It would be a great tragedy (to someone, maybe) if I let ye olde Winter Solstice slip by without sharing a Stonehenge story. No, really. I have a Stonehenge Story. And it doesn't necessarily consist of ripping off Eddie Izzard.
I had the opportunity to visit Stonehenge -- located down the road from Stick-Henge and Straw-Henge (DOH! Sorry Eddie) -- when I was about sixteen years old. I was a member of the fugly red-sweatered and navy-blue-pantsed church group that spent a couple weeks touring and one week singing at The Royal School of Church Music.
Cue the smells and bells.
During a portion of our sightseeing adventures, we had our own tourmobile, complete with our perpetually hung-over driver, Martin, and our tour guide, The Evil Crone Pat (TECPat). TECPat could best be described as a cross between The Wicked Witch of The West and a demonic Mary Poppin whose long-handled pointy umbrella you did NOT want to find yourself at the other end of.
For the most part, my gang of four commandeered a couple of seats in the back of the Her Majesty's ScoobyVan that had a table between them, and we played hearts and euchre nonstop. Martin consumed his daily breakfast of extra strength aspirin, and the TECPat droned on and on and on about the destination of the day while we shamelessly ignored her.
On a lovely summer day when everything was crumpets and tea, we found ourselves zipping down country lanes and English Gardens on the way to Stonehenge. Despite the age demographic placing us squarely in the column entitled TEENAGERS WHO HATE EVERYTHING, we were all fairly excited to go. It was outside. It was a nice day. And best of all, IT WASN'T A CATHEDRAL.
TECPat got on the horn and began her spiel about Stonehenge. But it was not the usual glowing attributes to Merrie Olde England. Oh No. It was a certifiable, 100% RANT on what a disappointment Stonehenge was going to be. We wouldn't like it at all. It was just a bunch of rocks blah, blah, blah.
Poor Pat. Poor misguided Pat. Maybe she thought she was sucking up to the unappeasable American Youth. Maybe she hated rock formations. Maybe she had relatives who found themselves sucked into the Druidic culture and wore nothing but brown (sorry again, Eddie). Whatever it was, she was on a roll of unholy bitchitude.
We loved it. We ate it up. And then...we made her suffer. Because we could. The closer we got to Stonehenge, the more obnoxious we became. We stared out the window and with every rock on the side of the road, we shouted with faux excitement "There it IS! There it IS!" When we finally pulled into full view of Stonehenge, we let out a collective disappointed "awwwww" as if we were Charlie Brown on Halloween.
I cannot tell you what brought us more satisfaction -- TECPat turning 29 shades of pissed-off purple, or our virtuous HolyHolyHoly chaperones cracking up because on that day, even the Saints had a smartass funny bone.