Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve 2018

For most of the years that we've lingered in southern climes for Christmas Eve - something I'm guessing we've been doing for over twenty years - there hasn't been much by way of topical endorsement. There may have been one or two occasions when we did something extraordinary (though I can't recall anything precisely). As my father was wont to say, "Every day is Christmas" - by which he successfully combined a presumption of pervasive pleasure and an excuse to ignore the event entirely. Frankly I believe we share the prosaic synopsis, not because of its lethargy but because of its accuracy. Capturing once again a parental quip, my mother's observation seems apt; namely, "What's not to like!"  Generally speaking the locale has said it all.

We've never felt inclined to address birthdays or religious holidays with anything approaching the norm.  Certainly not gift giving; nor even dinner parties.  The holiday or event may constitute a pretext to go out for dinner but we're easily persuaded to do that at any time for almost any reason. If we do succumb to a planned meal for the event it is likely because the public venues are closed.  Which reminds me of the one occasion I recall on Christmas Eve - our late arrival on December 24th on Hilton Head Island.  We were staying at a beachside condominium on South Forest Beach at a residential hotel.  We hadn't any food and it was getting late.  It was back in our drinking days so we took a cab to the only place we could find which was operational.  When we arrived the staff appeared to be well on their own way to celebrating Christmas Eve. We got our drinks to start (probably martinis).  Then the food just arrived.  I don't think there was any choice, we just took what they offered.  Considering our state of exhaustion following the day's drive, it proved to be all that we required.  But as I say, that's the only time I remember doing anything even near "special" on Christmas Eve.

What distinguishes this particular Christmas Eve is that I arose from my virginal lair at 6:15 am this morning and headed to Ed Howard Lincoln dealership on S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.  On Saturday morning I had discovered that one of my tires was going flat.  I added some air but it flattened again. I wasn't certain the service department of the dealership would be operational today but nonetheless I arrived there sharply at 7:30 am.  There were already several cars lined up in front of me. The service advisor who took care of me was the same chap who had looked after me two months ago when I had a very small cosmetic matter to attend to. The staff there is singularly pleasant.  I sat in the lounge until about 9:00 o'clock when the service advisor collected me. He said they found a small nail in the tire and repaired it.

We then celebrated the fortuity by going for breakfast at our favourite haunt on Gulf of Mexico Drive on Longboat Key. The staff was variously dressed in Christmas outfits and ornaments.  For example, one chap sported an elf's costume (complete with pointed ears); another waitress had flashing Christmas bulbs for ear-rings. The place was busy with family groups - children, parents and grandparents. "Merry Christmas!" was heard throughout the restaurant.

While it may not qualify as a particularly seasonal undertaking, I swam in the Gulf of Mexico after my constitutional bike ride.  We positioned ourselves on the beach for an hour or so before retiring to the apartment for the night - to get ready for Santa Claus!

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