Christmas came early this year, almost two weeks early. Thanksgiving was two weeks early this year, too. It was all by design and it worked out perfectly.
My family is big on celebrating holidays, birthdays, etc. on the exact date. Somehow, I don’t have that scheduling gene in my DNA. I celebrate whenever beer and friends are available. Also, since more travelling is involved these days, I try to group my celebrations together, and away from the heavy travel days in the year. So, when I heard that my friend Marianne’s musical-prodigy son Shane was performing in New York City in mid-November, I decided that was close enough to celebrate Thanksgiving. Anyone who’s seen the Steve Martin/John Candy movie Airplanes, Trains, and Automobiles knows that travelling too close to a holiday can be a nightmare.
Whenever I plan a trip to New York nowadays I make sure I have plenty of fun things to do there, so that my fun-to-travelling ratio leans way more towards fun. Shane was playing on a Friday, so I made plans to meet other friends on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend was packed with fun. My family wasn’t too keen on celebrating Thanksgiving two weeks early, but I figured that an extra day of giving thanks this year wouldn’t hurt any of us. After all, it was a good year. I went to far more weddings than funerals this year, and at my age that alone makes it a very good year.
Shane’s music did a great job of getting the weekend off to a good start, and it got even better when his Mom bought drinks for everyone afterwards. Saturday and Sunday were both fun filled, so when Marianne announced that her holiday party would be on December 12th, I thought that Christmas should be moved forward, too.
Then my country western friends Patrice and Jimmie announced that their holiday get-together would be on the afternoon of the 12th, I was sure that Christmas, too, would come early this year. I contacted my friend Linda and made dinner and movie plans with her for the Friday before, and made plans with my friends John and Margaret for some fun at their house in Long Beach on Sunday. Another fun-filled weekend was planned.
I was halfway to the Amtrak station on Friday and I realized that I forgot my cell phone. There wasn’t enough time to return home, so I just headed to New York without it and hoped that I wouldn’t need it. Fortunately, I didn’t, though I might have saved by friend Linda a little driving if I had been able to call her with my exact location when I got to Hicksville, New York, where we were meeting. She had to circle the station a few times in heavy traffic before she found me, but it worked out. We had a nice dinner and a lot of laughs as we caught up with the goings-on in our lives, and then we went to see Love, The Coopers, which provided even more laughs
Patrice and Jimmie’s address was in my cell phone, but I had been to parties at their house before, so Saturday afternoon I was able to find it without any trouble. Good thing, or I would have been mad at myself for forgetting my cell phone. More than a dozen of my C&W friends were there and Patrice and Jimmie had prepared tons of great food, so I stuffed myself at a luncheon fit for a king.
Next stop, over to Tres and Marianne’s home in Merrick for their annual holiday party which is either the best or the second-best party of the year, depending upon how good their St. Patrick’s Day party is. They always hire Bob, who was the piano player at their wedding reception many years ago, and he rocked the place as always. Shane joined in and accompanied him on the big Bass Guitar. Everyone else joined them on vocals, and we were loud enough to attract the attention of the local police. Fortunately, there were plenty of off-duty cops at the party to convince them to go back to the donut shop, and the party continued until the wee hours of the morning.
On Sunday the Jets won easily, making my family happy, and my friend John picked me up to celebrate at his house in Long Beach. The weather was so nice that John, his wife Margaret, and I took a walk on the beach. We saw on the news that some people at Coney Island went in for a swim, because the weather was so nice, but we were happy just walking in the sand.
There was something different at their house this year, besides the weather. Christmas came early there, too. Margaret’s birthday is December 6th, and they traditionally don’t put out the Christmas ornaments until one full week later. But now they have grandkids, and so the house was already decorated for Christmas.
Now it’s Monday and I’m on the train back to Lancaster. It’s only the 14th, and I’ve already had a Merry Christmas and now I’m looking forward to a Happy New Year. I guess I’ll have to wait until the actual date for that one, but I do have a couple bottles of champagne in the refrigerator. Maybe I can get an early start on that one, too.
I hope you all have much to be thankful for this year, and enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all the best to everyone.
Peace & Love, and all of the above,