Today’s the day when children across the country will be writing school essays entitled, “How I spent my winter vacation.” In that spirit – and inspired by 11 days recently spent in long lines at the Post Office and even longer lines on toll roads – I’d like to submit . . .
What I learned on my winter vacation.
- A pact with your wife stating “We’re not exchanging gifts this year” is the kind of promise she’d really like you to break.
- Old people love to buy postage stamps in the Post Office, because, of course, books of stamps are unavailable anywhere else, and standing 12 deep in front of me must be tremendously satisfying for them.
- Watching HGTV at your in-laws’ house for three hours straight reveals two things: You have nothing more of value to contribute to the conversation, and you really need to give in to those greedy bastards at Comcast and buy the digital cable package when you get home.
- A $4 tip on an $8 valet service doesn’t mean you’re generous. It just proves you don’t know how to valet.
- Eating Christmas dinner at 3:30 p.m. guarantees eating another round of dinner at 9:30 p.m. This, in turn, prompts a two-hour spell of insomnia from 2 – 4 a.m. while your aging body attempts to metabolize the assault of late-night calories.
- It’s great to have a brother-in-law who is an auto mechanic, especially when you need your tires aligned after seven hours on the road. It would be even sweeter to have a wife who is a chiropractor, especially when you need your spine realigned after eight hours spooning her in your 11-year-old nephew’s double bed.
- “A Christmas Story” is exactly the kind of movie I would write, if I could write a screenplay. I just wish television networks would broadcast it more frequently during the holidays. So hard to catch.
- The sparkling wine “Freixenet” is not pronounced “Frix-a-net.” You will learn this lesson mercifully when the 21-year-old bartender whispers to you, “Dude, I think it’s ‘Free-ja-nay.’” Thanks champ. It wasn’t for me anyway.
- My kids are angelic gifts from God, so long as they are occupied by LEGOs, iPods, sleeping in the car or engaged in any activity that limits their interactivity with each other.
But of all the lessons learned this holiday season, one tenet stands out among the rest for this accidental adult. My wife’s 94-year-old grandmother still thinks it’s Kelly’s job to apologize to me every time we’re in a fight because she is a woman and that’s what women should do to keep their marriages strong. God love Grandma and her thinking. Maybe in her wisdom, she knew better than anyone in my family what a road-weary, frazzled father like me simply wanted the most for his winter vacation: A Silent Night.
I suspect when Kelly reads this, I’ll get just that.