My favorite Christmas present
Of course, Christmas is always a favorite time of the year. For me, that's the holiday itself, with family first and foremost.
This year was no exception. There is always that "favorite" present that's received. For me, that was a little different and wasn't technically a present, but I certainly view it that way.
What I got this year that meant more to me than anything was a trip home to Liberal with my boys, which translated into six hours down and six hours back of uninterrupted time with them. In the world of busy schedules and two college-age sons, 12 hours spent together is like the TV commercial says -- priceless.
It was a time to get caught up with them on the semesters just completed, Brett at Drake University and Anthony at Baker. That was, of course, interesting, but only a small portion of the discussions. Future plans were also broached and both had exciting ideas on where they're headed next.
We also talked about sports, mostly football, and listened to the Christmas Eve game between the Packers and Vikings on the way down and the Colts and Chargers on the way back. The NFL has always been a big part of our relationship and we still have a contest each week involving picking the games. Now it's done by e-mail instead of in person. That's not the only technological advancement. We were able to listen to those games on the new satellite radio system that "Santa" had brought Anth. We sure were glad "she" came early this year.
We did our usual rock-and-roll trivia while listening to music when the games weren't on. It's another of our long-standing traditions. A song will come on and I'll ask them who the band is. We don't do it on the obvious songs, but there were several that stumped them. Then it's time for hints and that's developed over the years to where they can usually get it right. One in particular this year was "ELP." They both got it right with Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
But we also had a great amount of childhood memories rekindled, thanks in big part to a photo album my mom gave me. They both looked at it while we drove back and there were numerous pictures that sparked memories of the favorite dog, "Gus," and the biggy of the times they were growing up -- the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
We also got laughs out of the "time warp" we were in while driving through western Kansas. When was the last time you saw an Alco store? Or have you ever? And that "warp" was made even more obvious by the changes in cell phone coverage we all had.
Of course, it wasn't all talk. Anth did his share of sleeping and Brett studied for his upcoming LSAT test. But, each minute was precious to me. That included the time at my parents' house, or grandma and papa to the boys. We had a wonderful time, great visits, lots of football, presents and Christmas dinner by mom, which was delicious -- especially the noodles that were so much better than the ones I cooked for the boys at Thanksgiving.
Yes, the time was my favorite present, but the DVD the boys got me was right there, too. Now I can watch The Big Labowski and Blazing Saddles, two DVDs they had gotten me last year, anytime I want.