Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Our Silver Balls

Sterling Silver BallOh for God's sake get your minds out of the gutters. I am talking about a beautiful tradition here.

The first Christmas that Laurent and I spent together was in 1979. It had been a year of firsts: we had our first apartment, our first vacation together, our first Christmas Eve open house, our first Christmas tree - artificial since himself is allergic to pine oil - and on that tree hung our first sterling silver Christmas ball from Neiman-Marcus engraved with the year. Now in 2007 we have 29 - one for each year we've been together.

In those early days the arrival of the N-M Christmas book, so unlike the dull uninspired thing it is today, was a major event: fun, full of surprises and unique things for Christmas. I ordered from it regularly - things that have become part of our Christmas tradtions. But the most important tradition has always been that Sterling Silver Christmas ball. Its simple, nothing more than the year engraved on it but each year no matter where we have lived - Mexico City, Cairo, Amman, Warsaw - somehow we've add one to our collection to celebrate another year together. Some years its been iffy however on Sunday our friend Robert came back from his Thanksgiving trip to Ohio with this year's addition.

Last year was a different story. Our friend Blake (Reese's Uncle Pervy) suggested that to save on duty (a whopping 45%) we send it to his friends in Up State New York. As we would be in Hong Kong at Christmas Blake would pick it up when he saw them at New Year's and our tradition would continue unbroken. Understand that Blake is one of our oldest and best-loved friends but he can be, well to be kind, a little forgetful at times.
  • In the excitement of the season Blake forgets to mention the incoming parcel to his friends
  • Unsolicited parcel arrives containing a silver ball with the year engraved on it and friends assume it is an appreciation gift from one of the many charities they contribute to over the year
  • Not finding it to their taste they give it to a friend for his Christmas tree and 28 years of tradition goes up in smoke
  • Blake trembles in fear at the prospect of telling me but I being a good and loving friend tell him between clenched teeth that it really does matter
  • Blake being forgetful not stupid doesn't for a moment believe me and goes on to E-bay where he finds one for much less than I paid
  • The tradition continues
However Laurent and I have agreed that next year - number 30 - may mark the end of the tradition. We're running out of room on the tree and its got to the point where - given how expensive our balls have become (oh stop it!!!) - the tree is now worth more than the gifts under it.

27 november - San Virgilio


Doralong said...

You are NOT allowed to stop until you hit 50. Period.

That's a sweet tradition. We were married right after Christmas, in front of our tree- so the tree is always a big deal for us (OK mostly me) every year. We get one new ornament every year, from the tasteful to the downright bizarre ;)

tater said...

Wonderful tradition for two wonderful men. what do you get for Reesie? I don't think you should stop until you have balls rolling out of drawers (stop it!!!).

more cowbell said...

What a wonderful story, Willym. And my, what gorgeous balls the two of you have. Sounds like your balls are worth their weight in, er, silver.

Anonymous said...

I love when you talk about your balls. This is a great tradition! I'm with Doralong. Go to 50. A story this sweet deserves a nice round number. (heh heh, accidental puniness)

Lorraine said...

That is a very lovely tradition. Not to mention that I'm a sucker for couples with serious longevity. Here's to your balls!

Willym said...

Thank you for all your gracious comments on our balls. Okay, stop the sniggers, now there are a few people out there who are going to be getting lumps of coal in their stockings this Christmas. You know who you are so I won't mention any names.

evilganome said...

Willym, I have to admire a man who's willing to show everyone his balls on the internet. (and handsome balls they are too)

Anonymous said...

Is 'lumps of coal in their stockings' a euphamism? Cuz I could use a good lump in my stocking right about now.

Anonymous said...

♫Silver Balls, Silver balls ♫
Soon it will be Christmas Day!
I love the tradition - keep it going!


Blake said...

I have been blogged! What an embarrassment. Oh well, it makes for a wonderful blog story.

Blake (aka Uncle Pervy)

more cowbell said...

I've said it before, and I'm saying it again right now: Ditto the Hat. Lumps in the stocking for everyone. Come on Santa, throw me a bone.

Willym said...

Soiled and sullied! Fine old traditions soiled and sullied.

Actually I think Soiled and Sullied were a vaudeville team in the early '20s. Soiled left the act and became a U.S. Congressman. Sullied turned to a life of debauchery without having to become a U.S. Congressman.

Hat: Guess you take the lumps that are coming to you. Hmm or am I only adding fuel to the fire?

EG:Thanks I've always been proud of our balls and take every chance I can get at Diplomatic functions to haul them out to the admiration of one and all.

BigAssBelle said...

what a sweet tradition!! 30 years is quite a collection. mike and i began picking up a christmas ornament on every trip we made. the tree was weighed down by our acquisitions, so we have now just stopped having one. :-)

i never thought i'd abandon christmas again but i have. and i feel incredibly free. funny how life changes.

Anonymous said...

Will, you should totally go for 50. Just buy a second tree and spread them out evenly. And voilà! Problem solved! :)
Marc-Aurele xx