Christmas was absolutely splendid once again this year, perhaps the eleventh in a row I have celebrated with Tom’s family, bless their welcoming and kindly hearts. Tom and I took the train to Sacramento Christmas Eve, albeit different trains, since Tom missed the bus from the Ferry Building to Emeryville due to some last-minute shopping.
One thing he had wanted to do was pick up one of his bike frames from Steve Rex’s shop (where hang the photos of Tom’s brother Steve, if you happen to be there), and since he would now be arriving too late to do that, his brother Dan and I went and fetched it.
Tom expressed his gratitude later: “Thank you so much! Say, where’s my fork?” Oops. Even though I was there when he dropped off the frame and fork in the first place, I’d forgotten about the latter and so did the fellow at the shop. By chance, that person is someone I went to music school in San Francisco with, also a trumpet player.
We—Paul, Eva, Steve, Julie, Sarah, Josh, Ann, Mac, Chris, Dan, Tom and I—stuffed ourselves with appetizers and then again with Eva’s wonderful dinner, including Chris’s “man quiche,” followed by Sarah’s beautiful apple pie and Ann’s delectable pecan pie.
We talked and laughed and hung out and opened a veritable mountain of gifts. I got a book or two I am looking forward to reading, some good gadgets—Tom’s brother Paul has provided me with many excellent gadgets over the years; if you’ve lost count, Tom has three brothers—and a nutmeg grinder from Ann, which is enhancing my morning bowl of oatmeal.
Tom and I spent that night at Steve and Julie’s and in the morning, went back to Paul and Eva’s for stockings. Yet again, the various Santas were extremely generous. As we drove to Paul and Eva’s, Julie gave her mother in Michigan a call. I said from the backseat, “Tell your mother I say ‘Merry Christmas.’”
Then Steve said, “Tell your mother I wished her a merry Christmas before Linda did.” Of all the people at gatherings of Tom’s family and friends, Steve and I are most nearly the same age, just a couple of months apart. (Who is the wiser by those two months? I am, of course, though Steve likes to characterize it as being more elderly.) We would have made fine actual siblings, which does require some one-upmanship on occasion.
Later Julie said to her mother, “Linda and Steve wish you a merry Christmas.”
“I said it first,” Steve clarified (if out-and-out fibs can ever be said to clarify anything).
“I said it first,” I averred.
“Whatever.” Steve from the driver’s seat.
The four of us spent Christmas Day afternoon at Ann and Mac’s, while other energetic members of the company headed east for skiing, and then Tom and I had a nice ride home on the train (the same train this time). One of us may or may not have eaten almost an entire small box of See’s truffles that she received for Christmas en route.
I gave my Uncle Rick a call the next day and he told me my cousin had been there for the holidays but had had to head back home on Christmas Day itself. She left the Detroit airport “an hour before the terrorist arrived.” I hadn’t heard about this terrorist, but was soon edified.
He was flying Northwest Airlines, which I always fly to Michigan, and basically—and I do take this personally—he was trying to blow up that water feature in the McNamara Terminal I like so much.
Also, like Detroit in general needed that kind of thing: thanks, creep.
I forgot to call my own mother and father in Michigan to wish them a merry Christmas: Merry Belated Christmas!
I forgot because Steve forgot to remind me, as he has every Christmas for a decade now, so you can see whose fault that was.