Christmas…so while others celebrate with large numbers of folks, that man who lives in my home and I share it with Eddie and only Eddie.  While my sister is three hours away with the grandkids wading through Santa’s plunder I am pushing Ed through ice and snow, cooking him the beef tenderloin he loves and I seldom get right, and watching A Christmas Story while he laughs so hard his appetizer plate spills and spills to the dogs waiting for their Santa plunder.  There are no other bodies to help that saint and I navigate Ed’s large mass into and out of cars and up stairs and onto sturdy couches, dining chairs.

Sometimes I feel a little sorry for myself on Christmas, but even though I don’t believe in a vengeful god that would punish if I failed Ed or reward my diligence, I could never be happy knowing he was not with family on the 25th of December.  So, we have a quiet…ish…Christmas and I fight my desire to pity myself.

As I pulled into the parking lot to pick Ed up I realized I had forgotten my mother’s gift from he and I, a lovely Chenille blanket.  I knew she would not know it was Christmas.  I knew she would probably not really know who Eddie and I were.  I absolutely knew she would not remember who gave her the blanket that would probably disappear into the communal belongings of those others who do not recall gifts or givers.  But I knew Eddie could never arrive empty handed to a visit with our mother on Christmas.


So I get him into the car.  Transfer one down.

I tell him I forgot Mom’s gift.  He panics.  I know there is one grocery store open in our entire town and it happens to be on the way to Mom’s place.  So I leave him in the car with the radio on (but not the heater!) and run into Safeway.  It is packed with folks who seem to be doing their monthly shopping and not just getting the one ingredient they forgot.

I decide to bolster Ed’s gifts and get him some of his staples….Fig Newtons, Cheese-Its, a twenty-pack of Coke.  But Mom…what gift would be good enough for Ed?  There are some small, not good enough, little throw blankets.  I pick one up.  He will not be happy.  He will worry the entire day that we did badly by our mother.  Hmmmmm….keep scanning….oh, yes. There is a bear, a stuffed bear, soft and as big as a toddler.  This will please Ed and my mother who really only loves blankets and stuffed animals these days.

Ed is quite pleased by this huge token of our love.  “It is so funny,” he says, “that we get stuffed animals when we are little kids and when we are very old.”

We ride awhile in silence.  As we drive we both have to squint because the sun is so bright reflecting off the snow.

“Don’t ever drink the night before a snow storm,” he says with the seriousness and wisdom of a sage.  “It is no fun being hung over when you have to deal with the sun on the snow.”

He hasn’t been in snow and hung over since he was twenty-two.

We visit Mom.  (Transfer two.)

She adopts the bear with enthusiasm.

We leave.  (Transfer three.)

We get to my handicapped-barely-accessible home.  (Hard transfer four)

Ed settles into the sturdy lounger. (Transfer five.)  He gets his plate of appetizers.  We watch A Christmas Story.  The dogs are fed by Ed’s generous lack of coordination.  We laugh as Ralphie says the F word.  Dogs profit.  We laugh at the leg lamp.  The dogs are actually sated.

I over-cook the filets.  I burn the hell out of my thumb.

Transfers six and seven occur as Ed gets to the dining table.

We eat the marginal meal.  Ed’s steak is miraculously cooked to perfection.  He tells us of his Christmas miracle while we gnaw our cardboard steaks.    (The miracle was that he has needed suspenders to keep him pants up over his often exposed hiney, and the folks at the jewelry store in the mall gave him a pair.)

We transfer him back to his chair, (number eight) and then navigate him to the door.  As he stands at the threshold of our home he decides he needs to pee.   So standing there for all the neighbors to see he relieves himself into the urinal, his immodest hiney moons a red healer who saunters by unphased.

Back in the car, (transfer nine) he asks what I got for Christmas from he who is now at home exhaling because another Christmas full of transfers and over-cooked meat is complete.  I tell him I got a car, which I did.

“Why didn’t we drive it?” he asks with some hurt in his voice.

“I don’t know if your chair can fit in the trunk.”  I am not lying.  It is a Prius and the trunk is both high and small, but really, it is a car without dings and dents, and my old car is scraped and scratched from lots of things, but many of the dents are from botched lifts of his enormously heavy chair.  I tell him all this.

“I should see if they can get me a lighter chair to travel in,” he says.  I can tell he really wants to be in the new car.

His brain is churning.

“So, you should come by when you have some time and see if my chair will fit.”

As his brain churns I realize I have been timing our trip.  We are at five minutes.

“You know, we don’t live that far from each other,” he says like he just realized this.  He says it right as I realize this because at six minutes we are more than half way to his house.

“You could come and see if the chair fits and take me for a little ride,” he says.

I commit to nothing.  My back and wrist are sore from the many transfers and pushing him around.

When we get to his house he asks how long it took to get there, as if he knew I had been timing.

“Ten minutes,” I say. I am shocked for I would have sworn it took twenty to get from my house to his.

“Ten minutes?” he says.  “That’s a lot longer than I thought.”

Transfer ten.