A little late, but I’m posting a precious memory for the second time.
Lacking a fireplace, I mailed my letters to Santa Claus at the post office in downtown Fentress. My list of preferred gifts was always extensive. I knew I wouldn’t get everything I wanted, but there was no harm in asking.
One year Santa wrote back. As proof, I’m posting not only the letter he wrote, but the envelope as well. Judging from the postmark and the reference to Sputnik, I’d just turned six.
It takes a lot of stamps to get a letter from the North Pole to Texas.
It also helps when your Uncle Joe is the postmaster.
Nov. 26: Ordered quilt online; multi-cat design; not quilt in picture, and not cat either
Nov. 27: Received email confirmation; processing time 5-7 days; everything handmade and impeccably “sawn”; hoped quilt would be more impeccable than proofreading
Dec. 1, 4, 7, and 8: Received emails re more quilts available for order
Dec. 10: Received email re quilt finished, ready to ship, tracking number to follow
Dec. 10: Received email re discounts on six other quilts
Dec. 11: Received email re same discount on same six quilts
Dec. 12 – Jan. 17: Received no emails at all
Jan. 17: Emailed company re Where is my quilt/Did I miss an email with tracking number?; very polite
Jan. 18: Received email re Quilt is ready and on the way.
Jan. 24: Received quilt
Jan. 25: Put queen quilt on queen bed; quilt barely covered top of queen mattress; I kid you not
Jan 25: Measured queen quilt
Jan. 25: Pulled up company website to check dimensions of ordered queen quilt; website down until all quilts ordered before Christmas have been shipped
Jan. 26 – present: Considering options:
Email company re Did I receive double or twin quilt in error? and if so, I’ll send quilt back in exchange for queen quilt
Email company re I will send quilt back and await refund (and hope refund arrives before end of 2019)
Email company re I will send quilt back in exchange for king quilt (since queen might not be large enough either) and will send more money as soon as I receive king quilt
Email company after website is back up and I know exact dimensions of queen quilt I ordered and have better idea of what more action to take
Email now re usual 30-day limit on returns
Email company re what I’m really thinking
Email re I’ll volunteer to help package and ship quilts ordered before Christmas (possibly necessitating a trip to China, where I suspect they’re made)
Rive my hair and wail like a banshee
Put quilt on dowel and hang on wall
It’s a silly quilt, cute in a kind of ugly way, but I finally decided I might as well adopt the title of Cat Lady and stick images of cats all over the house. And I thought Cat Gentleman would like cat quilt, since he adopted his title years ago. Quilt was supposed to be a Christmas present.
I ordered late and thus knew Santa Claus might not bring quilt on the First Day of Christmas, but I assumed the Magi would deliver it by Epiphany at the latest. Now I hope to get this thing straightened out before Pentecost.
Worst case scenario, the correct quilt will arrive in time for Advent. And I’ll give it to Cat Gentleman for Christmas.
” The following photo is the PHOTO PROMPT. What does it say to you? I dare you to look beyond the subject. I double dare you!”
I looked far beyond the subject: The rings of metal at the base of the metal skeleton reminded me of a spring, which reminded me of a pogo stick, which prompted my 100-word story. Maybe I’ll look more closely at the reptile and try again. There’s a lot of potential in that lizard.
At Christmas play and make good cheer For Christmas comes but once a year.
~ Thomas Tusse
David and I met friends Geoff and Emme at the Root Cellar yesterday morning for a belated Christmas breakfast. Our plan for a Christmas-David’s Birthday-New Year’s dinner in December fell through when both Emme and I came down with whatever people get at this time of year and we had to cancel.
The breakfast worked out better, however, because we dressed less formally (if such a thing be possible) and because I didn’t have to make a salad.
The gift exchange comprised books, homemade granola, a kazoo, cute little plastic thingeys to bind cords and cables, and a Christmas ornament.
The best, however, were the gifts exchanged by the cats and Geoff and Emme’s dogs, Tuck and Abbey. Tuck and Abbey received toys best described as big blue squeaking Scrubbing Bubbles covered with jiggly cilia. I would describe Tuck and Abbey, but I can’t do them justice, except to say that if you turn your back and walk away from Abbey, you’ll never do it again. More info in the form of photos will be provided at a later date.
Ernest and William hit the jackpot. They received fancy sequined mice and a variety of balls, most with noisemakers–jingle, rattle, clack–inside. In little more than twenty-four hours, half the balls have disappeared.
William and Ernest have always found it convenient to store toys under the bed for spontaneous midnight romps. By morning, I may know where they’ve hidden these.
The rest of the story: David and I watched the clock for twenty minutes and then headed for the nearest movie theater to see Hitchcock. Of the seven viewers, six lasted to the end of the movie. One bailed out early. He looked too young to know who Alfred Hitchcock was. If he’d stayed, he’d have seen a pretty good show.
Tuesday marked my first visit a movie theater on Christmas Day. For my first four or five decades, my mother’s family clumped together every Christmas, singing carols, tearing into packages, eating too much, laughing, watching my grandmother try out a toy in the living room accompanied by protests that we kids had to play with them out by the garage.
But time passes and things change, and now David and I are the family. Our holiday was quiet. Since we’ve been married, I’ve cooked Christmas turkey, duck, Cornish hens, and goose, the last in homage to the Cratchit family. The experience of parboiling a goose prompted me to give up the pretense of enjoying domesticity. After the movie, we went to a Chinese restaurant, where the scales fell from my eyes. Everybody in Austin was at the Asian Lion, most of them queued up in front of David and me. But the chicken and green beans made the wait worthwhile. I came away feeling no guilt for breaking with tradition.
That wasn’t the first time I stepped out of my comfort zone around the holiday. Our first Christmas together, David and I spent Christmas Eve night in Cuidad Acuna, across the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas. It was cold. David managed to turn off the hotel room heater the wrong way, and it refused to come back on when needed.
He had originally wanted to spend Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, but I knew we would be beset by banditos or federales and wouldn’t get home for New Year’s, so he settled for Acuna. I should have kept my mouth shut. I didn’t realize at the time that David knows what he’s doing, and he has no intention of walking into danger. But the moment has passed, and now I’ll probably never get to see the church that I’m told looks like a birthday cake.
Come to think of it, there was an atmosphere of anxiety during the trip. That was the Christmas Osama bin Laden had threatened to attack the U. S. At that time, I was oblivious to the possibilities (as were most of us before 2001), and focused on eating tacos Tapatios, tacos pastor, and tacos barbacoa, and on using as much of my thirty-year-old Spanish as I remembered, which consisted mostly of saying to David things like, “Como se llama soap?”
Anxiety arose on the way out of the country. A lot of traffic goes across the International Bridge every day, and pre-9/11 it seemed a mere formality. But, showing my drivers license to the guard, I remembered that this weekend, authorities were on alert. The guard asked where we were from. David, with his lawyerly background, answered the question he was asked:”Austin.” The guard looked a me, and my mind shattered: I was from Austin, well, I’d driven from Austin, but I lived in Fentress, but I was born in Luling…” I forgot to mention three years in the dormitory in San Marcos.
The guard gave me a l-o-n-g, speculative stare. I looked him straight in the eye. Finally, he nodded us through. I resumed breathing. I’m sure he’d concluded that if I had a secret, it would have tumbled out by then.
Well. I started out to say we had a good Christmas, and I wind up nearly eight hundred words later trying to get back across the Mexican border. But it’s a pleasant memory, right down to my bare feet on that cold, cold tile, so I’m glad I allowed myself to meander.