Ran for 23 minutes this morning. It's getting better. If I can just keep it going…
I hate to sound like Scrooge McGrinch, I'm just not into Christmas. Between the religious whackos, crazy shoppers, and unadulterated commercialism, it's just not a holiday I enjoy any more.
I've spent the last 31 Christmas Days in Charlotte, NC with my family. Not this year. Pop died back in 1987 and my Mom passed away in July of this year. I love my sister Donna (who lives in Charlotte) and my brother Bill (Richmond, VA), but I just can't get motivated to go to Charlotte one more damn time right now. I know I'm probably selfish here, but I ain't budging from Raleigh this year.
I lived in Charlotte for the first 7 of those 31 Christmases. Since then (1984), I've been driving down every year. Enough! I need a break.
The last Christmas that I was not in Charlotte for was the Christmas of 1976. So here's a funny (or sad) story about that year:
I was 18 years old and mad in love (so I thought) with a girl named Cheryl. My parents had moved back to North Carolina a few months earlier, but I stayed behind in Maryland (suburban DC), where I rented a room in the basement of a former neighbor's house. Other than being my landlords, I didn't have anything to do with the married couple who owned the home. My family was 500 miles away and Cheryl's parents didn't like me. I certainly wasn't welcome in their home, so I spent the entirety of Christmas Day 1976 at a 7-Eleven I frequented nearby, playing game after game after game on the store's Captain Fantastic pinball machine. I was there every bit of 12 hours, but as I was pretty good on that particular machine, I don't think I spent more than two dollars in it all day. Back then, pinball was usually 10-cents per game or 3 for a quarter. I was bangin' it all day for free games, so the day passed pretty quickly. Finally, after her parents had gone to bed (which was usually around 10pm), Cheryl snuck out and we got to spend a little quality Christmas time together.
Today's Christmas was spent just the way I wanted it – completely alone. And I don't mind a bit…