December 26th is always such a letdown. And whomever decided that Christmas should be on a Wednesday this year ought to be shot. I had to work on both Tuesday (half day) and Thursday, which didn’t leave much time to relax and reflect upon the holiday. Bummer.
The thing that sticks out most in my mind from this holiday was decorating my roommate’s (Alex) parents’ house.
I went to my Alex’s parents’ house to help them decorate for Christmas. They have a lovely country home in the mountains of Woodside. The front of their house was done up in white lights and it looked like a gingerbread house come to life. Absolutely breathtaking.
Alex’s job was to put the white lights on the tree. He’s quite the lightmaster — when he’s done with each strand the lights look like they grew from the fir branches. I helped by lighting the less-important backside of the tree.
Michele, Alex’s stepmom, insisted that the lights stay lit. “I don’t want them to blink. I want them to twinkle. Damn, I should have bought the twinkle lights.”
Alex made one light strand blink. “C’mon, Michele, these twinkle.”
“No,” she responded. “Twinkling is random. These blink.”
Our buddy Dave and his French girlfriend were supposed to join us but flaked out. “How long has she been in town?” I kidded Alex. “How long has she been French?” his father retaliated. We laughed.
Lighting the tree took hours, and many more light strands than anyone had anticipated. Alex’s friend Blaine arrived and he and I worked on getting the bum light strands to light. It was much more fun than it sounds, but I think the wine Alex’s dad gave me helped with that.
One strand would light, then go out, then light, then go out. Blaine and I tightened all the bulbs but to no avail. I looked at him. “They’re twinkling!” We warned Alex about the bum strand, and then I moved a few feet away to the landing. The tree looked so beautiful. I could only say “ohhhhh” whenever I looked at it. Alex said he was going to smack me but Michele loved it.
Many years ago, Michele wrapped a bunch of empty boxes in festive paper and bows. The bows were flat and lifeless so I set to work fluffing them. As Blaine was unoccupied I invited him to fluff bows with me. I took to the work with great enthusiasm. Blaine looked at me.
“You’d make someone a wonderful daughter.”
Time stopped. I blushed. It was the most beautiful compliment I’ve ever received. I wanted to ask him to call my father and tell him that.
Dave and his girlfriend never did show, so we tore into the Honeybaked ham (yummmm) and made sandwiches. When we were all sitting down with dinner Michele looked at the tree.
“Hey, one of those light strands keeps going out.”
“They’re twinkling,” we admonished.