Let's start with the easy part. If you haven't discovered The Trad and his magical way with words, the moment has come. You must. You owe it to yourself. He is a gift.
He is always insightful in one way or another and he can be very funny, but as you will see below he can also make us feel. Sometimes it's comfortable -- easy, breezy -- at other times it is not, not at all, but that's what good writing is all about. He writes tight, clean, sharp -- by moments, painfully so -- but if at times a writer is capable of cutting to the heart, it's worth the twinge. There's always joy and hope at his place as well, and, as I said, the humor.
The Trad, in his own words. . .
Folks in retail call it a throw away. A great item buried on a busy page in a catalog. . .or worse.
My fiancee-to-be woke me up from a nap on my sofa. I smiled at her, reached under a pile of dirty clothes and pulled out a jewelry box with her engagement ring and gave it to her with a big smile on my face. I have regrets, and this is just another one in addition to our divorce 14 years later.
Unless you're married or dating a woman who is insisting on a Hermès Kelly bag this year - - I think most women will love whatever you give them as long as it shows thought. And that's a worn cliche. Any man worth the dirty underwear on his floor will ask,"What
thought?" I don't think it's thought about the gift as much as it's about time and place.
Anything you give to the mother of your children while you're in the middle of the explosion that is Christmas morning will lose something. Actually, it's will lose a lot. Same goes for any gathering of people who haven't seen you naked. Uncle Joe, Aunt Bullah, Grandma and Grandpa. There's just too much going on what with people trying to come up with something nice to say, looking surprised and only wanting a cocktail.
I met the Golf Foxtrot at the Algonquin a week before Christmas. We went up to our room and ordered a bottle of champagne and a plate of cheese. Triple cream. A manchego. Some grapes and green apple slices. Simple. The city outside our window couldn't be seen. Our view was a brick wall. And it didn't matter. The cardboard tube I gave was not wrapped. It didn't matter. She opened it and rolled the poster out on the bed. It wasn't expensive and it didn't matter. She looked at me and I couldn't tell what she was thinking. That mattered. She told me it was beautiful and that she saw a part of me in it. And she still does to this day.
I don't think the poster had much to do with her feelings that day. I'm sure the time, the place and the occasion were everything. And it's in that spirit that I've found a poster I hope she'll give me for Christmas.
I guess I just like French things.