Seems that Joanie has always been a bit off kilter when it comes to being the recipient of Christmas gifts. Not that she hasn’t received wonderful gifts in her lifetime, mind you, but some in particular stand out in her memory:
Christmas 1958: Joanie hears Mom and Dad yelling in the living room about Dad attempting to put together 6 bikes and 2 electric train sets. Seems to her bourbon and cigarettes were involved. Also tinsel.
Christmas 1960: Joanie discovers a wonderful cache of gifts while furtively digging in the Christmas bags in the basement of her home, and happens to pull out a beautiful yellow organza dress! Oh how perfect! Her dream dress! You can only imagine her dismay on Christmas morning when alas, the dress was for her little sister Janis. Not only was the beautiful angelic dress for Janis but hers (oh Good Lord) was red corduroy… Joanie vows to never ever ever peek again.
Christmas 1970: Was this the year that they collectively decided to wrap the entire bookshelf of Reader’s Digests in aluminum foil? Mom was such a good sport! She loved that about her! That may have been the same year that they received the Beatles White album and the boys (her brothers) shot the bb gun at the white cat while they turned the music up on the stereo and scared her.
New Year’s Eve 1970: Her boyfriend ( and Dax and Jessica’s future father) schreeching up her Mom’s road in his Camaro at 11:59, with perfume and a musical jewelry box and leaping out of his car to kiss her in the moonlight. Oh that was a great New Year’s Eve. Mom had no idea, being fast asleep in her bed… She still has the jewelry box. Wishes she still had Jess.
Christmas 1972: Can anyone say Crock Pot ?
Ok she now havs a mental block. She has no idea where those years went!
Skip to the year 1984: Dear Paul appears at her bedside with a bejeweled pearl casque. How lovely! Later that year he proposed at the Manchester boat launch and presents her with a delightful diamond ring that she wears to this day and one that her dear Mom thought was “Way too big and too many diamonds, Joanie!”
Christmas 1988: Hmmm don’t remember.
Christmas 1999: Dear Paul tells her that her Christmas gift is the ramp of the boat launch where he proposed. They were dismantling the boat launch for a newer version and he couldn’t bear to see it go. Gotta give him 10 points for sentimentality.
Christmas 2000: Dear Paul lost her gift that year and found it in July. A blue platter- lovely but a bit late.
Christmas 2001-2010: Lots of interesting gifts- like the time that she had selected a diamond and sapphire bracelet from her late friend Steve’s jewelry store and asked him to tell Paul about it. He did. He told Paul “It’s 8 big ones, Paul.” And Paul dutifully met him at the ferry dock with $800.00, only to be told it was $8,000.00. Dear Old Paul, instead of going ahead and buying it for her, instead, in his “holiday depression” about the bracelet, bought himself a Cadillac Fleetwood to assuage his remorse. You can only imagine her reaction, when, at the end of the Christmas Day, full of gifts and food and drink and fun, she finally asked him if he indeed had no present f or her. “Oh no hon, I couldn’t afford the bracelet!”
Christmas 2002 I think: Ahhh- She had survived the “I bought myself a new Cadillac but couldn’t afford to buy you anything honey” Christmas, and she had once again unwisely selected a piece of jewelry, thinking that there was no way she would lose out this year. Steve assured her that he would save the diamond cross pendant for her so that she could once again direct Dear Paul to the purchasing counter so she was not worried. She even went to the store to make sure that he hadn’t sold it only to be told that inadvertently it had been! OH NO now what???
You can only imagine the next Christmas morning as Paul pulled out a small box, wrapped in old paper and a used bow. You could feel the tension in the living room among all those present as he presented it to her. The tension was thick in the air as the Universe knew this was now or never as far as Joanie and the Paul presents were concerned… and as Joanie unwrapped the small box and unearthed the diamond cross pendant from its wrappings, all at once all was right with the world.
Merry Christmas to my dearest of the dear. Amen and good night.