1 - Law office Christmas
The three-day Christmas binge starts with wings and pasta at Alexis's law office on 45th in Highland. Attorneys Dave Gladish, Doug Walker, Mike Bosch and Alexis and a bunch of us make fun of Wayne Micka, the cabinetmaker - because we can. I didn't take any pictures. But here's a couple of Micka anyhows.
2 - Feliz Navidad
When I first came around 27 years ago, we'd all meet at Noemi and Gonzalo's house around 9pm and then at midnight you'd hug everyone in the room. It's a Mexican tradition. Now, since everyone's so much older and there are grandchildren, we meet at 4pm and everyone's home by nine.
4 - us Christmas
As a middle-aged dad, I crave time with my wife and two daughters. After Steve and his family leave, we sit in the living room and open presents. It's the only time all week that the four of us spend time together alone. This makes me sad to think about.
5. - my sister's house
Alexis and I do Thanksgiving. My sister Jennifer hosts Christmas: turkey, ham, sweet potato pie, green been casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, baked brie, artichoke dip, Michelle's famous salad and Jenny's famous cheesecake. We open grab bag gifts. Then we settle into a heated game of Scattergories. Nephew Al and daughter Jackie beat everyone.
6 - Martha Christmas
Alexis has a sister, Martha, who's 10 months older. We order pizza and pop to a room at the Munster Med-Inn, a long-term care facility in Munster. Sister-in-law Carol buys Martha a neck pillow. Martha wears it until she gets hot.
7- Dad Christmas
Dad had heart surgery a few days ago. He isn't supposed to leave home, so we bring the confusion to him. His wife, Kalli, has complained about dad wearing beat-up tennis shoes for a whole year. So Alexis and I buy dad new shoes.
8 - Jeff and Laura Christmas
9 - Goodbye Christmas
Brother Jeff, Me, childhoodlum friend Butch, and brother Brian at Round the Clock Restaurant in Highland, Indiana.
7:34am on the Sunday after Christmas. It has been one of the warmest Christmases on record, meaning that if you look outside right now there's no snow, only a depressing grayness to the stick figures of trees. I like it much better when it's colder and snowier. You wouldn't think so from a guy who grew up dreaming of going to California to escape the cold then actually did it.