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December 27, 2012 8:52 am

The Amend Corner: Home for Christmas

Written by Don Amend

Well, Christmas is over for another year.

And a pleasant Christmas it was.



My long-time girlfriend and I spent our 47th Yuletide together just hanging out at home, listening to Christmas music and doing pretty much what we do everyday, puttering around with stuff like knitting, sorting photos, reading and listening to Christmas music.

Such a Christmas is a far cry from Christmases in the past, when we packed up kids, presents and occasionally the family dog and drove clear across the state to Grandma’s house. It was always a good time, with lots of noise and confusion, but not without its aggravations that sometimes robbed the atmosphere of a little Christmas spirit.

There was, for example, the tire that went flat in a snowstorm about 15 miles out of Casper on I-25 late one evening. It’s a bit hard to remember anything about peace on earth when you have to empty the trunk of presents just to get at the spare tire, and then spend the next 150 miles or so hoping that you didn’t leave a package sitting beside the road when you repacked the trunk in the teeth of the gentle breeze that habitually visits central Wyoming.

Now, I’m not saying that I regret those trips, but I was much younger then. Today, I’d rather stay at home. There are far fewer elements likely to raise hackles and spoil your Christmas spirit when it’s just the two of you at home, and staying home uses a lot less gasoline, besides.

That said, I suppose I could have taken exception to my bride’s violation of a long-standing agreement by buying me a Christmas present. Almost 30 years ago, we decided that our kids needed a computer — OK, I wanted one, too — and agreed to finance the purchase by refraining from buying each other presents. That worked out satisfactorily, so we continued the practice in order to help fund other family purchases.

In recent years, I have asked her if we should end our agreement and present each other with romance-inspiring gifts, but she has always said no for the mushy romantic reason that I am the only present she wants. Well, a guy can’t argue with that, particularly since he feels the same way about her and doesn’t like to shop anyway.

So I was a bit shaken this year when she brought out a present for me, wondering if I was no longer her favorite present and whether we should begin giving each other presents again, a conclusion she immediately denied.

Still, I might have berated my lady for messing with tradition, especially since she gave me no hint of her intention, thereby leaving me in the awkward position of saying, “But I didn’t get you anything.”

Fortunately, a couple of factors kept me from scolding her. It was a pretty prosaic gift, for one thing, with no precious metals or gems involved. Moreover, I think she was buying the gift for herself as much as for me. We’ve both been complaining about the performance of our old shower head for some time, and she’ll get the same benefits as I will from the one I pulled out of that red gift bag.

Then there was the Christmas dinner she fixed. I won’t go into details, except to say it was definitely not a heart-healthy meal, particularly since it ended with a slice of sour cream raisin pie topped with real whipped cream. It’s really hard to be grumpy with someone who feeds you real whipped cream.

You might think that a couple such as my wife and I would be a bit blue on Christmas due to the absence of grandchildren underfoot. Well, modern technology took care of that by facilitating a couple of calls via that Internet on Skype. We had the opportunity, not only to see the kids and hear them express their thanks, but to actually watch them play with their presents, which seemed to take up acres of space. Talking to them and their parents face to face is much more satisfactory than communicating with faceless voices over the phone, and it eases the blues that could result from being separated at Christmas.

Would we have liked to have been with our kids and grandkids instead of having the quiet day we had at home? Sure, but this way had many advantages — no wrapping paper to pick up, no little pieces of toys to get lost, to list a few. And of course, there was absolutely no chance of the holiday being spoiled by a flat tire in the snow on a dark highway.

It was a merry Christmas.

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