With Christmas just days away, it's the season of giving and receiving. I was lucky enough to combine both of those factors doing something extremely special to celebrate the holiday...and I got to do it early this year. Though I'm not a member of the group, 'Pay It Forward', what transpired reminded me of their purpose. Many members of Gather, including staff, have been so extremely nice to me in various ways since I experienced a health crisis earlier this year in which my life was in danger and I ended up losing my right leg. I had the opportunity to 'pay it forward' and extend my hand to help save a life. Your giving goes on through me.
Recently, I posted wondering what my best friend, Scott, was going to get me for Christmas. He said it was a surprise, but gave me all kinds of clues as to what it might be. I'm a 'gift shaker' when opening packages and I like the challenge of trying to guess what's inside. It's a way for me to practice using my ESPN. That's what Scott and I call ESP; extra-sensory perception...our ESP 'N' - Network. With his gift to me, Scott said it was something I wanted, but would never buy. He felt it would do me good to have this. It normally cost $75, but was on sale for $25...66% off for Christmas. I could go with him or let him pick it out before Christmas or he'd have to give me a gift certificate, but he didn't know how I'd get to where I had to redeem the gift card for what he was giving me. It would also last 15 years.
Actually, my ESPN was at work when we initially spoke about what I wanted for Christmas. It was a conversation between Scott and me, after all, and we have an extremely strong bond being best friends for going on seven years now. I had a 'feeling' what it would be, but I didn't let on. Many of you helped me with the guessing and we eliminated almost all of the ideas given, though several of the items you suggested I'd really like to have. Several said it was going to be a guy with a bow tied to his package...as my package. Woot!!! Then, I got askerrd of that considering the price. On sale for $25, he had to be a mess or that would't even cover half an hour with someone halfway decent looking. Damn! Cookies were suggested, of course. I mean, I looooove cookies, but even I couldn't eat $75 worth before they went stale. If it were actually only $25 worth, consider them history by year's end! Beer of the month club was cool, but Scott would end up probably drinking them all because I wouldn't care for the brand I was sent. I'm not one into all the micro brews or fancy frou frou tooty fruity flavors; none of those queer beers. Just gimme a plain, old beer...BEHR! I'll take a Labatt or Molson Ice...a little extra kick per can...for a little more of a kick in your can. Many of the other things you mentioned, I simply didn't need or want. Scott knows my tastes and knows me well enough to figure out what not to get, at least. Keep it simple; like me. I don't live an extravagant lifestyle by any means.
Friday night, I got a phone call from Scott going on ten o'clock. He ended up giving me, what I'd find out the next night, was the old song and dance shuffle. He wanted me to come over for Christmas dinner the next night. We have a dinner party at one of the city's drag queen messes' house next weekend. His guy is going to be with his family Christmas day, so he wants me to come over and share a small, quiet celebration together. No problem with any of it. I always cherish spending whatever time it is, wherever, with him. It threw me into a panic because no way could I prepare for Christmas overnight. I have cookies, cheesecake and a Dutch apple pie to bake, as well as fudge to make. I'm preparing several kinds of cheese and pepperoni, along with two flavors of dip, three styles of crackers and a couple types of chips...all of which hve to be arranged on platters. I haven't wrapped a single present yet, of which I have at least thirty and a couple stockings for Scott, his guy and their Pooper dog. I was told not to worry about it. We'll still have all that Christmas day...and the two of us will 'Moo' by the end of the day.
Appetizers and wine started out our evening...along with good conversation and playing with the puppy. Dinner was served, followed by dessert; then we retired back to the living room to relax. While chatting, Tom, the 'husband' asked Scott if he was going to have me open my gifts so he could watch since he won't be there Christmas day. Scott knows how much I hate opening presents early because I like having thing under the tree to unwrap Christmas morning. I tried to weasel out of doing it, but he brow beat me into submitting. He goes from a fat, Italian mama cooking in the kitchen to a guilt strewing Jewish mother trying to get someone to do something. I was handed a somewhat large box and was told no shaking it. Damn! I lifted it and tilted it a little thinking my big ticket item was inside...what I thought it was. I open the box and kind of say to myself...nice blanket and Yankee jar candle. I knew that wasn't it. The next package had shredded red paper covering the top when I opened that box. Great, he got me a friggin' clown suit and this is a Ronald McDonald wig. At least my feet are huge enough at size 16 to play the part well. I moved the paper aside and discovered the 'accessories' he told me he had purchase to go with the main present. It was quite obvious I had suspected correctly with my initial notion as to what he was giving me.
Now, for the biggie. Quit teasing me, b*tch! Gimme...gimme...gimme! He disappears into the bedroom and comes out carrying my gift...no wrapping; not even a bow. A kitty!!! I became a daddy once again. I got me a little pussy. *Wink...wink* She was so soft and warm...and such a little lover. Scott sat my new baby on my lap and introduced her as 'Shimmer'. Where the hell did someone come up with that kind of name for her? Shimmer...glimmer...gay glitter. It actually sounded like a black hair care product to me. Alright, Shimmer it is, though I'll have half a dozen nicknames for her; Baby, Sweetie, Kitty, Pood, Puddin' Cat, Punkin. You get the idea. I guess Shimmer is appropriate for my little princess.
She came from a local animal shelter, Lollypop Farm. She's about 2 years old, spayed, had her shots and flea treatment, has eye drops if she ever gets a cold and comes with sixty days free animal health insurance. I have a veterinarian and pet health care center just two blocks away behind Spin Caffe if needed. I've taken in three cats previously off the street, kept them as strictly indoor pets and have never needed a vet in the past. Shimmer had been abandoned and no one could figure out why she hadn't been adopted in the two months she had been a resident at the shelter. She was the first one to come up to Scott when he was looking. He left for a few minutes and when he returned; she was the first to come up to him again. She was purring loudly and rubbing all against him giving him kitty love. He had wondered why most of the cats were in individual cages, while there were about a dozen roaming around in a small room call 'The Cattery'. Come to find out, Shimmer's time was up. The strays in the little room were scheduled to be euthanized the next day! That's why they were on sale...a 'kitty clearance' was going on. Better to let them go for a little and find them a home so they wouldn't have to be put down. I was lucky I didn't go to pick my present out. Once I found out they were going to be killed, I would have taken them all. At least I saved this one little girl.
At the end of the evening, we packed all my loot (the blanket and candle stayed, as they were Scott's used as part of the ruse to fool me) and got my 'child' ready to go introduce her to her new home. That's when Scott spilled his guts. Tom really wasn't going to visit his family on Christmas day. He'll be home and the plans are still on for the celebration we had planned. They just came up with the idea to get me over there so I could get my gift. If she had stayed another night, they would have wanted to keep her and would have go to get me another...at full price. The shelter has some kind of superstition that they only euthanize animals on the 13th of the month; an unlucky day, so they allow them all the other days to get lucky and be adopted. I was a big boy, too. I didn't cry once, though I did a couple times prior thinking about having a cat...and again after I got home with Shimmer thinking about her coming that close to death, like I had...and we both were saved from the throes of the Grim Reaper.
I'm not even concerned about my building's policy of no pets. Management is just lucky I'm still living here being on the third floor and all the stairs I have to navigate to get up and down. You already know I wasn't going to let a little obstacle like that stop me and I just looked at them as a challenge I could overcome. Others do what they want around here in disregard to the lease...and they all get away with it. The gal in the apartment behind me had a yappy, little, dust mop dog for the year she lived there. She had even been reported several times because of him barking for hours when she's gone. The excuse that kept her out of trouble was she was 'babysitting' her boyfriend's dog. Funny how it was there permanently while her boyfriend brought over his German Shepard when he visited. That little hair weave hound wasn't the type he would own. That will be my excuse if anything is ever said, though neither management nor maintenance have been to my apartment in over a year...and I'm still waiting for my carpet to be replaced since it was torn up from the building's radiator blowing a hole in the bottom of it and flooding half of my apartment. Complain about the kitty...and I'm going to raise hell about where my rug is. Sounds fair to me.
I let Shimmer out of her carrying case, she took a look around...and headed straight to the bathroom, where she hid under the claw foot tub...for about five minutes. I kept assuring her everything was okay and the next thing I knew; she was rubbing up against my leg...the fake one...so I had to look since I didn't feel it. She likes that shock absorber I have instead of an ankle. I placed her litter box in the bathroom; the only proper place for a little lady to go potty. She likes a little privacy when she sprinkles and makes little litter covered kitty candy bars. I placed her food and water in the kitchen, where I eat. She can have treats in the living room at the coffee table like I do, too. When bed time came, she got up on the bed and laid next to my pillows, so she wasn't crowding me in the least bit and in a spot she was safe from me rolling over on top of her in the middle of the night. She was skittery about my walker, but I assured her it wasn't going to hurt her and she got past that midway through her first day here. She's also claimed the futon right by me as her 'day bed'. My bed is her's at night. She's already established that by spending her first couple laying right by my head.
I can say it was worth the wait and I don't mind that I had to 'open' my gift a few days early. Though we came up with some pretty nice presents, I do know a cat was mentioned as a possibility...and it was my favorite choice out of them all...even better than a puppy. All the other selections were incapable of giving what this gift will...unconditional love. What better present to help celebrate the spirit of Christmas and observe the birth of the man who would ultimately come to represent unconditional love? It also gives me purpose in being wanted and having something depend on me so I can do for it and feel a sense of value. It gives me an outlet to be able to vocalize and be able to talk. Sitting her alone, there are times days go by I don't even hear my own voice...because there's no one to listen. Shimmer understands what is being said and she has a tiny voice she replies with. It's a partnership arranged by the Christmas angels, who led Scott to the shelter and made him select Shimmer as a gift and companion to me. This just might turn out to be a very Merry Christmas after all. Now I have the best present of all...and all the little presents she'll be giving me...like litter treats, the occasional hair ball hacked up, scratches which have already started, but at least no dead wildlife. My kitty's life has been spared so she can celebrate this Christmas and the others during the rest of her life...and I get to share them all with her. Shimmer...like the brilliant star in the east that led the three wise men to the babe in swaddling cloth. It was a little miracle that brought us together for Christmas and gave the true meaning back to the holiday. Enjoy your Christmas like we all will. Just remember to take the time to recall the message of my tale told here...the real reason for the season. Peace, joy and love...to all of God's creations.