This was the letter I sent in my Christmas cards last year.
I was talking with a couple of my sisters-in-law this week about what geeks we are at Christmastime! I used to like to sleep on the floor by the Christmas tree, or on the floor upstairs where the lights would shine up through the grate. The tree held such magic of goodness and generosity! Nothing bad could ever happen with a Christmas tree shining in the room!
It wasn't just a youthful thing, either! I must confess, I still like to sleep in the living room near the tree, with heavy eyes blurring the lights and lulling me into sweet dreams. I can stare for hours like a crazy person at the tree and decorations, a stream of drool glistening in the twinkling lights. Yes, I am still a card carrying member of the NFC (Nerds For Christmas)! In fact, one of my favorite Christmas gifts of all time wasn't one I received as a child. It was given to me my last Christmas at home when I was 17. From Santa, I think, because I still believed in him that year. It was a beautiful pair of ice skates. The good kind! With low ankles so I was free to do awesome tricks on the ice!
We opened our gifts on Christmas morning and then went to a cousin's house for Christmas dinner and after that the kids would go to the ice skating rink at the local free zoo! I LOVED this tradition! Some of my friends would also be there and we would laugh about our families and traditions and compare our loot! We would do our little routines on the ice, including crossovers, spins, spirals, double toe loops and triple sow cows.....
Okay, so none of us could actually do a triple Salchow, or any other class of Salchow, but on a crisp Christmas night (even after a heavy meal), I swear I could get a good two ... three ... quarters of an inch off the ice! If I had a lovely skating costume instead of cords and long johns, I could probably get even higher!!!
We did like to do this bit three people could do together. I would squat down, ever so gracefully, with my hands on the tops of the skates of the person behind me. That person would lean over me with her hands on my knees, and the third person would push us along like a human dog sled!!
We were booking along one night, absolutely flying, I tell you! Corners were challenging, I kid you not, but we were doing it! Past the warming house, past the parking lot, past the llamas and weird birds that don't migrate ... I mean, we were like the luge, man!
It was incredible! Whoooooooooo hooooooooooo!
What the ... ? What is THAT??
Are you kidding me? Who eats Hot Tamales on the ice? Everyone knows a Hot Tamale is the kiss of death to an ice skater, even a skater of my caliber! They melt a bit into the ice and stick there like a big ol' clown shoe jutting out to trip you as you run down the hall! And the only warning sign you get is that little bit of Red Dye #3 that spreads out like blood from the head wound I was about to receive!!
From time to time, I still like to strap on the old ice skates and head down to the Sculpture Garden for a spin. We also used to skate on the lake and that god-awful, haunting noise we'd hear as the ice shifted would scare the ever-lovin' bejesus out of us, for sure, but the Sculpture Garden is nice, smooth ... relatively quiet, at least the ice itself. I'll lace up my skates, take a couple of pulls off the flask of brandy, er, I mean cheer, the Christmas cheer, and make a few laps. Maybe do a Hamill Camel and a lutz or two ... nothing fancy. The next day, I'll haul my sorry self into work the way I used to walk after riding 8 hours on horseback through the Colorado Rockies. I must still be good if I can achieve that same gate after only mere minutes on the ice! I'll get the ol' wink-wink-nudge-nudge from the fellas at work and I'll just give them the same conspiratorial nod I give the other NFCs at the Christmas Asylum!
‘Tis the season, after all!!