Is that German?

Given that several of my friends grew up in northeast Arkansas, I would make a yearly Christmas-break pilgrimage to visit them and their families. My general rule: see as many people as possible, cause as little fuss as possible, and stay no more than two nights at any one house. Even under those circumstances, I could easily be gone for a week.

In the years that have passed, I've managed to forget all but the most amusing—or embarrassing—moments that occurred during those trips. I distinctly remember the drives Monica and I made back and forth to Paragould, and my complete and utter inability to use my normally-excellent poker face against Matthew. Matthew, of course, beat me senseless at poker and made me laugh the entire time.

(Luckily for me, I know Matthew well enough to know better than to play poker against him for money. Ever.)

Welcome back, Susan

A couple of weeks ago, Susan popped up in my life again. I hadn't heard from her in a year or two; the last time I'd heard from her, she was sharing an apartment with a fellow whom, I later learned, was from the United Arab Emirates.

I will say this for Susan: she is cursed to live an interesting life. I began to understand this when I was a sophomore and she a freshman in college. She tried to explain her love of fast cars to me at one point in time, shortly after we met. I don't remember what it was that she drove, but it was all black—from the paint to the tinted windows to the leather interior. I called it the BatCar.

24-7 Family Togetherness Time

For lack of a coherent entry, I thought I'd ramble a bit…

I never quite found a way to believe that my little blue planet took the opportunity of wintertime to point away from the Sun, not until I looked up one icy, sunny winter day and saw the rainbows. Every year after that, they came back, like the ice, my silent friends of wintertime afternoons. Only in midwinter was the sunlight angled correctly to stream in through the picture window, where it would be refracted through the cut-glass panes of my mother's coffee table.

If you looked up, straight ahead, toward the kitchen, you would see the horizontal rainbows splayed against the ceiling. They would show up first as white globs of light, then sharpen into rainbows, and then quietly fade over the course of the afternoon.

On the days of ice storms, they gave me something else to watch besides the glass-sculpture world outside the window.

Someone's gotta speak at your wake

I said I wouldn't write tonight. I kept my promise; by the time this will be posted, it will be morning. That's fair, is it not? (In some fashion?)

I generally don't write here when I'm troubled or upset. Partly because these moods pass, partly because I am ruled by those moods more than I care to admit, and partly because my natural reaction to 'the blues' is to retreat down deep into myself. Down, past verbose explanations and even sillier tears, to my little mental hiding place where no people, no words, can touch me.

What you can't see is that I'm writing this in the dark. I have the mini-blinds open, and outside, I can see the rain sluicing off of our roof and running into the garden. Farther away, I can't see the rain, but I can see the shimmering effect it has on the reflection from the neighbor's streetlight. It's raining hard enough that I can hear it over Jeff's computer; in the master bedroom it is, probably, quite loud indeed.

The parade of fruits

I had a lot of roommates during my collegiate years, and to be honest, I didn't care for most of them. Monica stands out as the only one I've kept in touch with; we were friends before we became roommates, and despite my worst (best?) shenanigans, we managed to stay friends afterward.

I emailed her this past week to tell her that one of her collegiate games has stuck with me; that I've infected others with it, and it shows no sign of stopping.At some point, just about every person who attends an American college and lives on-campus discovers one beautiful, innate truth: it's really fun to mess with the heads of your drunken college friends. It takes almost no mental effort on your part, and the rewards are so great that it's sometimes even worth staying sober at the parties, just so you can be the one to tell the stories about all your friends the next day.

Allow the photos to suffice

Several times this year I've promised friends that when I went back to Tull for the Christmas holidays, that I would take pictures. Most of them have trouble imagining a reality of a place like Tull, because few places like it still exist.

So, this year, I went home for Christmas and brought the camera.

This is where I grew up.