It was 11:59 pm when Nicoli’s train from Tecumsah pulled into the station. Trumpets blared announcing its arrival. It had been a long trip and they were late. They had been due in Syracuse hours earlier. He had been able to sleep and felt somewhat rested and eager to have a beer with his friends.
Nicoli stepped out onto the platform and a blast of bitter cold air hit his face. Snow was falling, a typical Syracuse welcome. He gathered his bag and trudged through the snow covered streets down the hill to town.
Lights shone in all the shops, pubs, at the theater, even at the golf clubhouse. A young couple maneuvered a horse-drawn sleigh as they rushed through town. Nicoli called but they appeared not to hear or see him, they just rushed on. Nicoli wondered, “Where is everyone? It is cold, but people in Syracuse don’t let that stop them, they still go out.”
He walked on. He was to meet his friends at Ryan’s. Where is Ryan’s? The directions Tom had given him made no sense, He couldn’t find the hospital or Armory Square, no Erie Boulevard. If only he could find someone to ask.
The couple in the sleigh rushed past again, still no seeing or hearing. He trudged on – to The Grapes Ale House, The Pied Bull Pub, past the Blenham Street Bank and back to the center of town. He could see The Globe Theater, two statues stood out front with trumpets raised, still there were no people going in or leaving, no people anywhere.
He spotted Kingsford’s Brew House and Burwickglen Golf Clubhouse and walked toward them. As he walked across the square, the couple in the sleigh stopped, he walked up to them. They appeared not to hear or see him until he shouted, “Hey, what is this? Where is Ryan’s? Where is everybody?”
The couple just laughed and said, “Why sir, don’t you know – you are in a Dickens Christmas Village.”