The best moment of the Parsonspalooza Christmas Extravaganza happened when Becca and Sarah were both given small, identical gifts to open. They were obviously gift cards – nothing else is shaped like that – except credit cards, I guess, and business cards, and the lid of an Altoids tin, and I suppose a thin, thin calculator.
Becca opened hers: a gift card bearing a substantial amount to the Plaza, a shopping area in downtown Kansas City. We knew that Sarah would receive the same type of card.
Only, it’s… what is it?… $5 to Chick-Fil-A!
You should have seen her face. She was trying SO HARD to be excited. But she was so confused. Becca gets the Plaza, and I get $5 to Chick-Fil-A? Don’t get me wrong – Sarah loves Chick-Fil-A, but…?
It turns out that Mom and Dad had wrapped up the wrong card. I’m so glad that it happened. I hadn’t laughed that hard since Michael Scott “declared” bankruptcy.
Speaking of gift cards, I received the all-time greatest gift card for Christmas. $15 to Starbucks.
Starbucks? you ask? Doesn’t Annie loathe Starbucks?
Why, yes, of course I do. But this was no ordinary Starbucks card. Look:
This is my own, personal, customized Starbucks card, designed for me online by my sister-in-law Ashley to commemorate this day. I will never throw this away, not even after I’ve exhausted every penny on my Venti, single-bag, Wild Sweet Orange teas.
Yesterday, a tall, charmingly-scruffy man showed up on my doorstep to take me to lunch. How could I be so lucky? Joel, my friend from my Colorado days, is on furlough from his Peace Core post in Burkina Faso, Africa, and is visiting extended family in the Kansas City area. Our mutual timing in the KC area was serendipitous, and so we took advantage of our one day of overlap to catch up.
Joel has amazing stories about life in a country that many people don’t even know exists. He lives in an honest-to-goodness hut in a real-live village, braves 117 degree weather, takes bucket showers, and bucks the Burkina norm by not using physical abuse as a disciplinary tool in the classroom. His blogs transplant me to a foreign place of which I know nothing, and I highly recommend the reading.
We had a wonderful time catching up, even though we ate at a mediocre soup/salad/sandwich place in Brookside. Out of all of the options for good food in Kansas City, we somehow picked the ultimate loser. But the conversation was nourishing and life-giving and smile-generating, and I am grateful.
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This morning, the Parsons drive to south-central Colorado to stay with our friends the Claders in a cabin in the mountains for the week. I will be removed from society and, most likely, the internet. In the event that I cannot post blogs, never fear: I promise to write a few posts while at the cabin, and post them when I return. I mean, really: 10 people and a bunch of dogs, holed up together in the woods, far from any semblance of civilization, in -12 degree weather, with nothing to do but SURVIVE?
You know I’ll have stories.