I’m sitting in the casino restaurant on Christmas night. I would be sitting in the bar, but for two things. Firstly: Have you ever tried to read in a bar? Not easy. Sometimes not even possible. Secondly and most importantly: The State of New Mexico does not allow package or bar sales of alcohol on Christmas day. They could serve me a margarita with my meal, but no other drinking allowed. I never have more than one anyway, so no harm done.
We arrived here yesterday afternoon and managed to find our cabin with very little difficulty. We tend to argue vociferously over direction when traveling; each of us equally convinced of our navigational superiority. Sad to say, he appears to have the upper hand in arguments so far, having been right 2 1/3 times. That is enough to drive me to drink in and of itself, but I shan’t give in to such shallow temptation. The time he was 1/3 right he convinced me to drive all the way around the mountains this afternoon – in what I was certain was the wrong direction – instead of going over the mountains in the right direction as I had postulated.
I begrudged him the one third win when his rout was confirmed by a convenience store employee when I stopped to fill up with gas after having made snide remarks about needing to conserve as much fuel as possible for our foray around the entire mountain range. I may have to concede him a full half win and admit that his route, however circuitous and indirect, saved me from driving over the mountains during an afternoon sleet storm.
However, that was not what I intended to write and it appears that I have gone far afield and completely lost my point. Where was I?
Ah, yes. We arrived yesterday. After a late lunch/early supper we went back to the cabin to putter around a bit. Embarrassingly, we were both so tired that by , when the sun been down for more than an hour, we were both stretched out on the living room furniture and snuggled under blankets, fast asleep.
We woke around mid-night, thoroughly refreshed. And who wouldn’t be, after a six hour nap? It was by then definitely time to open presents - regardless of whether you belong to the Christmas Eve or Christmas morning camps of present openers.
I really don’t want to tell you what happened. You can see it all coming, can’t you? You can see that I forgot about the money and never told him it was there. You can imagine how the feisty little bill held fast and never slipped out of the wrapping paper and managed to get bundled up with the rest of the discarded wrappings and carted off to the dumpster, outside. In the cold. Outside to the dumpster where it was deposited amongst the detritus of the neighborhood. Where it would languish until sometime later when a blinding flash of memory sent one of us out to the offensive skiff, faced with the prospect of sorting the trash to retrieve the treasure.
You know that’s what happened, don’t you? And you’re wondering which of us made the dive?
Well, you’d be wrong. Very wrong.
What really happened is that as we finished our holiday plunder party the room began to get a little chilly. That’s because the fire in the fireplace had gone out.
Oh no? Oh, yes.
”Wait!” I cried. (Admit it – you breathed a sigh of relief here, thinking I’d remembered the $100 just in the nick of time and all was well. If so, you‘re wrong. Again.)
“Don’t just throw the paper on the fire – roll it into a log kind of thingy,” I commanded.
We sat back, admiring his fiery handiwork and fiddling with our gifts. It was at least five minutes before realization struck and our domestic tranquility was shattered by me leaping to my feet and attacking the fireplace amidst a hail of repetitive profanity. Reasonably startled,
I never found it. Not even a trace. Money burns very well, if you had any doubts about it.
All we could do was sit back and laugh, while I tried not to touch anything until I’d washed the soot off my hands and face.
This will certainly be a memorable Christmas. And if