I flew out of a busy and mildly irritating Newark. Even though I randomly had been granted an Elite Access boarding pass by the Continental gods, I had a longish wait to check a bag so that I the present I was giving that involved more than three ounces of liquid would not become a casualty of the War on Terror.
I sat next to a pilot heading home for the holidays. He'd just flown 200 some passengers in from Brussels. We talked about the airline industry, unions, the general degradation of the airline experience from flying's golden age, and NFL football.
I'm not telling you where I was for Christmas, but the lake level was a good six feet lower than we were used to, leaving an expanse of mudflats, one of the gas stations had a vending machine that sold live bait and I had lunch at a Chick-fil-A.
My sister, who falls for every trick in the book, got flustered when the boyfriend of her boyfriend's mother accused her of calling him "Limpy." He has an artificial leg.
At the location of a second bunch of relatives, which I'm also not telling you about, except to say that there's a university and lots of hills, my uncle poured me a tumbler full of bourbon, then another. Once I switched to beer for my own good, I gave my three-year-old cousin a sip , and she thanked me sweetly. The next day we drank champagne for lunch, and then did steaks on the grill (while at the store obtaining said steaks, CrimeNotes called me from Michigan, excited about his plans to sled in honor of Benazir). That night, my cousin and others went to that college town's equivalent of the Brown Jug, a hole-in-the-wall with signs from students and visitors all over the walls, some just months old, others from two decades in the past.
It was much more exciting than I made it sound, trust me. I did, however, sleep 11 hours when I got back.