Monday, January 10, 2011

on the 7th day

"It's all in the timing," Kevin says.

The guy should know.  He throws out some zingers.

He tosses them quietly.  Sometimes so quietly that I'm the only one who hears.  I laugh; a spontaneous cackle, and suddenly we're the two sharing a joke.  Then everyone wants in on it, but as much as the line may bear repeating, that priceless moment has passed. 

It was with great timing that on The 7th Day of Christmas, I gave my friend a bag of coal.  Just when she least expected it.

Years ago, Beth and I would house-sit each other's pets when the other was out of town.  One year I left small gifts for her to open; one each day while I was gone.  Thirty years later and she still talks about it! 

So this year I decided to send Beth off on her Christmas vacation with presents; one to open each day of The Twelve Days of Christmas; Christmas Day to the Epiphany. 

I wrapped, I gift-bagged, finally fitting them all into one large shopping bag so Jack couldn't complain about squeezing them in the already-fully-packed van and carting them halfway across the country.  (Jack, Beth's husband, is a teddy bear of a guy and one of my favorite people. I don't get to see enough of him anymore.  You hear that, Jack?)

But how to wrap the lumps of coal?  I couldn't decide.

I considered putting them in one of these pretty fabric bags... 

Or disguising them in a wine tote...

"Just give her a bag of coal," Spoke says. 


Into a plain, brown paper bag the coal went.  Then there we were, Kevin and I; two hanging out in their kitchen, sharing the joke yet to come. 

On The 7th Day of Christmas, I gave my friend a bag of coal.

Here, days after, she's still my friend.

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