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
27 november - San Virgilio