Friday, December 21, 2012

Lepley 2012 Family Christmas Letter...

            “New jersey?”
            “No, it’s not new. No I’ve had it for awhile. It still fits.”
            “No, New Jersey!  Your sweatshirt says New Jersey on it!”
            “Oh, yeah, right.  Sorry, I… well, my cousin lives there, she gave it to me. I‘m not from there.”
            “I know you’re not from there, you’re my Dad. I know where you’re from! I’m Bryan, remember?”
             “Oh, yeah, so how ya been?”
            “Waddaya mean, ‘how ya been’? I see you every day. You’re losing it.”
Three winter hats in search
of snow.
            “Did I lose something? Not my fault. ‘Course if you tell me what you lost I can help you find it.”

            “Kathleen, Dad’s losing it. Does Mom know?”
            “Yeah, she knows. Well, sort of. She just thinks he’s deaf”
            “Ya know what I think? I think he’s milkin’ it. Ever since he got his Medicare Card he’s been acting like all the old guys he hangs around with. I think Mom will eventually do the same thing but she’s too busy right now to get older.”
            “Ha! Well, I hope she keeps that up ‘cause baby Andrew loves his three days a week with her.”
            “Yeah, GavBoy’s crazy about his Mondays. Never wants to go home! And Ellie’s art and piano get a big boost from her, that’s for sure.”

             “Roger, are you going to write a Christmas letter this year? You know, Christmas is next week and they’re not going to delay it just for you!”
            “Kristy, geez, I get no respect. All these years I’ve put up with Christmas being on the 25th, with no complaints. Just once I would think we could maybe jam Christmas and New Years onto the same date and I know I’d be ready for that!”
            “Ha! I bet you wouldn’t. Did you take out the garbage?”
            “OK, I’ll write the letter tonight. Yep. Tonight I’m gonna write the letter AND take out the garbage! A double-header!”
            “There you go with your new sports-talk again! I’ll bet you don’t even know what a double-header is?”
            “Well, that’s true, but Ryan mentioned it one time this summer while goofin’ around with his iPad and I swear it had something to do with basketball or rugby or something. Anyway, doesn’t matter, I can still water ski. That’s a sport, isn’t it?”
            “I think so. Well, go write your letter. I need to get my cookies made, finish painting that chair, compose another Shutterfly album, needlepoint a Christmas stocking for Andrew and quilt a new bedspread, all by tomorrow.”

             “Hi Suz, Roger. Yeah, good. You? Say, I gotta write a Christmas letter tonight and you’re the only one I can ask this of ‘cause the rest of the family thinks I’m losing it and I know you can keep a secret. Well, yep, it’s true. So, the thing is, I can’t remember some stuff. Yeah. Well, like, do we still have the cottage on Sylvan Lake? Yes! That’s cool! Did we, like, have a great time there this summer like we always do? Really? That’s great, I love that place. And, Ellie learned how to water ski and Gavin went tubing and caught a bunch of fish? What about Andrew? So, he flopped around in the water and loved it? That’s really nice. Well, is there anything else I should mention in the letter? Yep, you’re right it is a great family. OK, I got it. Thanks! Bye!”

            “Kristy, I got the letter done.”
            “Well, that was quick.”
            “Yep. You know me. Ya get me talkin’ and I just won’t stop.”
            “Hmm, maybe I don’t know you!”
            “Very funny. So, instead of stuffing it into an envelope I’m just gonna post it on my blog and tell people about it on our Christmas card. So, if they wanna read it they can and if they don’t, well, it isn’t cluttering up their recycle bin.”
            “Well, aren’t you my brilliant, loveable, kind, handsome, generous, modern, high-tech, compassionate, brave, loyal husband?!”

 Editors note:  The dialog above is an absolutely accurate, unedited, transcript of true conversations except for the last sentence, which I added at the last minute. R

 Whoops. Forgot to take out the garbage.





Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Reflections on Dining Alone in a Chicago Bistro

               The encounter started with a simple nod and a simultaneous exchange of smiles. We both opened our mouths at once as though getting ready to speak, but both laughed with that recognition. His waiter had appeared, as had mine, to give menus and enlighten us of the chef’s specials. Our booths in the dark bistro were opposite each other with our waiters back to back, no doubt almost colliding. The servers then left to gather up our drinks.
                I had earlier removed my glasses but replaced them to study the menu, moving them around for the best focus in the low light. That’s when I saw that he, too, had glasses and was adjusting them. We nodded and smiled again, at our concurrent actions.
                We finished ordering at the same time and chuckled at all the coincidences. The bistro’s dim ambiance seemed a bit extreme, lit only by soft candles and minimal spots scattered about.  I glanced over to see that he had glasses on as well and we nodded again. After ordering, I removed my glasses, resting my eyes, allowing my brain to melt in the resulting fuzz. Dining alone after having spent a long day at the trade show, this was a special time for me to drift away into my own world, letting my mind and body cool down. After the repetitive chatter working solely at the convention, I longed for this quiet time, away from the incessant booth traffic. It had been a good day, a busy one. But the thought of just me having dinner with just me was welcome and cherished. And, I was very tired.
                Not by any means am I a hermit or loner, but I appreciate these rare evenings to think and create and garner up new thoughts or just plain back my brain through long-lost thoughts from times past. But also, it’s enjoyable to meet new folks in this sort of setting and chat if only for a cluster of minutes thrown together by fate. In just these brief moments, the nodding and smiling fellow across the aisle seemed as though, perhaps, in another life or time he might eventually be a good friend, even one for life, who knows, but here in the bistro’s din we simply acknowledge some time shared. Perhaps without words, only smiles and nods. His suit and tie, like mine, signaled a business fellow who probably also had a busy day, perhaps at a similar pace, who may enjoy time alone.
                 Although it was difficult to see, I was struck that his blurry form did look somewhat familiar and I almost got up to chat. At that moment it appeared he was going to do the same when both our waiters appeared, trays in hand, to dole out the welcome food. I was hungry and ate in earnest, trying not to glance over too often as I felt self-conscious that I might be acting a little too friendly and perhaps he would find that uncomfortable. As the meal went on, with both of us simultaneously ordering more beer, I began to lose interest in what might result in a long conversation. My weariness was getting the best of me.
                When we finished our meals and our bills arrived, I replaced my glasses to tally up and sign. While gathering my coat and briefcase I dropped my credit card under the table. In the turmoil of finding the card and securing my belongings,  I didn’t glance back, although I knew by a shadow or form that he was nearby before I walked to the dark, wood-paneled entry way. I looked back but he had disappeared - disappeared as in vaporized. Gone. Searching around the amber dining room, I saw only diners’ heads and waiters’ silhouettes in the room and revealed in the golden, mirrored walls, but not my dining companion. Too bad. I think I would have liked to at least exchange a word or two. I had convinced myself that he was probably a lot like me.