Thursday, December 11, 2014


Every year, Brad and Theresa have this night where they keep their shop open all night long. There is cider and chocolate, and prizes sometimes, and you can do your Christmas shopping at like 3 AM, which is kind of a novelty and therefore so much funner than doing your Christmas shopping at 3 PM.

Every year, I go. I eat the chocolate and drink the cider and visit with Brad and Theresa. And I guess I hadn't realized it was an actual Christmas Tradition for me until this year, when I walked in and Theresa hugged me like she does every year and said, "You came!" like she does every year and I said, "Of course I came!" like I do every year and suddenly I got that feeling that you get as a kid when the first Christmas song of the season comes on the radio. That a definite line has been crossed from Regular Winter to Christmas Winter. And I knew that at least part of the reason that I came every year was because it meant something to me.

But I guess that's how the best traditions are born. You don't do them so that they'll become traditions, you do something because you love it and then you gradually realize that if you don't do it anymore, something will be missing. Sometimes you recognize right as something is happening that it's going to become a tradition, but I think usually you don't figure it out right away. Just the repetitious doing doesn't make something a tradition. There's something else. Something about memory and nostalgia and brains.

Anyway, last Thursday was the night. We were on our way home from a friend's house and Sully was asleep in the back seat, so Barclay offered to drive him around the block a few times while I ran in to say hello.

And thus began the Christmas season of 2014.

Oh wait, though.

It's maybe important to add, because I can't see why it wouldn't be, that there were fire breathers hanging around outside the shop that night. This isn't usually part of the tradition, but traditions taking place on 13th Ave have to be somewhat malleable, so this year it was. I left the shop and watched them while I waited for Barclay to come by and pick me up. I recognized the fire breathers, a guy and a girl, from a couple summers ago, only back then they were into extreme hoola-hooping (not flammable enough of a hobby, I guess).

A drunk man staggered past at one point and didn't seem to notice them until he was standing about four inches from the guy's flaming baton. He jumped back, his eyes wild, and shouted, "FIRE!"

And thus began the Christmas season of 2014.