My dear wife Diana is one of those that starts buying Christmas presents in June. I know, I know. The worst part is there is a dynamic in a relationship that requires the one partner to show the other what she bought that day for Sandy while you’re trying to watch the NBA Finals. And you are trying, really, to remember who the hell is Sandy while keeping one eye on the game. You girls think we’re not listening. We are. Just winking at the game and waiting for peace.
“Look, I found this adorable (Shaq is at the free throw line behind by a point) candle for Sandy. (Ya know John why wouldn’t you foul this guy..His free throw style looks like a hammer falling out of a tree) found a wonderful blouse but I don’t know her size (boink..yep, don’t you think they’d make this clown practice free throws?). Do you know her size? (Wait..What??!!) That answer is ALWAYS no.
So we get to the week before Christmas. The week before the celebration of the birth. I’m weak. I can’t help it. I get sloshy and keep on my bedside table the plastic Santa we’ve kept all these years that my parents put in my crib my first Christmas. I have wonderful memories from those days but I spend every Christmas veering between joy and sad.
This time of year is a time of joy and despair. In many ways and within too many of our brothers and sisters are hearts suffocating with loss and hopelessness. But this holiday gives you the light, the RIGHT, the singing railroad tie, the sunrise. The chance. The hope. You are never alone. Dude, I am telling you, you are never ever alone.
I spent a short part of my life driving long haul semi’s, mostly meat, to all of the places in this country whats gots to have their meat. Never went to Boulder. Imagine that. In two and a half years I was home for 4 weekends, and one Christmas when my mother-in-law was there. We had to put her up in the next bedroom. Yeah.
On Christmas Eve 2012 I was parked in a truck stop on I-55 on the Missouri/Tennessee border. Snowing bad enough I shouldn’t go anywhere soon, but I will be firing up for a run to Atlanta in the morning. I got a meal and slogged back to the truck. It was Christmas Eve. We were broke enough I had to do this, be away from home. What an amazing experience. I knew I was missing the family getting together, the sounds of everyone cooking, laughing, and farting. Not necessarily in that order. But because of the season, really, I was OK.
I had been thinking about doing a rendition of an Elvis Christmas song I’d heard on the ‘Bob and Tom’ radio show . Diana is a nutzoid Elvis fan so I knew this would be the perfect present for my bride. After pushing my way through the snow back to the truck, I downloaded a free mixer program on my laptop, figured out how to multitrack (it was crazy easy), learned this song and recorded it. There are a couple of places in the recording where you can hear the wind booming the side of the truck. Christmas Eve, howling snowstorm, in the back bunk of a Kenworth T700. GREAT truck by the way.
I apparently missed the mark, because she doesn’t care for this version. Women.
Happy Holidays! And I love you all.