I celebrated the holiday on 12/21 in a bar in my old hometown. My niece and her fiance drove down from their home in Michigan, They dumped their bags at my sister's, grabbed my nephew and got us a table.
It was more harried than we would have liked. For my niece had hoped to leave early Saturday morning and enjoy a leisurely drive and some time with her parents before meeting me at the bar that evening. But, as the saying goes, we plan and God laughs.
For Friday evening, her fiance's brother was admitted to the hospital. His condition wasn't serious but it was upsetting and embarrassing: an abscess on his boy parts* had to be drained. The hospital kept him overnight for observation and to help prevent infection. My niece and her fiance didn't want to leave until he had been released from the hospital. I get that. My niece is part of that family now, too.
So now it's Saturday afternoon. My niece and her fella get into the car with their luggage and the gifts and they're ready to go. Yea! She puts her hands on the wheel at 10 and 2 and discovers the stone from her beautiful engagement ring is missing.
She freaked out. They searched the car. They retraced their steps, checking the grass and the driveway. She unfolded/refolded the laundry in the basket and then checked the washer and dryer. And the floor around/between the washer and dryer.
They have lost another hour, and my niece has lost a great deal of her Christmas spirit. Fortunately, her fiance had the ring insured. As she drove, he contacted the jeweler and the insurance company. They stopped at the jewelry store before getting on the expressway. She got a replacement band and a promise that her original ring would be good as new with a replacement stone by February 3. She was happy and her fiance was feeling very proud of the way he'd taken care of the situation.
They didn't hit town until Saturday evening. Still, it was a nice visit. I got my niece and her intended a cordless wine bottle opener and a bottle of red, a bottle of white. (Being millennials, they don't get the Billy Joel reference.) They got me fancy Christmas socks and a pedicure set. Oh, and Christmas cookies! My niece bakes very well.
• A DVD of the first season of The West Wing. He wants to go into politics, and I thought this view of a functioning/fictional White House would appeal to him.
• A t-shirt from The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, because, well, Rizz.
• A little felt stocking filled with quarters. He has to do laundry in the dorm, you know.
He gave me a Cubs blanket and a bottle of catnip bubbles. My cats are completely uninterested in the bubbles, but it's the thought that counts.
Our visit was merry and fun, but tiring. They'd had a long-ass day, and I had to get up early for my morning flight to Key West.
*I really don't know more than this, as my niece's boyfriend didn't wish to go into more detail about his brother's reproductive organs.