I feel so remiss, not getting here sooner to wish you all a merry Whatever Holiday You Celebrate. I hope your days have been merry and bright. Ours have been lovely, filled with friends and family and hoop-de-doo. The Pea’s been over here a lot. We shared in the celebration of her third birthday–a week later, Christmas. I think she believes that the entire month of December has been staked out specifically for her. She got spoiled rotten, and we had more fun watching her open her gifts than we did our own. Her Mom’s away at boot camp, and everyone’s doing their best to fill the gap. We need to build a new toy wing. We need a new closet. She needs a frickin’ shoe rack.
Santa was wonderful to me and mine, and we feel incredibly fortunate this year. I don’t want to make you jealous or anything, but my husband is the most romantic man in the universe. A few days before Christmas, he went shopping and returned a short time later. He was a man on a mission, and he’d returned from his mission quickly. He wrapped his purchase and placed it beneath the tree. I was intrigued. It was a small box, wrapped in red paper, the size of oh–say. a jewelry box. “What’s in that box?” I asked him, but he just grinned. I picked it up and shook it. It was heavier than jewelry, but I wouldn’t have put it past him to weight the thing, just to throw me off his trail.
I’m horrible at Christmastime. I worry that I’ve decorated inadequately. I have mall-o-phobia. I become anxiety-ridden that I haven’t bought the Right Thing for the Right Person, and I fret about our budget. I always feel like a complete failure. Worst of all, I am nosy as hell when it comes to my own gifts. If I was a cat, and if what they say about cats and curiosity is true, I’d be writing this from the Spirit World. I rattle packages and feel their weight and try to obtain hints in subtle ways, like asking four-hundred times, “So, whadja get me?” Amadeus stays as tight-lipped as a Mafia don in an interrogation room. This year, he ended up waiting until the last minute to wrap my other gifts, probably because he didn’t want to live with a seven-year-old wife any longer than he had to.
While I suck at the Christmas thing, Amadeus is fabulous. He chooses the most perfect presents–straight-from-the-heart items that mean the world to me. He could wrap a jar of olives and there would be some amazingly deep, sentimental meaning behind it. They would be exactly the right size, shape and color. Those olives would make me cry. So, I knew that whatever was in that box was amazing, with a capital “zing.”
I’m as serious as angina when I tell you that there’s not much I want or need. I’d asked for house slippers, a make-up mirror and plastic surgery, because I’m old and blind and those are things that old and blind people need. But that little red box couldn’t have possibly held those things, and I was dying. What was in there? Something special, something unique, something I’d love.
“Would you like some more coffee?” I’d ask my beloved, “And what’s inside that box?”
“Yes, and I’m not telling,” he’d answer.
“Didn’t you love the movie we watched last night? And what’s inside that box?”
When The Big Day arrived, we opened our gifts. I got everything I requested (except for the plastic surgery) and then some. Like some sadistic guard at Gitmo, Amadeus made me save the little red box for last. I patiently waited for him to open his presents, and we hugged and kissed and thanked each other. Christmas with him is nice and warm and smushy. Between you and me, he’s my greatest gift ever, and he could have gotten by with just sitting near me, playing guitar and talking. It would have saved him a bunch of money. But let’s not tell him this.
The lights of our tiny tree twinkled, the Grandpea’s stocking was hung by the chimney with care, Theo the Wonderdog® looked swell in the little Santa hat that Amadeus had gotten him. It was all perfect and great, but there was still one lonely little gift sitting there, and it desperately needed me to open it. Finally, Amadeus gave me the green light. I ripped the bow and the red paper off the box and gazed upon its contents. There inside was the most beautiful, lovingly chosen, dreamy gift of all time; small, round and beautiful, its smooth, silver surface twinkled up at me like a million stars from the heavens above.
It was a new Daiwa Silvercast 120 closed-face, spincast fishing reel, lovingly threaded with supple 8-pound green-tinted test line, as romantic a present as any I can imagine. Oh my gosh, I love my husband. Once again, he managed to find the perfect gift. I can’t wait for spring, so that I can sit beside him on a riverbank under a sunny blue sky and cast my hook. Watch out, fishies, here I come!