That was the plan each year. It didn 't always work out that way.
It was December, 1990, and just about five months since the birth of my daughter, Amanda. It was also my wife Arlene 's birthday. She had not been out since the baby was born so this year we had a particularly large group to see the tree. A lot of her friends from work who normally were not part of this ensemble tagged along to celebrate her birthday and her re-emergence to the party scene. She was sorely missed by them, and in a little while you 'll see why.
There is a dive bar in the village called The Grassroots that was always our first stop on these excursions. It is three steps down from the sidewalk and when you walked in you noticed how low the tin-type ceiling was and that there was a phone booth by the entrance straight out of a nineteen-forty film noir. There was a mirror that ran the length of the bar and our doppelgangers marched along side of us as we headed to the back of the room. We quickly filled the place. Shortl...
... middle of paper ...
...ombie. I guided her over to a spot on the sidewalk and sat her down. Almost immediately a police officer came over and told me, "You can 't leave her there". I admit I hadn 't planned on leaving her there but in hindsight maybe I should have. I 'm sure someone would have found her and given her a happy home.
I pulled Arlene to her feet, but she was useless; her legs were rubber bands. I hoisted her over my shoulder and carried her through the streets. Needless to say we didn 't see the tree that year. The tradition changed after that. Going forward it was 'see the tree ' first then 'haul your drunken spouse on your shoulder ' afterward.
I haven 't been back to see the tree in quite a few years. It doesn 't really matter, though, because I probably don 't have the upper body strength anymore to carry someone through the streets of New York.
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