I couldn't bring myself to write much of anything while I was in Chicago for the holidays. I don't like travel, gatherings, fuzzy sweaters, alcohol, organized religion, the exchange of gifts, or treasured childhood memories -- in short, I really can't stand Christmas. Compounding my general grinchness with the grotesque nightmare that is attempting air travel in or out of Denver in the winter, I've decided from now on I'm staying alone in my apartment for all major holidays. Except perhaps a side trip to Whoville to steal presents, kick puppies, and poison the supply of roast beast.
I'm sure it doesn't come as a surprise to any of my loyal readers that I'm a grumpy individual at Christmastime or any time else, but I want to give you proper context for the one shining moment in a "vacation" that was mostly concerned with back pain and amassing debt. On Christmas morn, as has been the tradition in my family since I entered into it, my sisters and I scamper dutifully down the stairs in our parents' house to find each of our present hauls arranged on different chairs in the living room. This used to be such a singular occasion that none of us would sleep the night before, and nowadays a few of us have to be prised with coffee to even get out of bed before noon. Especially me. We're adult kids now, and there's no mystery attached to Santa Claus. Starting when we were teenagers our wish lists began to get very specific. By high school we were just throwing items into the cart at Best Buy while our mother stood by with the credit card. In recent years more often than not we have to go out ourselves to buy whatever it is we want, then return it with an invoice to our parents. Most of the magic has long since dissipated.
I didn't have anything particular that I needed this year, so I let my mother surprise me for once. Usually I ask for a new stringed instrument, but my progress at mastering the banjo has been slower than expected and I've recently discovered that due to my huge electric bass calluses I can no longer play a standard-sized mandolin. So I got downstairs on Christmas morn and for the first time in years I genuinely experienced some holiday spirit, because my parents had gotten me this enormous limited-edition print of the Rockies celebrating their win in Game 4 of the NLCS. There was Manny Corpas, Yorvit Torrealba, and Brian Fuentes, all looking like kids as if Santa himself had parallel-parked his sleigh out front and burst in announcing there'd been an accounting mistake and he had more presents for everybody.
So, while you're all out celebrating another arbitrary calendar page this evening, try not to forget as I did that this was a pretty special year in Colorado. We won't soon see its like again. Unless....