Editors Note: It being the week of Christmas I am posting a shorter article for all five of you to snicker at then go back to spending time with the actual human beings who are with you.
So here I sit, at my local watering hole in sunny seventy degree weather. Sipping on a winter beer and trying to conjure up thoughts of Christmas to write on. There is a double edged sword of writing ahead. The advantage is when the writers block descends you have some wiggle room for regular posting. The downside is sometimes you are unseasonably writing and so the muse fights you.
I wish in this moment to have visions of sugar plums dancing in my head. Instead I sit here sipping my pint and silently judging the hipster sitting over at the window. By his license plate I can see he is from Nashville, and his expensive cowboy boots confirm this. We are indoors but he has yet to take off his aviators… and ah he is here visiting his girlfriend who has arrived very late. I really appreciate how he has managed to artfully arrange his immediate needs at the table where sits, American Spirit cigarettes, new model iPhone, a pair of Ray Ban glasses, an ironically brought (I assume) YA horror book in library binding, and what looks like a tin of either hair pomade or dip. At a second table he has stashed his backpack, duffel bag, trilby, and a ziplock containing a toothbrush. I think it is fair to say I dislike this guy and his absurdly flowing hair.
But Christmas, yeah, it’s great. Last year we had eighty degree sunny weather, similar to today. Therefore I should be able to write something. David the owner here is choking on a bourbon. He toasted a couple of the lads over at the counter and then choked. It is odd, David is an experienced drinker, when we worked at my local liquor store he sold me my first and only bottle of Weller Antique. He has told me the coughing fit was due to a potato chip that went down wrong. A likely story.
Christmas as I think about this most wonderful time of the year, sitting here in my usual spot. I must conclude I really love this spot. It is mine. I once had a feud with a woman who stole it from me twice. She gloated commenting on what a great spot it is. The second time she brought an enormous child with her. I have since made it a point of honor to get here first and stake my claim. From my perch I can survey the entire taproom. I have a perfect view out both of the front windows for people watching. As well it provides me with a good view of the bar to spy out if there is any good conversation happening among the regulars that I might want to join. My table is also the perfect height for me. The square tables are an inch or too above my comfort level. Being slight and short of stature a lower table is preferred, and in my corner is one of these tables. I am Norm, this is my end of the bar, this is my Cheers.
As the holiday approaches I turn my mind to that jolly old elf. The former bishop of Turkey, who punched the heretic Arius at the Council of Nicaea. I don’t actually believe in Saints proper, the title, but if I did Nick earned it. I also don’t believe in elves, but there is a dwarf here. He is one of the regulars, and works at a local brewery. A really sweet guy, big bushy beard, rotund, and short, but he is loud, and the range of his opinions have lead me to title him The Obnoxious Dwarf. He serves as David’s Karen deterrent. Whenever someone shows up looking for infractions to rat out of whatever the current health department has recently cooked up. David sets TOD on them. After a profanity laced rant on how women should not be allowed to drive, these people typically close out and move on to the greener pastures of the vegan restaurant next door.
Christmas is a time for family we are told, and speaking of some of mine just wandered in! My brother-in-law is another regular here. Outside of my wife he is the immediate member of my family I see most often. Interesting chap. Simply by virtue of sharing a watering hole I have been present for a few important life moments. It would be nice if they didn’t so often coincide with meetings with my Church small group leader. He has now also been present for a few important life moments of my brother-in-law. Most recently when he was fired. The poor guy moved through the stages of grief right at our table. Anger was fun. That is exactly the kind of language I want being shouted while I am hosting someone from church. Things were not helped by that fact that when my sister showed up the excellent view of my spot allowed us ample time to criticize, what we assumed, was the lesbian witch badly parallel parking. Humble pie was had by all as I had to exclaim, “Oh lord, that’s my sister.” It was then that her husband moved on to the stage of grief and burst into tears.
Christmas is a glorious time. It is a moment where we get to appreciate the gift God has given us in his Son. And we celebrate that in sharing gifts with one another. But it also can afford us the opportunity to reflect on the outpouring of the good gifts God gives during our year. All the interesting moments, people, and experiences that he prepared for us (before the foundation of the world). God has blessed me with this place I love to come to and write in. And the cast of characters that have unknowingly blessed me. So I conclude by Thanking God for, in no particular order, Skylar, Michael, Jesse, Robyn, David, Kevin, Mike, My Worthy Opponent, Mike, and the Horrible Hipster Guy from Nashville.* Merry Christmas to you all.
*WHO JUST MADE HIS GIRLFRIEND PAY FOR ALL THEIR PINTS!!!!! C’mon man.