Christmas Presents...


Praying Mantis
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Waaay south
As much as we wanted to return to the true meaning of Christmas this year, many of our friends decided to do the whole gift thing anyway. God bless them every one, but I ended up feeling a bit guilty anyway. We let everyone know that we had decided to scale back the ritual obligatory gift giving this year for multiple reasons, not the least of which is that NONE of us can afford to do it any longer. Anyhow, we gave small denomination gift cards and gift certificates this year, rather than the extravagant gifts we have historically given.

What really moved me was that although these folks knew we were not in a position to drop ten large on a party, replete with wonderful gifts for our closest friends, they bought presents for us anyway, and every single one who did said the basic equivalent of, "We don't care what you can afford since you have always been there for us, we wanted to show our appreciation anyway". this was magical for me, because we had the party we usually do, but had hoped to temper the whole gift-giving thing in exchange for a more spiritual gathering of good friends with a couple of bottles of good wine.

I just bid the last guest good night and came back inside. Mother bear is on her way to bed, to be followed shortly by myself and Little Ancona. I was nearly brought to tears tonight on several occasions by the show of friendship and gratitude of my friends and guests.

One young man was not even invited, yet we welcomed him anyway. This fellow was fresh out of college two years ago and newly married. My friend Scott introduced us at a bar-b que two years ago and I found him to be an affable and exceptionally intelligent fellow with a great sense of humor. At the end of the night, I promised I would make a call to a friend of mine to see if I could help him get a job at the Space Center. I called my buddy and he got the job, working for Tetra Tech, a huge environmental firm, which led to a job at Boeing, which he treasures. I had all but forgotten the young man until tonight.

This young man [names not published for the obvious reasons] brought what I could see was a bottle of .......something. Later in the evening, we opened our gifts and I realized this young man, a man of very limited means and a young wife and family, had bought me a 600 dollar bottle of single malt scotch. Now, this is not common knowledge, my affinity for rare scotch, so the kid did some research to say the least. I tried to protest but he refused to accept my arguments and insisted I not only accept it but open it.

We opened the bottle.

My friends, scotch that has aged for sixty years is not only magnificent, it is perfect. We nearly finished the bottle tonight, and I write this missive in a scotch induced haze of wonderfulness that is really difficult to replicate with any other biological input.!

I believe the lesson learned here is that my friends are truly that.......friends. I thought they would be disappointed or angry, but instead they were not only supportive, they really didn't care........they just wanted to come for the fellowship. We have never had this many folks show up for our Christmas party......ever.

I think I may have misjudged mankind folks, because tonight I experienced an outpouring of support and love that I have never experienced before, and it sure feels good.

I am NOT sorry for THIS rant. ; - )
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