First…let me start by saying that Alissa isn’t aware of this post. I’m sneaking it in, and hope that you all understand why by the end of what I am going to write here.
After what has clearly been one of the most contentious years in many decades, I think we are all breathing a slight sigh of relief that at least during the next few days, no matter how or what you celebrate this time of year, can be yours to embrace and savor. I personally, love the Christmas season. At the age of of almost 63 (on New Year’s Day), it is absolutely impossible to target any single Christmas memory as “the best ever.” Choosing a favorite Simpson’s Christmas episode is difficult enough…and there are only a handful of them.
What I do know, is that my favorite two movies this time of year, both of which we watch faithfully with the kids every Christmas Eve, are “It’s a Wonderful LIfe” and the Goerge C. Scott version of “A Christmas Carol.” For me, the reason they resonate so strongly, is that they are both stories of men gone astray, and then finding salvation and a second chance for redemption.
I can honestly say that I have had far more second chances in life than any man deserves. But, part of that gift is understanding when one has been handed to you, and knowing to appreciate it.
I had exactly one of those “Chances for Redemption” this year…
Anyone who knows the crazy twists and turns of the relationship that Alissa and I shared over the past three years, would never, ever, ever, ever, (ever?) have laid bets that I would be writing this post, on this blog site today. As in, never.
And yet, through the grace of a meeting, on a whim, when I realized that no matter what happened with TSTOFriends, I just HAD to meet Alissa in person, a chance for “redemption” was offered…and accepted. It is a moment in time that was so clearly a crossroads for me, that it is almost as if nothing beforehand in our stories, troubled past, ever happened.
Without going into detail, (because frankly, it is our own personal business) suffice it to say that “two old (one much older) TSTO heads of family, decided that putting away our differences, getting over old injuries, and working together” was a good idea. I was tired. I was frizzle-fried…and she knew that we still shared a spark of friendship that could be grown into a form of trust from which two veterans of the TSTO wars could benefit. A deal was sealed. And I have never been more grateful for the chance to stay in the game, without having to carry the sole burden each day.
But most of all, we have navigated some very choppy waters together in the past few months that make me realize that strife burnishes the strength of a friendship like nothing else can. Let’s be honest…there are some aspect of the game, and the world at large, that can make turning on the padular device every day a bit of a challenge. But, knowing that Alissa is just a text away, and will likely share the exact same emotions about world events or game-play that I do, is a comfort.
Make no mistake about it. When it comes to many topics…we are almost polar opposites. Politics, religion, sports teams…almost nothing in common by today’s benchmark of “what constitutes a friend.” But, surprisingly, even though she is of the same age as my daughters, I have found that leaning on her wisdom, and her instinct to “try to say something nice, or not at all” is a lesson that I continue to learn, even in my current state of “crank-i-tude.”
You benefit from her patience, and dogged determination to provide you with the details of the game (of which she does 95% of the posts on this site). I benefit from her friendship and lessons in forgiveness. And again…who can be mad when Riley is in mix??
I can’t thank her enough, for the chance to “go out gracefully” at a time when I felt nothing close to graceful when deciding to shut down TSTOFriends. I don’t regret what we did at “Friends,” I made loads of wonderful friends there, and the work we started and continue to do through Friends of Buyijja will continue for my lifetime and beyond. Many of those friends and readers have followed me here…and miss my “Cranky side,” as I rambled on about life events, world views, and the game (mostly in that order). I smile every time I see a name I recognize in comments.
Thanks and gratitude. It is a feeling that should be prevalent in all of our lives…as we are lucky to be here, in this community that Alissa made for all of us.
What I do know, is that Alissa is a VERY TRADITIONAL person when it comes to Christmas. And just like Scrooge, I was once a child who celebrated this holiday like no other.
More than 20 years ago, my mother and I wrote a book of family memories for a Christmas gift to our family. One of the “novelettes” in this expanded book, was one I wrote about my memories of Christmas as a boy, growing up in Portland, Oregon in the early 1960s. As a small token of my appreciation for the season, I offer it to you here, as a download. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
There is an innocence in the style, as I was channeling the emotions of a child. And yet, as I said before…if you are wise, you continue to learn the lessons that this season is really all about, long after you are cranky and old.
To all of you who have embraced my “encroachment on hallowed ground” here at TSTOAddicts (and even to those of you who still can’t let go of grudges long formed), I offer you the very best wishes for the coming year.
The Merriest Christmas, The Happiest New Year, and my sincere wishes that “you get everything you deserve” in the games of TSTO and life!
With warmth and affection…a FAR LESS CrankyOldGuy.
Yes…to all of you who keep asking in emails…I am THAT Patric Miller who did the music for the Claymation Christmas Carol in the 1980s. If you want to know the full story, and here the music...you can go here.