peg was living in Germany, she sent me a gorgeous teapot, cups and saucers in the above pattern. I've since acquired a few coffee mugs and dessert plates, perfect for serving a late afternoon pick-me-up by the fire on a cold January day.