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Saturday, April 3, 2010

CHRISTMAS WISHES

December 16th, 2006

Dear Family and Friends,

Its seventy seven degrees in my condo as I write this and “It’s A Wonderful Life” is on the television somewhere in the back ground. I don’t know what is wrong with the air conditioning, but needless to say it doesn’t feel much like Christmas.

I’ve struggled with writing this Christmas letter for a while now. I finally figured if you can tell people about all the good things that have happened in the past year, you must be honest enough to tell the bad things too.
August, 18th, I lost the best job I’ve ever had after seven years.

I’ve since found a new job selling Porsche’s in Dallas, but it takes me an hour and a half to get to work each morning and almost an hour to get home. So now instead of the usual ten to eleven hours a day I have an extra two and a half hour commute added. I have to start from scratch and I’m not making anywhere near the money I was before. I’m going to have to refinance my condo just to pay off my credit cards, but you all know me. Last week I figured out a way to get out of the bland metallic beige Volkswagen Jetta I bought the day I was fired and I leased a red Mercedes Benz C230 Sport for almost the same payment. Yes, they can knock me down and try to destroy me, but they’re not going to lick me. Just like Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind” as God as my witness I’ll make it through this. If I have to drive to the poor house it will be in a bright red Mercedes.

Just this week I’ve received two Christmas cards I never expected. One from a family I’ve known since 1966, when we first moved to Germany. It was fat with materiel, so I was expecting new family photos only to find the funeral program of their beautiful daughter, who died of Cancer March 1st, just sixteen days shy of her forty fifth birthday. Needless to say I was devastated, she was a little girl I baby sat when I was twelve and she was six, along with her older brother and younger sister. I cried so hard I could hardly call my mother to tell her what had happened. I still cry when I think about it.

I know people at work felt it was strange that they send such a message in a Christmas card, but I didn’t feel it was strange at all. After all, we all know how hard it is to talk about such terrible things. Every time we have to tell it, or talk about it, we relive it all over again. I wasn’t offended just heart broken for the sweet little girl I remembered and the fact that I would never get to reminisce old times with her as an adult. She’d grown from an awkward, chubby little girl, into a beautiful woman, who I would have loved to have known. She had finally met and married a loving husband. Her last years were spent in Hawaii, so at least I thank God for that.

Then just tonight I received a Christmas card from the father of a best friend who died in 1991. For the past several years I’ve sent Christmas cards to him and his wife, but I hadn’t received one from them in two years. I wondered if I should send one this year, or just stop? Suddenly there was this Christmas card in my mailbox with only his signature. His wife must be gone, but he’s still here and he remembered me just as I will remember his son for the rest of my life. That somehow made me feel a little better. My friend and I still have still have that single thread binding us together through his dad.

Three nights ago I got a call from my best friend of the past thirty years. He’s never had to work a single day in his life and he’ll soon be fifty five years old. His parents have always paid for everything, yes, I’m jealous. I was having a few solitary drinks pondering my future and feeling sorry for myself when he called me to get my spaghetti recipe. I blew up and went off on him like you wouldn’t believe. I swear I haven’t made my spaghetti sauce in over ten years and he makes it at least every three months, so why does he always call me to get the recipe? Can’t he remember it? Or is he just rubbing my nose in the fact that he has the time, the money, and the occasion to make it? I spent the next thirty minutes telling him how miserable I was, how close to financial devastation I was and how worried I was. Throughout the whole conversation he kept trying to get the secret ingredients out of me. I refused to tell him I just held my ground. He has no idea of what a hard time is in no way, shape, or form, and I doubt if he ever will. The next day when I called to apologize he wasn’t concerned about my tyrant. He was only concerned about the fact that that there was something off in his spaghetti sauce and it didn’t taste the same as mine. I made him recite every ingredient back to me and then I told him he’d forgotten one of the most important things, salt. He didn’t want to believe that something as simple as salt could make a difference, but once he’d added it all was well. Then yesterday he called me to tell me about the most horrible tragedy of his life. He sounded so upset I was prepared to hear both of his parent’s had died in a head on collision with an eighteen wheeler, although that would net him well over a million dollars, or one of his three precious Schnauzer’s had died. He then began the long story of how his maid had been vacuuming the entry way and had knocked the leg out from under an “Art Deco” bar filled with several thousand of dollars worth of antique cocktail shakers and Martini glasses. They fell to the floor and shattered. He tried to put it into perspective comparing the loss of his cocktail shakers to the loss of my job along with another lady who just lost her job who’d just bought a five hundred thousand dollar home to console him self and understand our pain. What the hell? He’d spent the last three days photographing the pieces and cataloguing them for the insurance company, but they wouldn’t pay for them unless he had opened the door and created a wind gust that caused the accident. The vacuum cleaner story wouldn’t work, so now the wind did it.

I guess my message this year is something we all know, or at least I hope so. Life is very precious. If you have someone in your life you love hold them tight and tell them, or call them on the phone now. You don’t know when, or if you’ll ever get another chance. Don’t spend so much time worrying about tomorrow there may not be a tomorrow.
Live each day in “Day Tight” compartments like a great ocean liner and enjoy the moment because that’s all we really have. I miss you all and love you very much!

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