Things that crossed my mind while wondering if there is a big difference between Kamchatka and Titos. Moi and Boxer can weigh in on that. Yes I know that Titos is better if you're drinking it straight but if you're throwing some cranberry in it go with the cheap stuff.
#1. I remember the first time Brother Bill and I found our Christmas gifts before Christmas. We were playing hide-and-seek in the basement. The back corner of the basement was a dark and dank place. We wouldn't go in there in the daylight. To scared. Bill was hiding and I was seeking. I counted to 100 or whatever and went looking. I took about three steps and Bill was there in front of me. "Come see what I found!" There in the corner of the back of the basement where he knew I wouldn't come look for him was the GI Joe Training Center that we had asked for. It was tough acting surprised that Christmas morning.
#2. That was the first of three years in a row of finding our Christmas gifts. Honest Injun. We never went looking. When I say "we" I mean me. Somehow it was Brother Bill who always found them. I should have suspected something. We never played hide-and-seek except for Christmas. Remember that "smartest man in the room" comment I made yesterday? I never am when he's in the room.
#3. Great memory from the early 80's is spending Christmas night at Delmer's brother's cabin by Nelson Reservoir. We played cards and drank Southern Comfort with hot water. Smooth as a baby's ass. Took about ten bucks off JR that night. Went through three bottles of Southern Comfort and a case of beer. No heat except for the fireplace. It went out sometime that night. You could see your breath the next morning. Thermometer outside the cabin read -26. Good times. Moi, Bozeman isn't like that. Just sayin.
#4. I moved to Bozeman in 1988. I've missed three Christmas' at home since then. One when I was married to Sybal. One when I stayed and worked so the rest of the crew could go home and I could get the next 10 days off. The last one is when I was dating Lori. Stayed to have Christmas with her and her family. She gave me the Family Guy box set. I took her to Cancun. It was a good exchange. I think.
#5. When Ralph's dad was alive I would spend every Chrismas Eve at his house. Ralph would be home as well. We would play pinochle, three or four handed depending on how many people were there. Matt, Ralph's dad, would start eyeing the clock about 11:45. As soon as the hands stood at 12 he would stand up and yell "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" It was fun to watch. And makes me cry a little thinking about it. No, just dusty here at Sloan's house I think. Yeah, that's it.
#6. When I was engaged, I was looking at a new golf bag. Had my eye on a nice Sun Mountain stand up. My roommate was with me and it was on sale. I liked the price and was ready to buy when he said "I don't want to ruin Christmas but you're already getting one." I really had to act surprised, AGAIN in my life, when I opened it up at whatshernames house.
#7. In 1996 I went to North Carolina to spend Christmas with my awesome sister. OK I guess that's four Christmas' I haven't been in Malta. Holy shit. I'm starting to wonder if I've been home for half of them at this point. Anyhoo. We stayed at Kiawa Island in South Carolina. Christmas Eve my brother-in-law Gary and I played golf on a beautiful Gary Player course. BIL Gary isn't much of a drinker. Not that it makes him a bad guy. We teed off at 10 AM. Made the turn at around 12. I'm on holiday so I grab a six-pack. Gary doesn't want any beer. We finish the round and he decides he wants to drink some beer. We go to town and get a case and some cigars. We sit on the deck of our room and drink beer and smoke. "You know Gary, I do this for a living." "Fuck you! I can hang with you all night!" So he does. The next day we play the Ocean Course where the 1991 Ryder Cup was held. Maybe it was '93 or '95,doesn't matter. Gary was hung over and as white as paper and played like shit. I broke 100 which I thought was good. I bought a six-pack and cigars at the turn. Gary did not partake. Can't say that I warned him.
#8. My dad died in November of 1994. He always gave Brother Bill and me socks for Christmas. Bill gave me socks that year and every year since. Yes, I'm tearing up. He's getting Alpaca socks this year. The warmest socks you'll ever wear.Sorry Bill. I know you're reading. Act surprised. You've done it before. Humor me.
#9. I was going to Missoula in October of 1994. I called my dad and told him my plans. "You need to go see your Aunt Mildred. She has something for you." Aunt Mildred was 16 months younger than dad. They were #7 and 8 of fourteen kids and the last two left standing. I went to Aunt Mildred's and she gave me a nine shot .22 nickle plated revolver that was my father's. When I got home I called my dad and told him what I had. He was happy. He knew what she wanted to give me and was glad it was in my hands. He died a week later. I gave the pistol to Brother Bill that Christmas. Mildred died in 1996.
#10. My mother is the worst gift buyer on the planet. It's a running joke amongst the siblings. "Mom, don't buy me anything." She doesn't listen. 10 years ago she bought me a plasma ball. If you don't know what that is look it up. She bought Brother Bill a Miami Dolphins watch as he is a fan of the Dolphins. We were both heading out of town. I call Bill "Soooooooo how much do you like your Dolphins watch?" Bill "I'll never wear it. It's gay." Me "Want to trade it for my plasma ball?" Bill "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Are you fucking kidding me? That's the funniest gift ever. Have fun with that." It's still an on going joke. Mom doesnt' read this by the way. Thank God. I gave the plasma ball to a woman on my pool league team. Her son loved it so it did not go to waste.
#11. Mom buys gift cards at WalMart for us now. Best gift she has bought in years.
#12. Brother Pat has three kids as most of you know. A six-year-old boy and twin five-year-old girls. My sis-in-law, who is a saint not only because she puts up with Pat but that she has the patience of Job with these three kids who all take after their dad, anyway, her folks spoil these kids rotten at Christmas. Every toy they want, they get. They have the means so that's good. I buy them Bobcat clothes. Hats, gloves, shirts, coats whatever. The gig is up now though. There is no surprise. When they get their presents Saturday from me they'll say "Here's our Bobcat stuff!" I've also taught them "everday is a good day when you're a Bobcat." and "poooooooooooooooooooooor grizzlies!" It's what I do.
#13. I have everything I need. So every gift I get is truly cherished and a blessing. I really mean it when I say "don't get me anything". Of course a bottle of Crown is always well received.
#14. I spent one Christmas alone and it was in Malta. Dad was on the coast seeing his brother, mom was in Glasgow with her husband. I had places to go in Malta but thought I could tough it out and didn't want to impose. Christmas is more than Thanksgiving. It's totally about family but good friends who invite you in should never be turned down. I didn't want to be a burden that day and was lonely. I learned my lesson and it hasn't happened since.
Heading out in the morning. Can't wait to see the kids. Brother Pat already told me that the kids and me are having a slumber party while he and SIL are putting out the presents from Santa. I can hardly wait.