Sunday, December 21, 2008

76 percent fun!

I just need to tell you this one story. I mean, there is a lot to tell, honestly. There have been a lot of fun experiences had lately. On Friday night I stayed out until 2 a.m.! I am a PARTY ANIMAL. That SAME NIGHT I experienced for the first time in my entire life the wonder that is Baked Brie (also known as the greatest food man has yet invented). There were other triumphs of that night, involving lighting little plastic army men on fire and also involving Brazil, but that's not the story I want to tell you.

The story I want to tell you is ALSO not how I spent eight hours yesterday in Hannah's kitchen making and canning amazing, authentic lemon curd (from local Meyer lemons!). Lemon curd and butter cookies and mushroom tomato sauce and cauliflower curry and New Wave Dance Mix and "Harold and Maude." I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, "ALL IN ONE DAY!?" And I am here swearing on the legacy of Bud Cort that I am telling the truth. This may sound like the perfect day to you. That is because it was. But again, that's not the story I want to tell you.

I want to tell you a story (surprise!) about Avery.

Maybe I haven't told given you very much background on Avery. Here are some things about him: 1. He has fetal alcohol syndrome. In Sped Speak, this translates to being one of those uncategorizable "OHI"s (other health impairments), because he is moderately retarded and severely physically impaired. Avery lives Uptown. Last summer, his mother died in front of him. He doesn't have a father, and he lives with his 8osomething grandmother, who broke her hip last month. Avery doesn't really have a lot, and he doesn't ask for a lot. And despite all of that, he is SUCH a good person. He loves people, he makes people laugh, he enjoys being alive. And all he wanted in the whole universe for Christmas was a cell phone.

So you know the punchline here: We got him a cell phone. We got him one of those WalMart ones with 500 minutes to put on it. All in all, it cost the three of us (me, Kristen, and Jayda) like $60. And SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS: No kid has EVER been happier in his LIFE, EVER, to receive ANYTHING. Avery started freaking out and spazzing around the room and shouting, and he peed all over himself because he was so happy. I can't put this into words. I should have committed it to film but I didn't have the foresight. Imagine the absolute best Christmas movie you've ever seen ever about a kid finally getting the present he has always dreamed of, and then magnify that climactic scene by a googleplex.

I kept thinking about how when I was a kid I never really cared all that much about my Christmas presents. I remember one year I got this really expensive keyboard (which I still have), but all I wanted was a Polaroid camera, so I just kind of sulked for most of the holiday. I don't think I even said thank you. I mean, that's typical of a kid like me, really. I don't feel all that bad about it. But you know, Avery has called me twelve times in the last two days. Just to say, "Hey Ms. Johnson, how you doin'?" "Hey Ms. Johnson, I'm just chillin' right now!" "Hey Ms. Johnson I'm watching Court TV are you watching Court TV?" Next year I'm gonna get that kid an iPhone.

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