We spent an unusually warm Christmas Eve day driving down to our favorite place (on earth, possibly), the beach where we used to stay at for two weeks until last year and where Jim spent many a childhood summer vacation.
If you've been reading this blog for a bit, I'll warrant you won't be surprised to know that my guys did 18 miles handily, or that the rest of the day passed in a reasonably peaceful-easy manner with plenty of refueling/eating, iPad-ing with rather a lot of Disney tunes, and rides in the white car.
It being the holidays, Jim and Charlie and I found ourselves on a venerable New Jersey state highway off to get some Vietnamese summer rolls (yes, we can make them at home, but they never have that 'restaurant taste' and believe me, Charlie can tell the difference).
He first ate those rolls in a little restaurant in St. Paul, Minnesota, when he was a toddler. The restaurant was located in an old diner-ish sort of place (though diners aren't a Minnesota thing) and the young man whose parents owned the place and who often served us was Pete, and he had been a student at the U(niversity of Minnesota). And he liked cars.
And over and over 'Feliz Navidad' played on the sound system, no matter what the season. No matter what a mess Charlie made getting rice vermicelli and chopped cilantro and pickled carrot slices and bits of rice paper wrapper all over the floor and him and us. No matter what people said ('he's a handful,' was one man's comment and then, to Jim, 'I like your shoes').
It got to the point that Jim started to sing 'Feliz Charles 'n' Dad' as he and I hastily finished our squid and rice and noodles. I would gulp down tea while trying to clean up the remains of the meal with tissue-paper thin napkins, while Jim paid the bill and got on Charlie's parka, hat, and gloves, and carried him over the ice and packed snow to our still-newish green Subaru stationwagon.
It is a lot warmer here in Jersey. Charlie eats his summer rolls (which he still calls spring rolls because I think that's how they were listed on the menu of that St. Paul Vietnamese restaurant and we never corrected the error) quite neatly.
And driving down that state highway on the night before Christmas 2010 we heard one of the three of us's all-time favorite songs.
Once home (and the spring rolls eaten), Jim played another favorite song---we like to think of it as set in St. Paul, that being Charles Schulz's hometown. Plus, the Merriam-Grove Park neighborhood where we lived looks just like the backdrops Charlie Brown and the gang have their (mis)adventures in.
Whatever you celebrate, wishing all of our family and friends peace and joy, and happy times with your favorite people.