Friday, December 26, 2003

CHRISTMAS MARATHON. Well, I survived. Isn’t there a song about that? I survived 5 Christmas celebrations and lived to blog about it. Not bad for a guy that seldom gets the Christmas spirit before Christmas Eve, and sometimes not at all.

First came Christmas with my brother and his family. They were going to his in-laws for Christmas, so we celebrated with them last Saturday. My youngest nephew is famous for opening his present, shrugging his shoulders, and throwing the gift on the floor. He was a little better this year, so maybe there is hope.

Second, we went to Tulsa to see the Oldest Daughter. She is still playing make believe at 23. We saw her in A Christmas Carol, where she played the Ghost Of Christmas Past. She did well and sang well. Afterward we met some of the other cast members who congratulated her on being the best “Past”. It is truly weird to talk to the male actors after a play. They have on this garish make-up that makes them all look like psychotic killers in drag from some horror movie. They are mostly super elated from the closing applause and flit around as if on cocaine. Or maybe I am missing something. Most of them did all this work for free, by the way, spending hours rehearsing and abandoning their families. It was interesting. And, it keeps them off the streets and the sex offender registry.

Third, we had Christmas with the in-laws. This involves having an early supper so we can go to the Christmas Eve service. This service was once held from eleven to midnight, which was romantic and, well, “Christmasy”, to make up a word. But I guess the new pastor liked to go to bed early, or do last minute Christmas shopping, for he moved it up to 6pm. Now, you must know that, as hard as it is to get the Little Woman out the door, her parents are infinitely harder. Often we all head to the car to find the M-I-L missing. So, we go back in the house, turn off the alarm, and find her in the bathroom or something, and repeat the process.

The service was really good this year, though. One reason was, the pastor did not do the kids story. You know the one. It is where he has all the kids come to the front while he reads a long story, they lose interest and begin walking around the stage, pulling each other’s hair, crying, and trying to use the bathroom. Parents go up to the edge of the stage and try to coax the worst offenders down without disturbing the pastor. Of course, the kid never comes. He either shakes his head for “no”, or runs off behind the pastor’s chair, or cries, or tries to use the bathroom in front of everyone.

Fourth, we had Christmas at home on Christmas morning in our traditional, highly ritualistic way. It goes like this. The kids wake up and begin banging on the floor upstairs to let mom and dad know it is time to get up. We torture them by telling them they cannot come down yet. They come down and we take their picture. They find their Santa Clause gift and, hopefully, express great joy and appreciation. Then we all open presents, one at a time, give hugs all around, and I try to drink as much coffee as possible. Then my mother calls and asks if we are ever coming over.

Fifth, we went to Mom’s, ate lunch, opened more presents, sat around, and finally, ended the whole thing. And I never attempted suicide even once.

The Little Woman went to work. So, the girls and I sat around and watched Alias reruns from the DVD I got for Christmas.

And, yes, Starbucks was closed. I only went up there once and stood at the door. Really.

Oh, and I took food to the nurses who were working the night away with the Little Woman.

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