Blue Christmas

El Senor said that he's been noticing a theme to my blog lately (other than lack of posts). So today, I've decided to switch gears and blog about another brother. The fun brother.

Not that they're not all fun, but Richie is the one who really ups the fun to its highest notch. In fact, I had a dream two nights ago that he died, and I thought, "Oh no! Family gatherings will never be as much fun again!"

I was supposed to pick Richie up at the airport today. Unfortunately, he was supposed to fly through Denver. When I talked to him this morning, he said that air traffic was backed up so badly that he probably wouldn't make it out here to SLC until Christmas day.

He lives in Maryland near my parents, so I guess the three of them and my grandpa all convened to figure out a way for him to get to SLC. Now, my dad enjoys teasing others and one of his favorite teasing methods is to sing appropriate songs. (If there's no appropriate song that already exists, he'll make one up for the occasion. I'd blog about a time when he made up a song about El Senor's girlfriend and sung it to El Senor's roommate and El Senor got really mad, but I promised that I'd write about another brother today.) So Dad started singing "I'll have a blue Christmas without you..." And then Mom started crying. And then Dad started crying. And then Richie redoubled his efforts and found a way to get to SLC from Christmas Eve to December 29th.

So the fun brother is coming, and it won't be a blue Christmas after all.

Santa Claus?

I think that it's an appropriate time of year to share this story. For those under the age of eight, please read no further.

In our family, Santa never wrapped gifts. He simply placed our Christmas bounty around our stockings, wherever we'd lain them the night before. One year, I received a huge doll house from Santa.

A couple years later, that doll house was still on display in our basement, where I'd go to play with it. One day, a member of our ward came over---you know the type... one of those members. The kindof crazy, kindof clueless ones. He saw my doll house and said to me, "I remember when your mother was making that!" I said, "No, my mommy didn't make this." He said, "Oh yes, I remember! She was working on it in the garage!" I said, "No. Santa gave this to me." And suddenly the ward member became a little flustered and no longer tried to convince me that my mother had made it for me.

I took the day to really think about it, but by the end of the day, when I was in bed, I finally figured out that Santa was a lie. I was eight, so it was about time, but still, I started to cry. Captain Fabuloso and El Senor both heard me crying and in a rare moment of kindness, El Senor came into my room and asked me what was the matter. I explained to him that Santa wasn't real and he did his very best to convince me that yes, in fact, Santa was real. He did so well in fact that I was relieved and reassured of the reality of Santa.

Then, El Senor left my room. Captain Fabuloso was waiting in the hall to find out what was the matter. El Senor said to Captain Fabuloso, loud enough for me to hear, and in a rather gruff and impatient voice, "Cicada just figured out that Santa's not real."

My belief in Santa was destroyed, restored, and destroyed again and I cried myself to sleep.

Dead Serious

Just because someone has passed away doesn't mean that we have to be morose all the time. I'd like to share a few of the funeral week humor highlights.

Word Choice

  • When DP found out that I was in Canada, he wrote me an email asking, "What brings you up to Canada in the dead of winter?" Perhaps he could have chosen better wording...
  • When I was doing the funeral program, I asked my aunt what the deadline was. Again, there may have been a better way to phrase that...
  • I did the program quickly and didn't have much of a chance to proof it. It was perfect except that my uncle was giving the euology, not the eulogy. This led to much discussion on exactly what a euology is, and what a euologist might do. We finally concluded that because most of the eulogy was in the first person (my uncle read exerpts from my grandma's personal history), a euology must be a first-person eulogy.

Phone Faux-Pas

  • Although I didn't listen to my voice mail while I was in Canada, once I got home I listened to the messages that had accumulated while I was away. I received a message from Rice saying, "Cicada. I'm calling to tell you that you have been very lazy about your blog. I went online today expecting to be entertained, but only saw your old post about Dwight that I had already read. You need to be better about updating your blog. What could possibly be keeping you from maintaining it? Get back on the ball." Apparently immediately after calling me and leaving that message, she called El Senor and found out that I was in Canada for our grandma's funeral. Rice began to worry that maybe I'd be offended... Well, I was, Rice. Deeply hurt and offended. We're not talking anymore.
  • As we were making funeral preparations, my mom called a ward member to ask if she could play the organ. Her five-year-old daughter answered the phone and before passing the phone to her mother, dutifully asked who was speaking. Without thinking, my mother said, "This is Sister [Last Name]." The little girl started gasping, "Oh! Oh! Oh!" She covered the mouthpiece and called to her mother, "Mom! It's Sister [Last Name]! She's ALIVE!" Then she said into the mouthpiece, "Sister [Last Name], I thought you were dead." My mother then had to explain to her that she was just the daughter-in-law and that Sister [Last Name] was, in fact, dead.

Canada Doesn't Have the Internet

At least that would be the easiest excuse for why I haven't been blogging for the last little while. So please accept my apologies and I'll move on to more interesting things.

You know, I always think that I don't have money for a trip to Canada. Last year when I was a student, I planned a trip to Toronto to spend time with Spartacus and her brother Dave (it's such a generic name that I don't worry about using it). But I canceled last minute because I was worried about spending that much money. It turns out that at that time, it was the right decision to make. But since then, I've gotten a job that offers vacation time and pays well.

Tuesday night, I found out that my grandma died and suddenly I had enough money and motivation to make the trip. The Boy and I were on a plane Wednesday morning. Between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, there's not much time to make travel arrangements, and it was as I was walking out the door that Dave called me back and let me know that he and Spartacus could pick me up from the airport (otherwise we were just going to fly to Toronto and figure it out from there).

And so The Boy and I got a sort of mini vacation mixed in with a funeral. I'll tell you something, being back in Canada in some ways makes me regret that I ever left. Dave and Spart picked us up at the airport and took us out to eat and do a little shopping. At the mall (which, I must say, was a nicer mall than any I've seen in the States) I saw stores that I haven't seen for years. It's opportunities like this that I must seize in order to get clothing that no one else back home has. The cultural diversity was nice to see too (in Toronto---once we got up to Timmins, the only cultural diversity you get is English, French, and Native American).

The evening with Spart and Dave was great, and I can't help but think it must have made my grandma more than a little bit happy. It's never been a big secret that our families have always thought that Dave and I make a good match and that my grandparents especially have always thought that Spart and The Boy make a good match. I'm certain that my grandma was thrilled that her death brought about this double date. Special thanks go out to the two of them, by the way, because Spart took that evening and the next morning off of work so that she could look after us (The Boy stayed the night at her parents' house and I stayed at her apartment) and Dave took the evening off of law schooling during a very busy time of year to spend time with us.

There's so much about this trip that I can say, and I think that's been one factor in my not blogging for so long---trying to figure out what to say without going on forever. In the next few days, I'll have a little more to say perhaps about the funeral and my grandma, but for now, I'll just focus on the fact that it's surprising how quickly you can throw together a trip to Canada.

On our way back through Toronto (right now I'm at a hotel waiting for my flight home to SLC) we met up with Dave again---Spartacus was busy with work---and I let him know that I took my vacation to Canada and now it is his turn to come and visit me in Utah. We'll see if he lets me get away with using two evenings as "my turn" or if he makes me take a real Toronto vacation before he makes his way to Utah.

And I might also mention that though I am impressed with Canada and though I've recognized all those things that I've been missing for so many years, I don't think that Canada is better than the USA or that the USA is better than Canada. If I moved to Canada, there would be so many things about the USA that I would miss as well. And perhaps sometime soon I'll make a list for you of exactly what I miss about Canada and exactly what I would miss about Utah.