In the waiting room at the doctor's office the other day. Tall, stout woman in her sixties weaing a white Christmas sweater decorated with rows of leaping red and green reindeer at the check-in window talking with the two young receptionists about all the shopping they have left to do. The woman leans lightly on a metal cane.
The receptionists have this and that to buy for that person and this. The first woman says that, although her list isn't complete, she's probably done. It's too difficult for her to get around this year with her foot like this. She and her husband did get into New York City for a day though. They saw the Christmas show at Radio City and she went back into town to take her mother to see Clay Aiken.
"Oh, how was that?" asks one of the receptionists.
"Well, I'll tell you," the woman says, "When that one was over, if a bunch a people didn't go down to the Brooklyn Bridge and jump off, I'll be surprised."
This stuns both receptionists. "He was that bad?"
"He wasn't bad. I like his music. And he sang beautifully. But it wasn't...I was expecting a Christmas show. Something merry. You know. Jingle Bells. Rudolph. He starts out by playing a recording of a story about a woman who's lost her child!"
"Oh yeah. And from there it got sad."
But the Christmas show at Radio City Music Hall was fun. She and her husband go every year. "That's our Christmas present to each other," she says. "We stopped giving gifts years ago. Because what's to give? What do we have left to buy each other? Listen. After thirty-nine years, if you don't have what you want, you don't need it."