It’s not February yet, but I’m compelled to tell of a love so true it cannot wait any longer. This love spanned many years and hundreds of miles, and its sweet ending seemed most unlikely — until yesterday. That said, waiting even one more day to record it would be wholly unfair to those involved.
It’s hard to say when this love first took root. It most surely initiated at a water well somewhere in South America. But so much of the back story will never be known by me, the storyteller. Those who share this love do so through closed mouths and silent eyes that only reveal bits of the account, which most certainly included the torment of separation and toil coupled with a deep and everlasting love.
For me, the story began sometime in the early 90s, if I recall correctly, when I received this darling gift from my dear college friend following her trip to Mexico:
The water-carrier piece traveled with me through every move I have made since, only after being carefully rolled in newspaper and placed in the appropriate moving box before being transported by U-haul or some other vehicle. I’ve always offered it a spot of top honor in my home. To me, it is a beautiful representation of my friendship and a true treasure. Until yesterday, though, I didn’t know the sad eyes of the jug woman had been trying to speak to me all these years, to tell me of a lonely, sad life that would not improve until a reunion with her soulmate could happen.
January 22, 2009, marks the date when sparks flew once again. It all began to unfold last night at the Ugly Sweater Party. Our host announced that at the end of the event, winners of the “ugliest sweater,” to be determined by secret vote, would be revealed and prizes would be given. As our Bunko games heated up, the host kept mentioning one of the prizes and its names, “Eileen,” or so I thought. As the two top teams squared off at the head table for the final game, someone brought Eileen to us. It was then that I realized the prize’s name was “I Lean,” not “Eileen.” You can draw your own conclusions as to why. Introducing “I Lean”:
Upon meeting the weighted-down gaze of “I Lean,” I knew this night would not be like any other. “I have the match to this!” I said excitedly. “Well then, if you win, it’s yours!” I was told. And at that moment I could hear “I Lean” whispering to me, “You must win. If you win, I will be reunited with my long-lost lover. My very life depends on you winning.” And so I proceeded to roll the dice and help bring my team to a victory, and, thus, claim “I Lean” as my prize. Even though he originally was to be given as second prize to the winner of the ugliest sweater, the gal who won that honor graciously surrendered “I Lean” after hearing this too-good-to-be-true love story. Who would dare mess with fate, after all?
And so, finally, after many miles and much heartache, “I Lean” and his counterpart, “Eileen,” have found one another once again. And while I know “I Lean” looks much shorter than “Eileen,” trust me, it is only because of the weight on his back and the feelings he has for his beloved. He will, forevermore, be leaning toward his dear one in a gesture of lifelong respect and love:
AND NOW to announce the winner of the ugliest sweater (drum roll puh-leasssee!)…AS PREDICTED by the most astute group of readers on Area Voices AND Blogger…NUMBER 10! Yes indeed, this mystery sweater-wearer was overwhelmingly chosen to have the ugliest sweater, which was designed especially by her dear mom-in-law and included the addition of a fake, sewn-on bird. This pink fowl perched on the shoulder of said sweater-wearer the whole night, making certain actions in the Bunko playing particularly difficult, but nevertheless, the two became fast friends by night’s end.
And the grand prize? This lovely…wooden-girl-holding-a-light thingamajig, which the host and her daughter improved even further (if such a thing is possible) by painting on it their version of the perfect ugly sweater — pink with purple stripes and pandas. How delighted her family must have been as she arrived home with the winning piece. And to think the host paid a mere dollar for it at the thrift store. (It really is lovely, though, don’t you think?)
As for this next photo, don’t even ASK how the wearer of the squirrel sweater came to be holding an armadillo while mutlitasking with her cell phone and Bunko dice. That would merit another page at least.
And so comes the conclusion of the Ugly Sweater Party followup. If ever you have an inkling to host your own such party, I hope this post will be an inspiration.
Who was it who said there’s nothing to do in the dead of winter in North Dakota? I think my group of crazy pals just proved them wrong!