It's Christmas in July, in letter form


In case you hadn’t noticed, every year the Eiden’s Christmas letter gets later and later, until this year, it’s an epistle for Christmas in July. Lucky you. And if you give it a couple more years, it’s going to be all the way around to an actual Christmas letter at Christmas. You’ll hardly be able to stand the thrill. I used to write at Christmas like a sane person, but then I realized the town wouldn’t burn down if I waited until after the busy holiday. This is between the busy holidays.

This year, Gar and I have been trying to be healthier. In fact, and you’ll be intrigued to know, I’ve made a concerted effort to be my strongest ever. I’ve just never told me about it, and thus, I’m basically doing what I was doing a year ago, which is eating and that’s about it. Yesterday, as I drove through a rancher’s yard, I looked over to see a horse, his face shoved completely into loose hay, and thought, “If not for being judged on social graces, I’d eat gravy just like that.”

Gar is swimming and finding the pool to his liking, and has become a legendary leg man. He’s got muscles he hasn’t had since playing college football and I rather like them, hair and all.

Last night we had brats, chips and watermelon for supper while sitting on our perches, which is me on the loveseat and Gar on the couch. The chips were sitting by Gar so when I got up I asked if I should put them away or leave them? He said, “Put them away. That way I’ll burn calories when I get up to go get them later.” A few days ago, there were two leftover sourdough pancakes in the fridge. Gar heated them and when he came to the living room, I could see they were buttered and sprinkled with sugar so I asked if he had also put on cinnamon? He shook his head, “No, just sugar. The cinnamon would have been too much. Way too much. I know my limits.” We’re still married because he makes me chortle. And he knows how to fix a doorknob.

Our marriage is as strong as anyone’s, I guess. I recently told Gar I’d do anything for him and his lips lilted and raising his eyebrows hopefully, he inquired, “Anything?” I said, “Yes, anything. But not dinner.” He wasn’t as deflated as one might think.

One evening, we took a walk and somewhere in the trees we heard a squirrel chirp. Looking up, we heard another squirrel farther away make a horrible, high-pitched screech. Gar scoffed, “What’s his problem?” I asked, “That shrieking?” He said, “Ya.” I said, “That wasn’t a him. That was her, and he just got home from work and asked, ‘What’s for dinner?’”

Poor Gar, he puts up with a lot out of me. On our way north after the long winter, we stayed one night in Amarillo, Texas. We decided to look up a restaurant close by so I asked what he wanted to eat? He said he didn’t care so I found a place, “The Iron Skillet” only a mile away. As I drove us down the road, Google Maps said to turn left. Looking around, Gar frowned and said, “That’s at a Petro station.” Sure enough, it was attached. I pulled into the parking lot and Gar turned to me, “Are we actually eating here?” I laughed, “Sure thing, jelly bean.” Looking pained, he muttered, “First class, baby, all the way.” I texted our kids about their dad’s disgust. Remember I’ve told you our offspring often lament, “Poor dad, poor, poor dad.” This was one of those times. I was laughing uproariously, but we ate there. Poor Gar, poor, poor Gar.

Sometimes I feel like Gar and I are aging and possibly losing our minds. When I said this, Gar declared, “We are aging and not possibly; we are losing our minds.” A month ago, I’d forgotten an appointment and, unsympathetically, Gar said, “You have the worst time.” This morning I asked if he’d went on Tuesday to have his blood drawn and he semi-shrieked, “Oh man, dang it! I forgot.” I shook my head and in mock sadness murmured, “You have the worst time.” I read about a young Silicon Valley executive tech guy who fled to his New Zealand doomsday bunker but forgot how to unlock it. Life is good. I feel better already.

Trena Eiden