Twinkle, Twinkle, Little... Ahhhhhh

I wish I could update my internal processor as easily as I (meaning someone else who knows what they are doing) can update my computer processor. Because occasionally (meaning practically all the time) my aging processor processes only part of what people (meaning mostly my wife) say to me.

For instance, my wife might say: "Before we sit down to lunch please check the laundry and see if the whites are dry, and if so pull them out and move the darks from the washer to the dryer and toss the towels in the washer and switch it to hot wash warm rinse, willya?"

From this, I would process only "Sit down to lunch, willya?" So I'd grab a few utensils, slip on my Emeril bib and stake out the chair facing the TV. Then I'd have to figure out why she was sighing.

So, that afternoon when she said we were going to some friends' house for the big twinkle-light party and barbecue. I heard: "Barbecue."

"Great," I said. "I'll wash my Emeril bib. Are we doing laundry anytime soon?"

It wasn't until we got there that I saw all the boxes sitting on their picnic table.

"What're those?" I asked.

My wife handed me a margarita. "The twinkle lights," she said.

"Oh," I took a sip. "What're they for?"

"The big party."

"Oh." I took another sip. "Where do they go?"

She pointed at three nearby trees.

I took a seat beside an equally confused looking buddy of mine. "Did you know anything about twinkle lights?" I asked.

"My wife mentioned free tequila," he said. "Then she handed me all these boxes."

We looked at the host. "Don't look at me," he said. "I was all set to come to your house for a barbecue until my wife told me it was here."

I heard a collective sigh from our three wives. "It's the big graduation party, remember?" they said.

Like a random lottery ball falling out of the spinning lottery ball holder, a recollection rolled from my subconscious to my semi-conscience. Their daughter was just about to get her Master's Degree and Teaching Credential from UCSB. She was going to teach high school history to some damned lucky kids. She's really cute, funny and smart. The only high school history teacher I could remember from my days (I think her name was Mrs. Fossil) looked like the subject she taught: Ancient History. I still couldn't figure out what all this had to do with twinkle lights though.

"You guys get to put them up," my wife said.

Up is not a great word when used in conjunction with putting. I looked at the trees. "We'd need a ladder."

My wife handed me a ladder. Wow. I was beginning to think they had this planned all along.

I snapped my fingers as yet another recollection rumbled to the forefront. "Tinsel!" I said. "We (meaning me) used to decorate our Christmas tree by tossing tinsel. We can toss the lights!" I beamed with pride.

"Already tried the tinsel angle," the other two guys said. "Turns out the ladies want the lights wound around the trunks and up into the branches."

Bummer. We looked at the trees, then at the lights, then at the trees again. "Wow. Look at the time," our host buddy said. "I'd probably better start the barbecue."

I was beginning to see where his daughter got her smarts.

I tossed back my margarita and grabbed some twinkle lights.

"Transcontinental railroad?" I suggested..

"Right on," my other buddy without a plausible excuse said.

I headed for the East Coast part of the tree with a couple strands and he headed for the West Coast part. And, believe it or not, we actually wound up over around and through and met in the middle and plugged everything together and they lit up just like they were supposed to. Amazing, really.

The second tree went well too. It wasn't until the third tree that we got cocky.

"Let's see how far out on that little branch we can go," I suggested.

Later, sitting on the pillow, medicating with another margarita, as my wife pulled branch particles from my sweater, I said: "I've been having all of these vivid recollections. What do you think it means?"

"I think you may have rebooted your processor," she said, "when you landed on it."