Benny Hill in Birch Falls?

January 3, 2022

How does a stuffed holiday novelty become a catalyst for a love story?

I grew up watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Benny Hill, and Dave Allen on late night cable. When I went away to college, I went to plenty of midnight on-campus showings of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and other classics. So it’s no surprise that when I was walking through a store one day and found a stuffed reindeer that played  the theme song from the Benny Hill show, I had to have it. It’s been an integral part of my holiday decorations ever since.

Why am I telling you this? Because in Bottom Line (Book 8 in the Callaghan Brothers series), two characters from completely different worlds bond over a shared love of offbeat British comedies. And what brings them together? Why, a sax-playing stuffed reindeer, of course!

A fireplace took up a fair portion of the outside wall to the left of the big bay window. On the mantle was a goofy-looking reindeer with a Santa hat poised around its ridiculous antlers, a matching scarf around its neck, and eyes bulging comically as it gripped a gold saxophone. Unable to help himself, Aidan pushed the small red velvet oval on the creature’s foot and a familiar melody began to play.

“Benny Hill!” he exclaimed as he recognized the jazzy, upbeat tune he remembered from his youth, when he used to stay up late to watch reruns of the British comic on cable.

“Yeah! You know Benny Hill?“

One of my favorites,” Aidan confessed. On a sudden whim, he added, “And now for something…”

“…completely different,” Mary finished without hesitation.

They both laughed.

“Don’t tell me you like Monty Python, too?”

And there you have it. Packing away that silly reindeer signals an end to my holiday season, when winter digs in its heels and the festive fades away, leaving people feeling a bit lost and lonelier than usual. It’s the perfect time for a croie to make him or herself known, don’t you think?