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“Evelyn, honey, I’m tired and I just want to pour myself a whisky, sit by the fireplace, and rest in the quiet.”

“But you look like you need some joy.”

“No, I look like I need some restful quiet. And a whisky.”

“And some joy. You need some joy.”

“Honey, I love you, but you need to go play somewhere else right now.”

“I’m just gonna go right over here.”

“And do what?”

“I’m going to get some of my joy out on the piano.”

“Hey, Evelyn?”


“Do you see the top of the piano?”


“It opens.”

“It does?”

“Yes, it does.”


“Two reasons. First, so that when the piano needs tuning, the guy who does it can access the wires and make it sound as nice as can be. Second, so that fathers in need of restful quiet beside fireplaces can put their joy-filled children inside where no one will find them—at least not until the piano guy comes to tune it.”

“I’m going to go be joyful upstairs with Madeline and Harrison.”

“Thanks, honey. I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Off she goes to spread her noisy joy with the others in the brood. But that’s just it, right now her joy is noisy. I love joy. And I want it, too. I just don’t want it to be in the decibel range of an eight-year-old girl singing “Jingle Bells” at the top of her lungs. I certainly don’t want joy delivered by way of that same little girl beating our piano to death with her fists. Maybe tomorrow, but not right now.

Right now I want quiet joy—timid and caressing—lazily undulating around me with sounds no louder than the crackling of a fire and the accidental clink of a rock glass against a bottle of something nice. And perhaps a book. Something from Dickens would be suitable. It’s been a while since I’ve read either of the two parts to Dombey and Son. Or I could go for a hasty tour through The Cricket on the Hearth, an original edition hand signed in 1846 by a Miss Milly Edgar and gifted to a man named Robert. It’s a cherished edition, as well as an easy read, one I could complete by a third of the bottle. But it would need to be a savory bottle. Alas, as with the book, the answer is before me.

The Glenfiddich Project XX edition is at hand and available for completing the scene.

Its cork on the table beside me and two fingers worth in the crystal, a generous scent of spiced fruitcake and sweet cream is free to roam among the warmed airstreams curling up from the fireplace’s flame. A sip and a savor allows red berries, caramel, and ginger to meet me just after eyeing the dedication page.

December, 1845.

The finish heartily negates any thoughts of choosing a different book or whisky for the moment. The mid-lasting citrus and cinnamon affirms that all is well, and that little else would match the delight being fostered.

Ah, but by the time I gather to page nine, I can hear so conspicuously and so cheerily a song drifting down to me from the upper floor of my home. It is one that speaks of jingling bells, a super hero who smells, and a sidekick who lays eggs. It is a tragedy of sorts, in that the hero’s transport has lost a wheel resulting in the villain’s escape.

Still, such a tragedy cannot pall my quiet joy. By way of the Project XX, it has, for the most part, been assuredly accomplished.