Good Morning Carolers of Life’s Rich Pageant,

Outside of watching my children mature I’ve long since given up tracking time. Things that happened 15 years ago seem like last year. Christmas 08 is now upon us with all the frustration, guilt, and emotional baggage that come with it. For the two or three of you that read this hysterical bleeding you know how much I hate the holidays. This annual trip to the ‘chamber of horrors’ leaves another scar. The weeks leading to the big day do nothing but remind me of the tragic decimation of my family. Ten years removed, the divorce continues to expose scabs oozing to be picked; defining the biblical term “Reaping the whirlwind.” Because after everything you can do you’re left with nothing. For those of you with families still close and truly value one another the holidays represent something all together different. I apologize but as I’ve said countless times this is about me, and for now any other miserable sod facing a “cotton box.”

Each Christmas (From here on Christmas is the proper nomenclature) since my departure, the respective lives of my family come to me in news flashes not conversation. I struggle to find the joy in joyous. The guilt I bear each Yuletide would bury a city the size of Murfreesboro. So it’s become a personal challenge to seek out something redeeming and worthwhile about Christmas. I suspect the vast majority; say 2 out of 3 of you that give a rats ass, could produce a pretty good list in support of Christmas. Okay I’ll not argue that point but suggest to you there is a world of misery via family disconnect, and while unsubstantiated, it’s no doubt self-inflicted! Nevertheless these are people with interesting stories worthy of our time and quite possibly our praise.

This weekend I found myself deeply immersed in self-pity. Jeez, it’s becoming quite comfortable this refuge from responsibility; wallowing in my own sorry weepy-eyed excuses. Completely satisfied nothing is my fault I press on. So Saturday night I bundled up, took the light-rail, and walked around downtown Denver looking for something uplifting to hopefully neutralize the pain. The task is harder than you might guess. The streets were filled with shoppers, revelers, and people trying to leave. So outside of a few “Happy Holidays” there was really nothing I considered telling at this point and was very cold. I had all of $8 dollars but needed to warm up so I ducked into Elway’s and ordered a cup of coffee from the bar. Elway’s sits next to the Ritz-Carleton so as you can imagine it’s a high-end venue. The bartender immediately sensed money was out of play but was accommodating and poured a cup of coffee. It wasn’t particularly crowded so I didn’t feel pressured to leave and nursed two cups long enough to get toasty and warm. Just as I turned to get the bartenders attention he dropped off an order of prime-rib and fresh bread saying it was a mis-order quickly refilling my cup. The meat was perfectly seasoned and cooked medium-rare; meat falling off the bone. The bread was soft and hot; easily melting the pad of butter. I ate it all! I was totally satisfied thinking how lucky I was. But in spite of that I felt obligated to leave. I knew I’d reached the limit and needed to make room for paying customers. But before I could get anyone’s attention the bartender returned with a glass of Pinot Noir and told me to relax.

Two hours had passed. It took a minute but I finally remembered what I was doing there. I needed to continue my search for the spirit of giving. I want to be ‘slimed’ with the Christmas Spirit. I thanked the bartender who seemed pleased in spite of being mooched out of a tip. It was late. I no longer wished to continue the search as I was full of meat and wine ready to get horizontal. Contented, I caught the light-rail back to my car and drove home. I nestled into bed and laid my head down convinced the Spirit of Christmas is an aberration. Outside of what’s manufactured on 5th Ave its nothing more than Santa Claus! I closed my eyes. Thoughts continued to weave in and out of consciousness but finally dropped off completely convinced I was indeed a victim of circumstance and not responsible.

If the two or three of you still reading this dirty magazine are looking for Christmas projects, please give me a call. I have the perfect candidate.


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