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'Twas the day after Christmas...

December 26th, 2008 (09:40 pm)

current mood: indescribable

The other night when The Brides were at The Compound, Lindsey cracked some nuts from a bowl sitting on the table. The nutcracker and the matching picks were in stuff of my mother's that I kept because I remember using them on so many occasions, especially holidays, when my father, uncles, and cousins would tell stories while we shelled pecans for my mother's pies.

Daddy and Cousin Bruce, Christmas 1973

The others' parents had similar nutcracker sets, including wooden bowls with slots for the nutcracker and picks, and they also had memories like mine of sitting with older family members and listening to stories while everyone cracked pecans and walnuts.

Some of those memories were in my head today when I stood in line at the post office behind a man--maybe eighty-ish--dressed in blue coveralls and a jacket and leaning on a cane. There were only two postal employees to take care of a long line of us, and I found myself hoping that everyone behind me would have a little patience as the clerk helped the elderly man. He was sending a couple of packages, and he also bought stamps to put on some letters and cards. Except he didn't realize he didn't need to lick the stamps, He couldn't understand why they wouldn't stay on the envelopes, and the clerk was the very soul of kindness as she showed him how to peel the adhesive stamps off the backing then helped him finish stamping his mail.

By the time I got to her, there was no way I could have said anything without crying, so I just tried to let my politeness convey my gratitude for the way she helped him without belittling him in any way. As I was walking out the door, I heard the next person at her window say, "YOU ARE SO NICE!"

When I got home, I had an e-mail in which I was asked, "Who got the coasters this year?" It's very gratifying that some of our silly holiday traditions are remembered. I first talked about The Coasters on LJ on Christmas Eve 2005, when I was advance planning about how to pay back their potential return to me.

Two days later, I had to confess that I'd been bested again..

In 2006, I provided the update and sad tale of one-upmanship in this post.

In 2007, life was pretty much insane from October on, especially at Christmas, and if I posted about the coasters, I have no memory of it. I do know I got them back, because I put them with my dishes, where Lynne said, "I see them!" on Wednesday afternoon when she opened that cabinet. I gave her a guileless look and mumbled something about keeping them this year.

She wasn't buying it for a minute.

For years, I've given her hippopotamuses for Christmas because of that damn song she always sings. This year, I found a really cute hippo ornament that fit perfectly into the small wooden crate the coasters are in. I nestled him inside then put hippo and crate into a beautiful gift box.

When she opened it, she gave me the death-ray glare, and I was all, "What? WHAT?!? There are no coasters. There's only the hippopotamus in a cute crate that fits him perfectly!"

"Hippos do NOT live in wooden crates," she said. "I know those coasters are around here somewhere."

But she finished opening all her gifts and lo, no coasters. I waited a decent interval before I said to Tom, "Isn't there another gift in the car?" which earned knowing jeers from her son Jess, stepdaughter April, son-in-law Nick, and two grandsons Trey and Tyler, while daughter-in-law Laura just looked relieved because she knew she wasn't this year's coaster victim.

Except after Tom went to the car, he returned with this:

A painting I commissioned from Timothy (link takes you to some of his other paintings).

ART, for heaven's sake. Not coasters! And as you know, Tim often paints the backs of his canvases, too, and I took a shot of this one before I left the house:

But something happened on the way to Green Acres, so when Tom turned it around for Lynne:

Those coasters were attached to the back! It's a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!

Since I'm sure they were giving me insomnia, you'd think I could sleep in heavenly peace now that they're gone, right?

No. Tom's birthday is on Christmas Day, and Lynne always bakes him a cake. This year, she baked him a pan of brownies, but she had an interesting presentation:

As we sang "Happy Birthday" to him, Nick and Jess lifted the tablecloth.

WTF? Lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange slice plates, dessert plates, bowls, and cups? WHO MAKES THIS STUFF FOR HER TO FIND AND USE TO TORMENT ME?

You know, I think it's time for me to alter an old curse blessing saying that my mother used to direct toward my sister and me: "I hope, one day, you have a [grand]daughter who grows up to be just like you."


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