The Block Island Times
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More boats and trucks

By Martha Ball | Dec 04, 2012

We last saw the Pesky Pond Troll of Clay Head Swamp happily ensconced atop one of his favorite things, the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree in Esta’s Park, following with a childlike delight all boats landing and all the big equipment brought in to repair the roads.

Generally, on his excursions to town, he hung around a bit until he got bored and hopped on a truck headed back down the Neck. He never went to town in the summer, never at all until last year when, exhausted from all his scavenging on Clay Head Trail and the beach below, he’d crawled into the bed of a parked truck and fallen asleep, waking up when the vehicle was moving. What a ride it had been, all the houses blazing, and the Great Salt Pond filled with little white lights, just like a Christmas display!

He found he liked town at night, there were no mopeds to dodge as there were in the daytime, and it wasn’t hot and everyone was eating ice cream! He loved sneaking into the movie house to enjoy the show on the big screen after he’d scampered around devouring half eaten cones held by children. It was a public service he was providing, one he started after hearing a child admonished with “You wanted the whole thing!” He considered hitting the parent, always fun when one was invisible, but instead just sidled his troll self up behind the little girl and oh so gently took the cone out of her hand before slipping back into the shadows — he didn’t like being stepped on — and devouring the ice cream.

He worried — fleetingly, as were most of his worries about his own behavior — that he was contributing to delinquency when the little girl proudly announced she had eaten the whole thing. The ice cream shops should give him an award; he was saving all these kids from bad ice cream memories that might hinder future sales.

Even at Christmas, he came in only after dark to see the lights, and last year had discovered this wonderful Lobster Pot Tree and spent his time shuttling back and forth between it and the big lighted tree on the church lawn. He’d scale one, then go lie under another, then do it over again.

The tree on the hill was up but not yet lighted, so the PPT spent his time happily ensconced in the barrel atop the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree, so accommodating was the builder of the tree, even making sure there were starry holes though which the PPT could watch the activities about the harbor. Not that anyone could see him, but he appreciated the protection it afforded.

There was so much going on in town! He knew it was a holiday weekend but he hadn’t expected to see so many people. They were everywhere, not like summer, but quite a few wandering about in the sunny afternoon. Many stopped to express their delight over the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree, which the PPT had begun to believe was all his idea and his doing, right of conquest and all that.

The movie house was closed, there would be no sneaking in there, but he had discovered the library where something was always going on. His heavy coat wasn’t designed for indoor living so he rarely stayed long, but he had a great time tripping the counter at the door, chortling when he thought of the staff looking at the attendance for November. Then there was the church up on the hill, filled with Christmas greenery, garlands of evergreen and pretty bowed wreaths. It was cool at night, he discovered he could wander in as long as he was careful not to rouse that black dog who still lived upstairs.

He went up to the Animal Farm and visited with the alpacas who for some odd reason could see him. It was fine, he truly admired their attitude, the way they ignored visitors who wanted to coo over their very fine coats. He wondered absently what kind of yarn the mill could spin from a Pond Troll fleece, but it was the wrong time of year to think of shearing. Wouldn’t they be surprised, though, to find such bounty on their doorstep?

The PPT liked to slip into a few shops and look at things shiny and bright and he especially liked the real estate office with the inviting porch and cheery white lights, the place where all the pretty ladies worked. It would have been quite nice but for the distinctive aura of Dog — what was it with this town? There were dogs everywhere! There was even a restaurant named after one, and others devoted to their silly needs.

And the trucks kept moving. The boats, their sterns disconcertingly lower than their bows, arrived with more and more stone. They kept him in town, the trucks and the heavy equipment and the construction going well after dark and starting long before the sun rose. He loved the big vehicles with the very bright white lights that he imagined he would be able to see all the way from his swamp.

Then the people went home, the shops closed and the PPT was getting bored, even with all that road work to supervise. As he was getting ready to head home he noticed a commotion up on the church lawn, near the big dark tree, and sneaked closer to find a table of goodies, and singing — his favorite things. There were lots and lots of little people, all bundled up in winter clothes, with funny hats that made even a cranky Pond Troll smile. And they were all taking pictures. He kept cramming himself into them, never mind that the most that could possibly register would be a shadow, a smudge.

Then to top it all off, Santa suddenly arrived and the big tree came to life. There were two lighted trees in view of each other. He liked that very much. Still, he was getting homesick, it was windy on the hill, and when he noticed a familiar car he crept into the back seat knowing it would eventually go down the Neck, back to the edge of his beloved swamp.

He’d remember to be cranky tomorrow, but for now he was a very happy Pond Troll, his tummy full of cookies and hot chocolate, his heart brightened by all the Christmas cheer.

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