Twenty years ago (give or take) Elaine and I decided to move to the country. Elaine looked at properties on the internet every week until she found the house she wanted to look at.
I remember it well, It was October, seventeen years ago. Elaine asked if she could show me a house, she was interested in. We took off from the city on a foggy autumn day and drove for what seemed forever.
As the drive went on Elaine instructed me to “Turn here, and then go down the road and turn again.” I started to wonder, “How do you know where to turn?” “Oh, I’ve been here before”, she replied. “That’s great, I’m at work and you are taking the day off and driving around.” She’s like that.
When we arrived at the house Elaine wanted me to see, I laughed, “Why in the (construction language) would I want to live here?”
Elaine: Hear me out. Think of the “white” Christmases. This would be a great place to celebrate. Me: I do like Christmas.
She had other reasons, some good some bad. It was that Christmas thing that sealed the deal for me.
I wrote the previous paragraphs to provide a backstory for what I am going to write about. The truth is, I do love Christmas. I think God realized what Christmas means to me and turned me into a Santa replica. God could have chosen that other guy with great importance to Christmas, but frankly, I haven’t lived that kind life.
We moved into Elaine’s dream home the next spring. It took about six months to get the previous homeowner to accept our offer. We’ve had sixteen or so Christmases here. Some good, some not so good. I think about three of the Christmases have been “white”.
This Christmas season is “white”. I’m telling you, it’s not that great. The snow is deep. The temperatures are cold. The twins are teenagers. And, worst of all, I had to go to not one, but two Christmas parties.
Let’s get to the story. Living this far from town, I have always had a solid excuse not to attend Christmas parties. Driving home late at night is something that has lost its luster for me. This house has helped me get out of a bunch of undesirable stuff.
Last October, Elaine asked if I wanted to attend her companies Christmas party. I’ve been married over forty years. I knew when she asked, she was telling me we were going. I did ask where it was going to be held and what I was required to wear. “Wear anything you want!” I fell for it because, I had no say in the decision anyway.
Last November, I received an email, inviting Elaine and I to my company’s Christmas party. I ignored the email. A few days later, my employer telephoned, “Hey, are you coming to the party?’ I panicked. I said yes before I could think of an excuse not to go. My only hope was that Elaine’s party would be on the same night.
As luck would have it, the parties were both on Saturday night. Sadly, they were on consecutive Saturday nights. I was going to both parties.
My party was first. The company I work for has eight employees including myself. Excluding one employee, I am twenty years(+) older, than all other employees.
The party was at one of our town’s “finer” restaurants. We could order anything off the menu, and I would have, but it was so dark I couldn’t read the (construction language) thing. I thought I could read the word “salmon” on the menu. (I could.) I ordered that. It was quite good. All two and half bites.
The bar was “open.” Boy, was it. Listening to some of the conversations, I soon realized Elaine and I were the only ones that didn’t have overnight babysitters and rides home planned.
One hour into the party, Elaine and I heard the occasional (construction language). Two hours, the (construction language) became more prevalent. Three hours later, mostly (construction language) but louder. I can’t say what happened after hour four, including hours five, six, seven and eight. (Not kidding.) Elaine and I went home after hour four, I mentioned we didn’t have a sitter.
The following Saturday (Last night.) was Elaine’s party. Elaine’s company has around forty employees. Elaine knows about ten of them. I know about four or five. We had the pleasure of sitting with people we have known for thirty years. It was nice.
Elaine’s party was held in one of those restaurants that have funny dressed waiters running around with knives and hunks of meat. They ask if you would like to try some of the meat. If you want to try the meat, they cut a small piece off the hunk they are carrying. Te meat was , was quite good. That said, if you go there, try the wild game chili from the soup and salad bar. You won’t need the waiter handing you small chunks of meat.
Elaine’s party handled the drinks differently than my party. At Elaine’s party, they passed out drink tickets. Two tickets for each attendee. I tried to cash one of my tickets for a whiskey and coke. Nope, I had only beer and wine tickets. Just to know a little about me, I have never tasted a wine that doesn’t taste like I would imagine licking a sweaty sock. Beer! I just don’t understand it.
The waitress told me I would need to pay for my own drink. She must have known I brought a credit card. Later she told me I didn’t need to pay for my whiskey. I don’t know why. Maybe it was a Christmas miracle!
Elaine and I didn’t stay four hours (not even three). The conversation was great. It was nice seeing old friends.
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God Bless and Merry Christmas!
Our crazy lives!