An old friend is in town and we might have the chance to get together for a bit.

I fell down at work and had to spend time being sticky and muddy. Yuck.

Robbie Williams: "Angels"

KFC Chicken Strips & Mashed Potatoes/Gravy.

Back-to-back entries... Wow!

2 Jan. 2002
No entry.

2 Jan. 2001
Channel surfing.


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Quote du jour:
"Now it was serious -- a Double Dog Dre. What else was left but a Triple Dare You and finally the coup de grace of all dares -- the sinister Triple Dog Dare. ["I Triple Dog Dare you!"] Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the Triple Dare and going straight for the throat.." -- Ralphie Parker, "A Christmas Story."

The holidays, for the most part, were good to the Fletcher family.

Of course, I like to joke that my birthday on the 18th came in with fire and left with rain & tornados. Shortly after midnight, I overheard a page for my old department on a brush fire run. I was close to the station and stopped by to ride out on the call. I'm very happy working for Lakeland Fire... but after six months of being gone, I still miss making runs with Smallville.

After the fire and a trip to Wal-Mart for icing & such, I went home and spent a couple of hours decorating my cake. For some, the idea of decorating your own birthday cake ranks up there with wrapping your own Christmas gifts. But I enjoy coming up with new stuff every year and the results are usually interesting. I have a photo of this year's cake somewhere... Maybe I'll try to dig it up & share.

The day of my birthday was relatively uneventful. As tradition dictates, my family, Jessie & I gathered together in late afternoon for presents & cake. I got pretty decent loot... Most notably a DVD from my brother, a much-needed chair for my computer desk from Jessie and a cherry filing cabinet from my mom. I do believe that after a few more gift-giving holidays, my apartment will have what it needs.

After dinner, the fun started. Rough weather and tornados started popping up all over the south part of the country. A few ugly storms wreaked havoc around Lakeland and for a few hours, I thought I might get called back to help out. I avoided that and Smallville was spared, as it only got rain -- albeit lots of it.

While the city dodged major damage, the Fletcher home wasn't so lucky. As the day began with a bit of excitement, it ended with some more. Jessie, my brother & I were sitting around late that night when a great flash of light filled the entire house, thunder clapped as though it was down the street and the television in the den popped... and died of an electricity overdose.

On Christmas Eve, I once again had the chance to be a big part of my church's annual candlelight service. I've always considered the services on Christmas Eve the most magical of any I've ever been to and playing a role in them only increases that feeling.

For the second year in a row, I got to be the Linus of sorts and read from the second chapter of Luke in the Bible. It's an awesome story to think of how in one moment, these shepherds were just hanging out and trying to keep warm... And, in the next moment, heavenly beings unlike anything they'd ever seen were essentially telling them that the world would never be the same. I can't begin to imagine what that was like.

As a Presbyterian, my religious practices usually fall on the dull end of the spectrum. It's sort of odd because while we don't mind homosexuals joining the church or women being ministers... we're pretty sedate in worship. We don't clap. We don't shout "Amen!" Our music is usually limited to organs, choirs and old hymns. I've never seen a Presbyterian speak in tongues or dance in the isles. But none of that means that services aren't any less special to us... or any less powerful. Christmas Eve brought evidence of that.

I was standing at the front of the church as the lights dimmed and every person in the congregation lit their own small white candle. The hymn was Silent Night. Candles flickered on the sills of every stained glass window... And each person's candle provided a warm glow that illuminated their faces... Well, it was too much. I've laid my eyes on few sights more beautiful than looking out at all of those people glowing with the Christmas spirit. I choked up and I was overwhelmed with emotion. It stunned me. After all, I'm a Presbyterian and that's not supposed to happen. I'm glad it did.

My mom came into my room about 10:30 Christmas morning to ask when I was planning on getting up. I told her to give me 20 more minutes. Now there's a sign that I'm growing up.

Long gone are the mornings where my brother and I would wake before dawn to see the cornucopia of gifts left by Santa. Also gone is the crazy rate at which we could open gifts. Now, we sleep late and take our time with the presents under the tree. There's only three of us, so we open gifts one at a time. The result is that we usually open gifts until lunch, eat and the have the afternoon to put some of our new acquisitions into use (or nap).

I've been joking that 2002 brought the least Griswold-esque Christmas in recent memory. Everyone got along. Everyone got want they wanted. No one got socks. I consider that a success.

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