Thursday, December 25, 2008

Clay Aiken: Merry Christmas, with Love, v. 2008

It's just another Christmas day. Every year, I eat dinner at my brother's house with my nephew, bro's roommates and a few friends, this year is no different except my nephew crashed his car last night and couldn't make it. He's fine but the car is not.

Dinner was wonderful; we had a filet and a spiral ham with baked potatoes and The Salad. Note the capitals for 'The Salad' because it's the best freaking salad in the entire world, bar none. We don't make it too often, it's very expensive to make with about $10.00 worth of pine nuts, but worth every penny.

Every holiday we visit my dad in the nursing home, but he passed away this past September and he's in a better place now.

I don't have a big family. One brother here, one brother in Houston, two cousins close by. The holidays aren't a big deal to me, in fact, I can truthfully say that they really don't mean anything to me, just another day to get by, eat a good dinner, and get together with the few relatives in my life.

I look back at Christmases past and think of the good times we had as children. I remember the year my dad was putting toys together at 3:00 am and didn't have a tool so he threw on an old ratty coat, got in his car and drove to his store to get what he needed. The cops saw him jiggling the lock, trying to get the key in the door and almost arrested him for breaking and entering. And the year the angel hair over the fireplace caught fire. My mom yelled out 'the house is on fire' and ran out, leaving all of us to deal with it. Or the year when she persuaded my father to put up all green and blue lights around the roof of the house and once he had them up, she didn't like them so he took them all down and put up the multicolored ones.

I remember the year I had my tonsils out and the next morning waking up with a nose bleed, a serious nose bleed where the blood was pouring out of my nose. My older brother took me into the bathroom and woke my parents. I ruined the brand new carpet that year and it had to be replaced.

I remember the year I got my piano. I was 9-1/2 and my dad's delivery men brought it over on Christmas Eve in a snow storm. My eyes were bigger than the moon that year. I remember the year that I got my first pair of skis. My first record player, my first TV. Funny, though, I never got that pony that I wanted so badly. I remember that every year we got our dad a pair of munsingwear pajamas and a tie. He had so many freaking ties!

This year, as I have the past five Christmases, I think about how my life has changed because of Clay Aiken. I remember going to my first concert in 20 years to see him, then of, course, I had to go again. And again. And again. 52 appearances later, I'm still planning on going to more. I've made so many friends and acquaintances because of Clay Aiken and this incredible fandom that has sprung up out of nowhere. I've discovered message boards and have met so many wonderful people at the concerts and pre and post-concert parties. I've seen some of my friends go to college, graduate, and get married! Others have passed away in the prime of their lives. Some live charmed lives yet others have problems that have made them stronger.

This year was a special treat for those of us who live close to NYC because Clay is starring on Broadway in 'Monty Python's Spamalot' as Sir Robin. He started on January 18th, took a break over the summer when his baby was born, then resumed the role in September. He'll play Sir Robin through January 4th, 2009. I've seen the show about 10 times. Yes, each show is a bit different because the actors get to do some ad-libbing in spots and I've grown fond of the ensemble. The show is closing for good on January 11th, 2009 and they will be sorely missed.

Oh, yeah, something is a bit different in Clay Nation. In August, Clay had a baby boy named Parker with his 'dear friend', Jaymes Foster, sister of David Foster, and Clay came out of the closet and is living openly as a proud gay man. So while some perspective has shifted, for the most part, nothing has really changed except we have to share Clay with his baby. I, for one, am thrilled that he has the child he's always wanted and I'm very proud of him for coming out so publicly. It's hard enough to tell your religious family, especially the older generations, but to have to worry whether or not he'd still have a career left....well, that's courage.

The cookies have been eaten, the leftovers are in the refrigerator, my dog is asleep at my feet. All I have left to do tonight are some dishes in the sink.

I assume that Clay has spent this Christmas holiday with his family, either blood relatives or his theater family and blogging about the need for education for UNICEF. He's a good man with a good heart.

Clay, I'd offer you one of my chocolate chip, white chocolate chip, raspberry chocolate chip, macadamia nut cookies, but that would kill you, so *smack* hands out of the cookie jar!

Merry Christmas to my fellow Clay fans. I'll leave you with this message from Clay:

She leaned with her head on the window
Watching evergreen bend in the snow
Remembering Christmas the way it had been
So many seasons ago.

When children would reach for their stockings
And open the presents they found
The lights on the tree would shine bright in their eyes
Reflecting the love all around.

This year there's no one to open the gifts
No reason for trimming the tree
And just as a tear made it's way to the floor
She heard voices outside start to sing.

Merry Christmas to all who may dwell here
Merry Christmas if even just one
May the joy of the season surround you
Merry Christmas with love.

Carolers sang as she opened the door
Faces of friends in the crowd
And all of the shadows of lonely reminders
Driven away by the sound.

Now the heart that for years had been silent
Was suddenly filled with a song
As she clung to their hands like a child in the night
She found her self singing along.

Merry Christmas to all who may dwell here
Merry Christmas if even just one
May the joy of the season surround you
Merry Christmas with love