You Can Have the Christmas Spirit for More Than One Day
Merry Christmas to you girlfriends!! My dad used to say that he wished people would treat everyday like Christmas. You know, that warm, peaceful, generous feeling we get on Christmas day? Yeah that’s the feeling he wished he saw in everyone all the time, not just one day a year. I wholeheartedly agree with him that it sure would be nice if people kept a peacefulness about them and remembered to always love one another. I try very hard —although I’m not always successful— to do this. Especially with my girlfriends.
Appropriately this week, we are talking about Colorado. I say appropriately because many of us have beautiful visions of a white Christmas when December arrives. Despite the ten inches of snow and 50 mile an hour winds Santa gave all of us in Minnesota, the picturesque images of Colorado in the winter are unbeatable. It’s the perfect backdrop for Christmas day.
One of my dearest friends, Charlie, lives in Colorado. We have gone to school together since the seventh grade. She was the maid of honor at my wedding and ironically, has Lyme disease just like me. Talk about twinning! She’s native American with brown hair, while I’m a blonde German. You know what they say—every blondie needs a brownie!
When we were in our twenties, we were inseparable. We were living wild and free in California until she met a guy who took her away to New Mexico. They got married, had a couple of kids, and eventually started a furniture business once they moved to Colorado. She has lived there ever since.
Charlie and her former husband divorced a few years ago and she bought a home for herself in a cute little tourist town. I have never been there, but she describes the town as upscale, quaint, and very clean. Sounds like my kind of place. It’s Pagosa Springs if you have ever heard of it or are planning a trip. She loves to hike and be outdoors and claims this is the perfect spot for such a thing.
Charlie was that friend in high school who I alway “took care” of. We were wild back then and she was no stranger to drinking until she couldn’t see straight. We were all partiers, but Charlie had a propensity to drink too much.
We loved the game of “quarters”. I am sure it has been replaced with much more sophisticated drinking games—if such a thing exists! The game was simple. You get a glass of beer, take a quarter, and bounce it off the table to try to get in the beer. If you got it in the beer, then you got to choose who had to drink the beer. The key to winning was finding the sweet spot on the table that allowed for the perfect bounce into the glass. Some surfaces worked better than others. Hahahaha, OMG I am just thinking how many parents had dents in their dining room tables and had no idea where they came from.
We had other games that we played too, like Mexicali or Indian, but quarters was the most played.
When Charlie was well on her way to a drunken stupor, she became really fun. Not only was she fun, she was also funny. I wouldn’t call her the best dancer or greatest singer, but after a few rounds of our drinking game, she became a Beyoncé/Adele combo—in her own mind. Her AC/DC’s Angus Young impressions when “Whole Lotta Rosie” came on the boom box was also something to see.
I knew I didn’t have much longer before I had to step in as caretaker most of these nights. There was no way she could drive and to bring her home with me would have not been a good choice either. My mom was way too uncool to bring anyone home who was as drunk as Charlie. She would have immediately called her mom and told on her and that wasn’t happening on my watch!
So time after time I would pick up the phone and call Charlie’s mom.
“Hi Mom, it’s Charlie.”
“Oh hi Honey.”
“I’m gonna stay at Lisa’s tonight OK?”
“OK Sweetie, be home early tomorrow though alright?”
“OK Mom, I love you”
“Love you too, Babe. Good night.”
Charlie and I sounded identical on the phone. Hardly anyone could tell us apart. We still don’t know to this day if her mom ever knew or not. It worked every time. Now, my job was to find a safe place for her to sleep. Most of the time she would just go home with another friend, but there was one time where I had to stash her in a master bedroom closet behind all of the clothes so no guys would find her.
That night we were at an older classman’s house. They were two years older than us and there were so many people at this party. It seemed like the whole school was there—no freshmen, but definitely sophomores, juniors and seniors.
I never understood how these friends had such big parties and didn’t get into trouble. Edna would have killed me if she would have sensed something as slight as a chair not sitting in its correct space at the dining room table. She always knew when something was out of place. Sadly, I inherited this trait from her, so my kids had no chance of having house parties either.
I always had to be home by midnight when I was in high school and this party was still going strong at that time. I had no choice but to get Charlie to a space where no one would find her and leave her there. She was drunk enough to go to sleep early anyway.
I brought her into the parent’s bedroom, took out her contacts, and showed her the place on the floor behind a bunch of clothes where she needed to stay and sleep. Years later a friend of ours, Jeff, said he knew she was in there and slept on the floor outside the closet all night long so no one would find her. We believed him and didn’t think he tried to do anything with her. He is a very honest caring person still today.
Long ago, my girl Charlie shed her drinking habits. She’s living a clean and carefree lifestyle in Colorado with her kids and now grandkids. Geez that sounds so old. We’re so not old! She loves it there in the beautiful outdoors and clean fresh air. It is a bit of change from how we grew up in California. She no longer needs a caretaker, maybe because she no longer drinks. Conversely she has turned out to be one herself. She takes care of her kids and their kids at every turn. That’s definitely worthy of being wrapped up and put under the tree!
Merry Christmas to you all who celebrate today. I hope that you have been given the gift of friendship on this day or any other as I have with Charlie. It truly is an allowance given to us that I personally could never live without. So I say to you, give this gift of friendship to those you love and treat each day of the year with this same Christmas spirit—it would give my father great joy!
I love that you were with me today. See you next week!