On Scene: Away from Indiana
December 28, 2007
Steamboat SpringsSteamboat Springs — God bless friends and family. — God bless friends and family.
Steamboat Springs — God bless friends and family.
As I write this column the day after Christmas, I have just returned from seven hours on the road, after delivering my cousin Joris to Denver International Airport to catch a flight back home to Indiana.
He just sent a picture to my phone of a road sign pointing the way to the town where I went to college. What a difference a few hours makes. Home is so close, yet so far away. A fact accentuated by the holidays.
Earlier this year, Joris said he would come visit me for whichever holiday I didn’t come home for: Thanksgiving or Christmas. I chose to go home for Thanksgiving, figuring the snowboarding would be better at Christmas. (Is that wrong?) My prediction proved more correct than I could have imagined, considering skiing in Steamboat Springs was nonexistent at Thanksgiving.
I’ve been away from home more often than not since I graduated from high school in 2003. But no matter how far I traveled for a summer internship or a semester abroad, Christmas – at home – was one thing I never missed. The thought, however, had not troubled me much until recently, when my friend Dustin called me to ask when I would be coming home for Christmas.
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“I’m not,” I answered.
Saying it out loud to my friend somehow made it more real than it had been before. But his reaction when I told him that Joris would be here, along with my college friends Toby and Alia, really got me thinking.
“Wow, Gee, that sounds like a real wholesome Christmas,” Dustin quipped.
I was somewhat offended by the insinuation. Sure, Joris and I are only a year apart in age and our closeness through the years is more typical of brothers than cousins. Like our twin-brother fathers, this generation of “Gee Boys” has been known to raise a bit of hell. For example, as young as 12, we covertly smoked some cigarettes we found in our grandparents’ house and tried to mask the smell with a bottle of spray underarm deodorant. That was a huge, embarrassing failure.
Throughout college, Alia, Toby and I were involved in a more mature collection of hijinks as well. Nonetheless, I had every confidence in our ability to hold a decent Christmas. Still, Dustin’s sarcastic comment brought home something I couldn’t deny: Things would be a lot different.
And they were. But it was still a great holiday.
Alia made a dynamite breakfast. There were phone calls from home and shipped presents. The majority of the day was spent watching the top 100 songs of the 80s on VH1. Nothing to write a poem about, but it wasn’t about how the time was spent as much as whom it was spent with.
On a Christmas ripe for depression, the companionship of friends and family softened the blow of 1,200 miles of separation. I am grateful for their presence, and the ‘Boat’s ability to draw them here.