I survived seemingly interminable holidays and live to tell a tale or two.
By Hannah Wallace
Wow. Almost couldn’t find the office this morning. Nearly walked into the Bradenton Target instead—old habit. Tough to find your footing again after being dizzied by the Christmas whirlwind, right?
By my count, I celebrated 97 Christmases over the past two weeks. CCB’s family was responsible for about 73 of those over just one weekend—back-to-back days of Cheetah Club cousins upon cousins, leading CCB to weep, “I don’t want any more Christmas!” Then, we topped off a 12-hour Christmas Eve road trip with Sarasota Wallace Christmases galore.
But in retrospect it was exactly what the holiday should be: a one-two punch of family and indulgence, after which, thank the good Lord, we had a week’s worth of vacation to recover.
Of course, New Year’s sets that recovery back a bit. We celebrated at Bradenton’s Rasher Tierney’s with the Harribles—who, if you remember, were also celebrating their one-year anniversary. A nifty observation: When we returned at noon the next day to retrieve my car, the parking lot was still more than half full. Cheers to taxi cab vogue.
No resolutions to regale you with this year. Instead of contemplating goals for self-improvement in 2008, I’ve been busy moving (i.e.,  contemplating a bonfire of my belongings), which is a joy I’ll describe in expletive-filled detail next week.
I did want to make sure I fit my warm-and-fuzzy Christmas sentiments in here somewhere. (If we’re not filled with the joy of the season, Mother beats us.) And a few days before the avalanche of festivities began, I encountered the spirit firsthand—in the Ellenton Applebee’s, of all places:
Post-hockey a few Sundays ago, CCB and I sat in the Applebee’s entrance area, beer mugs in hand, watching football and waiting for the staff to ready a high-top table for the Beerslingers. In front of us, a young family that had just finished dinner stood out amid the parade of humanity going in and out of the restaurant. First, several energetic daughters pranced by, their father escorting them. I hadn’t taken much notice, but then, much slower and bringing up the rear, came the mother, hand in hand with the hobbling youngest daughter, one foot shoeless and bandaged. Despite struggling to walk, the girl, who couldn’t have been older than three or four, was smiling from ear to ear, and giggled and waved when her sisters, on their way to the car, tapped on the window and made faces.
They waited on the bench next to us, and we exchanged a few casual remarks about Brian Westbrook and the Eagles’ unpredictable offense, until the father pulled the car up to the front door and the woman picked up her daughter and left. It wasn’t anything more than a purely happy family tableau, but it struck me, and I desperately wanted to ask the woman, as she carried her smiling daughter out the door, if she would please ask the child to say, “God bless us, everyone.”