Saturday, December 15, 2007

Stomping the Blues

(I earlier posted this, with some small revisions, over at Clusterflock)

A Christmas story:

This past Wednesday, I received a call from the current occupant of my former apartment about a mysterious package addressed to that apartment delivered via UPS . . .

As many of you know, I'm enrolled in the Witness Protection Program under false pretenses--I'm in hiding from my creditors and I just made up my Mob connections to facilitate said hiding; so far, the Feds are none the wiser, so don't rat me out to them--and feared that I'd been found out, that contained in said package would be something like a horse's head (apparently, some of that made-up stuff has been pretty accurate; the Feds haven't yet told me to fend for myself, after all), or yet more overdue bills, or some other form of bigger-than-a-mail-box bad news requiring a large brown truck to deliver it.

Anyway, the current occupant said he sent the package over to the complex's office, so the next morning I went over to pick it up. It contained a book: Albert Murray's classic work Stomping the Blues, a work that literally less than a week ago I had added to my Amazon Wish List (hint, hint, Flockers (and visitors to this blog) with disposable income). From my brother.

I'll let you write your own narratives, but the blurb for that narrative is that my brother and I have never been especially close, though that state of affairs has improved some of late. You also need to know that he is in the Army Reserve and is presently serving in what is euphemistically called Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq: "Kurdistan"--The Other Iraq--is an official no-no, you know. But you get the idea: he is safe(r) there but still has Things To Do. He's been there since February and has been told (we'll see) that he'll be coming back this coming February.

And yet, he somehow has the time (and inclination) not only to learn that I have an Amazon Wish List but order me something from it. Embarrassing (because I'm nowhere near financially able to reciprocate) and humbling (see above), let me tell you.

And the kicker: the packing slip enclosed says this was a partial order. More is on the way.

"Stomping the Blues," indeed: what a wonderful surprise. Those blues weren't stomped, though, without my feeling a pretty strong twinge of guilt over years of less-than-brotherly behavior.

Christmas is not traditionally figured as a season of atonement, but Advent is a time of preparation--in its own way, a time to get right with God. So: I have some Things to Do, too.


R. Sherman said...

I'm glad your brother is well. I hope the two of you can spend some time together, when he returns.

Our best to him and his comrades.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure he got great pleasure in finding and sending something you'll love. What a wonderful gift for him as well!

And if I had to guess, I would say that "financial reciprocation" probably isn't what he's looking for...

Ariel said...

All my best to you, your brother, and the Things To Do you both have on your hands, respectively.