2014 – December 24 – Noel

Man posing in apron

Nice buns.

On the 24th we’re reading “Noel” by Teresa Burns Gunther.

[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]The Tepper Twist: The sperm that keeps on giving.[/cryout-pullquote]

Susie’s late as usual. I asked her last week if she wanted me to get her a date. She laughed, more like a squeal and said, “You don’t do blind dates on Christmas Eve with family!” It used to bother me the way she thought everything I said was funny, but she says making people laugh is a gift. Who knew? She tells me she’s bringing her co-star.

“The sleazy doctor?” I tsked. She has terrible taste in men, except for Steve, but he was gay and it didn’t last.

Souvenir book cover

People Skills.

I have long admired Rachel, the central character in the People Skills series. She understands that her intellectual capacity will take her only so far in a society populated by idio… er, people with differing priorities, and she’s willing to do something about that. Through a series of monthly resolutions and Post-It notes, she set out to mold herself into a socially acceptable person.

Did she succeed? That depends on how you define success. Last month, we witnessed Rachel navigating the social matrix with aplomb (or was it a plum?) despite her inability to grasp nuance or hold her tongue. Which doesn’t sound all that different from the Rachel with whom we began. The real change has been in her increasing awareness that people like her when she gives them a chance. The carefully designed resolution strategy has resulted not in a new and improved Rachel, but the natural Rachel with eyes wide open. She’s learned to trust.

I finish setting the table while Kevin, in my apron, is making crostini and singing along to his cowboy music that is starting to grow on me. Another surprise, just like him. I’m wearing the red cowboy boots he bought me with my mini -skirt he likes. Kevin sent me a link to an article about men who cook being sexy. Watching him now I have to agree. He looks good in the sweater I bought him, but my ruffled apron…? I pull another present from under my tree and make him open it. Ho ho ho he says , and hugs me. He likes everything I give him, even the gifts Susie says are dumb.

It’s a fabulous character series, and this closing chapter really gives Rachel her moment to shine. Stella, the big, bad doggie even gets a nod, which is a very nice touch. This is a series you’ll recall fondly for a long time.

#pureslush2014

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About Stephen

I live in beautiful New Castle, Pennsylvania with fellow writer, Susan Urbanek Linville, and a herd of reformed feral cats.

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One Response to 2014 – December 24 – Noel

  1. Thank you Steven for all of your work this year to give each story–all 365 in 2014–a nod. A Herculean task, well done! What will you do to celebrate! Happy 2015!

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