I thought about telling you the follow up story to "The Woods" today. I pulled out my old notes and read what I wrote many years ago. Oh boy was it funny! I laughed all the way through it....a real knee slapper...but too long. If you want to hear it sometime let me know. I'll start earlier in the day. Right now it's getting too close to my nap time.
I don't know how all of you go about celebrating Christmas day. We have the kids and grandkids over on Christmas Eve. We sleep late on Christmas morning, drink coffee, and talk about the day before and all the wonderful memories from years past. Then when the coffee pot is empty we begin our day of celebrating. Debbie starts taking down all the decorations while I dismantle the tree. After I have the tree back up in the attic where it belongs my contribution is over. Debbie spends another couple of hours packing away decorations, rearranging the furniture to the pre-holiday positions, dusting, vacuuming, and having an all round good time. I take this time to retire to....well, just about anywhere the cleaning is not. Sometimes I go to my study but if the weather is nice I like to go outside and enjoy the quiet winter day. This is when I smoke my annual, only done because of traditional demands, Christmas cigar. I'm not sure when this tradition started but it has gone on for a long time. When it began, there were several us meeting on a patio or porch and having a cigar together. Now, it's just me. I can't seem to let it go for a couple of reasons. First of all, I love tradition. Secondly, I love cigars and this is the only one I can smoke without a lecture from Debbie.
Last Christmas was kind of cold so I sat just inside my garage as the sun filtered through the bare tree limbs. I was enjoying my smoke when I noticed a guy across the street standing outside smoking a cigarette. Being in the holiday spirit, I walked over to wish him a merry Christmas. I didn't recognize him as being a family member of my neighbor, Rob, so I asked if he was visiting. He told me was there for dinner and needed a quick nicotine fix. I said, "Old Rob sure puts together a good spread on that smoker doesn't he?" He replied that Rob had surely done so today but it was his first time to visit and couldn't answer on past meals. It turned out this guy was the friend of one of Rob's co-workers. He had just moved to town and had no family. The co-worker invited him to join him at Rob's for Christmas dinner. I walked away from there feeling all warm and fuzzy for Rob's open hospitality to a stranger on Christmas day. As the year passed, my memory of that day grew until in my mind Rob had fed a homeless guy he found wandering down the street.....you know how the mind works!!
This year was warm and sunny and I enjoyed my cigar in my front yard. I should explain here that old Rob does all his grilling on a large smoker on his front drive since the smoker is too large to get through his back gate. As he removed wonderful smelling creations from his smoker, three people stood around him smoking and drinking beer. They looked like they could use a good meal so naturally my alert brain assumed the situation. I couldn't help myself. I marched right on over there and told Rob how much I thought of him and his generosity to the homeless. He looked at me for a second and asked, "what homeless people?" I didn't want to be too obvious so I just kind of rolled my eyes and nodded my head toward the sad looking trio right next to us. Rob looked at them....then he looked at me.....and then he said, "Russ, I'd like to introduce you to my two brothers and my baby sister". I went on home soon after that and finished my cigar on my patio.