The Last No Shit Christmas Post Of the Year

Posted: December 28, 2008 in The Roper Files
Tags: , ,

After a tense month or so of “Oh God not already” Christmas has come and gone. The presents have been unwrapped, the meals reduced to so many leftovers away in the fridge. Now the ice-cold bitch-slap of post Christmas reality is here. Friends have said Goodbye and left town. The mailbox tomorrow no doubt will be filled to the brim with how-the-fuck-am-I-going-to-pay-these bills.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. I’m sitting here in my chilly apartment wrapped in my protective layers of thermal underwear drinking coffee and watching a wonderful John Coltrane performance on a DVD. The sound of the saxophone, drums and bass fill an empty void in my living room courtesy of my 100-watt JBL home theater. I’m hungry and bored but not in a hurry to do anything or go anywhere. Everyday should be like this; I’m feeling a very unexplainable sense of contentment right now on this frosty Sunday morning.

My friend Baird was up from Austin as I mentioned previously this week with a shiny new Gretsch guitar in tow. We got together almost every night and played over at a friends place across town who has a 500-watt PA. Christmas night we were up drinking coffee all night long and playing guitars until past 2am, when Baird unstrapped his Gretsch and said: “No more” It was somewhere about that time I had this flash of a realization that THIS right here was what Christmas was really all about. Not the food or the presents or shopping and spending money. No Christmas was really all about spending quality time with friends and loved ones. And as much as I usually dread the ordeal of the ritualistic trappings that seem to go hand-in-hand with the season, I was actually enjoying it.

Was feeling a slight twinge of regret when we unplugged and rolled up the cords. Had a slight empty feeling as I gently lowered my white Fender down into the velvet-like interior of its hardshell case and closed the lid. My workaholic mind was working overtime on a holiday; hate when this happens.
The twenty-something temperatures outside felt a few degrees chillier as I loaded my guitar and amp into the bed of my truck and unlocked the door. Started up the cold engine and let it idle and warm up as I stared at the skyline of downtown Fort Worth and its countless glittering lights.

Began to really feel the holiday spirit as I sat at a red light and fumbled with the radio dial. My favorite late night listening has been a jazz station in Denton lately but this Christmas they are playing – guess what? – Christmas music. Despite my mood I turn the dial; there’s gotta be something else on. I find Howlin’ Wolf on some station. How how how how….The light turns green.

I began the downward descent that marks the beginning of the span over Forest Park Blvd and the Trinity River, slowing for the dip about a third of the way across.

It isn’t any sort of Guinness record holder but it is a long bridge, an EPA project that is still impressive. Even speeding it takes a minute or two to get from end-to-end of it.

As I cruise across the bridge Fort Worth is actually picturesque in a Disneyland sort of way with its lights reflected in the icy waters of the Trinity River and the red letters of the Montgomery Plaza building on my right glowing in a reassuring way in the dark night. Only one other car crosses my path on the entire way home.

Pulling up into the driveway, here come the cats. Brian’s here; it’s feeding time, right? They look at me in a confused way as I load my music gear out of the truck and into the house; where’s our food? After everything is safe in the house, I dump some food into their bowls. “Merry Christmas kitties” I tell them. They give me a cursory glance and get to the business of eating. Just another night to them. Oh well; Merry Christmas anyways you ungrateful four-legged freeloading flea-ridden felines….

Oh and a Happy New Year to the rest of you too!


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