I was originally scheduled to arrive at my daughter's house out in Katy 'early' Christmas Day - around 9 or 10 am, she said. Well, I'd been up for about an hour and a half or so (after not having gotten that much sleep the night before), and was fixin' to hit the pillow again for a short nap before heading on out there, when the phone rang at 7:19am.
I recognized the phone number and answered, "Merry Christmas!" "Merry Christmas, Grandma!" my granddaughter replied on her new speaker phone with a gazillion other gadgets. This was her 'treasure' at the end of a long hunt "with clues that were really hard, Grandma!" "How long did it actually take?" I asked. "Two seconds?" "About 10 minutes," she replied, giggling.
"Just wait until next year," I said, "if you thought the clues this year were hard! Next year you're going to have to go to the moon to find your treasure!!" "Oh, come on, Grandma!"
"No, really!" I said. "The first clue will direct you to a package tied with a specific-colored string and a standout-type bow. When you unwrap that, you'll find an apparatus that will allow you to be jet-propelled into space along with an even harder clue as to which package you should open next. And because you'll be going into outer space, you'll need a pressurized suit, an oxygen tank, a built-in cell phone that will allow you to call home, and goggles with a television so you can watch some of your favorite programs while you're traveling. It should take six months or so, and you wouldn't want to be bored."
"Oh, Grandma," she said, "by this time next year it'll only take 30 minutes!" We all had a good laugh over that one! The next few minutes were spent speculating on whatall else she would need. Some sort of potty, for example. And what about food? We didn't even mention that necessity!
But then my daughter interrupted our conversation with, "Come on, Muther! (Only mothers who have daughters know how that word sounds when pronounced thusly.) You're holding up everything. When were you planning to get out here, anyway?" Obviously, she had completely forgotten our prior arrangement.
Well, forget the nap. I scurried around, trying to find everything that I had originally meant to take with me - and yes, I'd made a list, but was checkin' it twice. I told her I'd call when I was actually in the car and starting out.
It took two trips to load the car. On the first trip, after loading, I opened the garage door only to find a complete stranger standing there beside a pickup truck that was blocking my egress. My face was probably registering my shock, because he said, "Hi! I'm your new neighbor. My name is Dave, and I'm moving in today."
Not listening very well, obviously, I said "Ray?" (That was my dad's name, and I thought, "How fun!") "No," he replied, "Dave." He seemed a pleasant enough person. We exchanged a few words. Well, more than a few words, actually.
He said that he was pretty much a homebody, didn't like loud noises, didn't have any big dogs that would be barking night and day, and in fact didn't have any pets at all. I asked, "How about the wife and ten kids?" Nope. No wife. No kids (at least none that would be living on the property). Sounds almost too good to be true, doesn't it? I'm sure we all have more than our share of 'bad neighbor' stories. Think I might really have lucked out on this one!
[See this post for how I feel about getting new neighbors.]
I told him that I normally don't 'visit' much. He seemed to like that response. Told him I was just loading up the car to go out to Katy to be with my daughter and her family for Christmas and alerted him that the next time I came out I'd be ready to go and he should move his truck.
I asked, "By the way, what's your last name?" "Jones" was the reply. Rrvit! (For those of you who don't know why we both erupted in laughter, here's the story.)
After wishing each other a "Merry Christmas" and promising to exchange phone numbers, his moving his truck, etc. and blah, I was finally on my way out to Katy.
[In anticipation of some of your questions, I'll try and answer, OK? #1 - How old is he? I don't know. The older I get, the less able I am to guess others' ages. Somewhere in his 50's, I would say. Maybe 60's. If he's in his 40's, then I hope he never reads this post! #2 - Is he good-looking? Not an ogre, if that's what you're getting at. He has a mustache. Does that count for anything? #3 - Does he play bridge? I have no idea. Give me a break here!]
The rest of Christmas Day was delightful. One of my more fantabulous gifts was a robe that is so luscious, so scrumpdeliocious, so soft to the touch, so luxurious, so -- sorry, I have just run out of words here. (And NO, you may not have it!! However, if you are very very good, I might allow you to view it from a distance!)
Along towards the end of all the opening presents festivities, I received a gift that appeared to be just an empty box. It was really light in weight. I shook it. No rattle. I listened, but heard no ticking. I thought, "Hmmm!"
I opened it, very carefully. Granddaughter offered the suggestion that it might contain a gift certificate. I acknowledged, "Hmmm!" I felt the wrapping - again, cautiously. I thought, "Hmmm!" and said aloud, "It feels kind of like a cigar or a pen of some sort." No one responded to my statement. I continued the unveiling procedure and discovered ... ... a CIGAR!
And not just "a cigar", either, but the very one I had given my son-in-law last Christmas in an effort (I guess!) to revive and continue a long-standing family tradition.
Can't believe I forgot that! Well, obviously I did, but still!! (Their gift to me of what I'm now corresponding to all y'all on must have completely obliterated any memories I might have had prior while trying to re-institute the cigar family tradition.) So anyway, 'guess who' is stuck with the safe-keeping of the newest gorgon/white elephant/albatross/whatthedevil'sthewordanyway until next year? Moi, that's who!