By Greg Price
My usual holiday column had to be delayed one turn in the reporter rotation to defend the honour of my beloved Dallas Cowboys against a den of angry Lions fans.
But without further adieu, here are some observations on the human condition for the holiday season of 2014.
HOME SWEET HOME: This is the first time in like forever that I can remember where I did not fly home for Christmas to spend the holiday with my parents.
They flew to Allentown, Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with their daughter, son-in-law and niece and grandson and granddaughter. I had previously spent one Christmas there before with that much family and it was a wonderful time.
But given the price tag I was seeing on the flight and that approximately half the trip would be spent in airports, I decided not to go.
My parents were worried I would have to spend it alone, but the worries were unfounded. An aunt and cousins in Lethbridge, another aunt and uncle who were visiting from Phoenix and various friends all offered to share their homes with me this Christmas.
It is a sense of community that I would argue cannot be found in your larger centres.
I opened presents with the Simmons household and all their relatives who have known me quite well over the years before making my way into Lethbridge for Christmas dinner with my aunt and cousins.
The best present I got for Christmas 2014 is the knowledge of how much family and friends care about me as I do them.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Speaking of gifts, sometimes the most valued one is not the most expensive.
Case in point, my good friend’s daughter squealing with glee when she unwrapped her bounty of plastic plates that had dividers built into them.
I have no idea if indeed my friend’s daughter has brumotactillophobia (fear of food touching), but I gather seeing the smile on her face from ear to ear as she looked like she just won the lotto getting these departmentalized plastic plates, it’s safe to say I’d be accurate in that diagnosis.
INTERNATIONAL CUISINE: Speaking of food, I was able to partake in my aunt’s Japanese New Year cuisine celebration with several delectables from her parents in Lethbridge. While my sense of humour has not matured, my palate certainly has.
Yes, one trip as a child into the United States I ate french toast, a cheeseburger, and spaghetti for the meal rotation of breakfast, lunch and supper for every day on that trip. While in their 90s, my aunt’s parents still either made or oversaw the process of their children making many family Japanese delicacies. I’m at the point I’ll try any food once.
I may not like it, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. If I still had the regimented taste buds from my youth and refused to try new things, I would have missed out on many delicious offerings I’ve enjoyed over the years at these Japanese New Years gatherings.
SHE LIKES ME, SHE REALLY LIKES ME!: After a long hiatus, as of mid-December, I’ve re-entered the steady dating world with a girlfriend. While in my 40s now and still not officially ‘hitched,’ I guess you can say I’ve been unlucky in love in my life.
But I’ve always been of the school I want someone who is an extension of myself, adding something, not replacing something I feel missing.
I’ve always been blessed with good family and friends so maybe I haven’t put as much effort as I should in finding a companion.
Upon learning of this latest development some very supportive (and hilarious) friends inquired if my girlfriend required to be inflated or charged extra for hugs.
Or perhaps was like my imaginary friend Poco when I was a child. In all seriousness, friends and family that she has had a chance to meet have been very welcoming as we continue to enjoy our ‘honeymoon’ stage. I’m thinking of getting her a new toilet plunger for Valentine’s Day. That’s romantic right?
FITS ME TO A T: As my girlfriend and I have switched back and forth visiting each other’s family and friends, New Year’s Eve was time for her friends.
As any of my loyal readers would know, I like my T-shirts with their witty (some would say immature) sayings on them.
Wanting me to make sure I made a good first impression on a couple of her friends whose house we were visiting, my T-shirt collection was vetoed by the girlfriend. Instead of wowing them with my ‘Free Contradictions $1’ or ‘Mordor Fun Run…You Do Not Simply Walk’ T-shirts, I was relegated to your Christmas sweater fare.
Conversation with the couple flowed swimmingly that night until I uncovered that the married man was under the same protocol of no graphic T-shirts from his wife, as he yearned to wear his SpongBob SquarePants T-shirt for the New Year’s Eve gathering. Finding a common bond, I may have found my Graphic T-shirt Soulmate. Sometimes it’s not a bad thing for you just to be you.