Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in a nutshell.

Christmas is not an easy time of year for me, and I'm not sure I've actually enjoyed it for several years.  My family is spread out and different parts of it choose not to speak to other parts of it, while I still speak to all parts of it.  It was even more exciting when I had in-laws to figure in as well.  Also, after two years of hopping on a Boxing Day plane to go to a winter contradance festival, I did not do that this year.  The jury is still out (in my brain, at least) if it would have been better to go and face the asshole there who turned my life upside-down, or if it was better that I stay away until I feel like I can visit there without turning into Mount Vesuvius when I lay eyes upon him again (which is bound to happen, it's a small town).  I figure that at least I'm pretty sure I wouldn't start bawling when I see him (which is good), but I can not guarantee that I would remain civil.  And that's important to me.  I mean, I wouldn't search him out to give him a piece of my mind, but like I said, it's a small town and many people know what happened.  They already know he's a jerk.  I'd like to remain the one who isn't a jerk.

Anyway.  Yeah, Christmas.  So the week leading up to the Big Day has been especially anxiety-ridden this year, but the actual Big Day was very pleasant.  Gifts were received with honest gratitude; I helped Middlest Nephew assemble a light saber (a first for both of us), and the weather relaxed so that driving back and forth to my sister's was uneventful.  I was supposed to go up to my dad's the night before Christmas Eve and stay over, but the weather hadn't relaxed yet.  So we put it off til Friday, which didn't work either.  And that's how we arrived at today's trip.

My dad loves to give gifts, and is always on the lookout for things he finds interesting.  So sometimes his gifts are...well...a bit of a hodge-podge.  Always meant-well, never offensive, just sorta weird sometimes.  

So today, after a two-hour drive where, halfway through, the temperature dropped twenty degrees and the wind picked up to the point that it nearly blew me off my feet (no kidding) and Dad had texted to say, "Don't come, it really isn't safe" (which I didn't get, as I was driving with my hands clamped to the wheel), I arrived at the farm where I grew up, and we exchanged our gifts.

There was, indeed, the interesting assortment of little things, but this year, Dad also decided to give me my birthday present (as my birthday is in February, and he gets excited about presents and didn't want to wait).  So he handed me a long corduroy bag...with a beautiful new mountain dulcimer in it.  There is a fellow in the next town over that makes them.  We saw him at a country-fair type event earlier this fall, so I knew how lovely they were to look at, and how sweet they sounded too.

Dad picked out a lovely hourglass-shaped body of mostly curly maple, with stars for soundholes.  It matches the endrails on my hammered dulcimer.  It is the most personal gift I think I've ever received from him.

*happy sigh*  Dad really does pay attention.

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