It was around the holidays. My buddy Duncan who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina came to Philly to see his family for Christmas. I didn’t know this at the time, but normally he would reach out to see if we could hang while he was in town. But he had to spend time with his family, and he was with his girlfriend, so the chance of him getting away were slim.
But out of the blue I get a photo from him of his girlfriend holding a 1.75 bottle of Grey Goose. That’s a sixty-five dollar bottle of vodka! Duncan is pretty well off, and he can afford such luxuries, but he’s not much of a drinker. The text accompanying the photo was: “Giant bottle of vodka for you.”
I love vodka and Duncan knows it. He’s more of a rum guy. I wouldn’t spend that kind of money on booze. I own some expensive bottles, but I usually give them away as gifts, because they have been given to me by liquor reps like my pal Church. (I love my friends) I buy cheap vodka mostly. Not rot gut brands like Crystal Palace or Popov, but I’m a fan of Platinum 7X by Sazerac. It’s only twenty bucks for a 1.75. Big difference.
But if Duncan wants to spend that kind of loot on a giant bottle of good vodka and give it to me, I’ll take it.
But he sprung the picture on me, and I hadn’t planned on getting him anything, and we don’t normally exchange gifts around the holidays. So I assumed I would see him at some point and he would give it to me. But between his family responsibilities, and my dual work schedules, it just didn’t happen.
So I never got the bottle. He ended up putting it in their luggage and flying back home with it. I suppose it’s still sitting in his girlfriend’s house somewhere.
But the story doesn’t end there. I tell my friend Church what happened, and he has sympathy for my tragic loss. Then he suggests we exchange gifts this Christmas. I’m not really into getting presents and I don’t really want to do it. But he seems earnest and I give in. He says he’s going to get me a really good bottle of vodka. Being a liquor rep, he can make that happen, no problem. I tell him that’s not really necessary because I don’t want him spending a lot of money on me. But he insists.
I ask him what he likes, and he says decorative socks. You know these crazy socks that a lot of the guys are wearing now. They have crazy colors and images on them. Apparently, that’s in style now. Me? Just a comfortable pair of black socks with no holes in them and I’m good.
So I go online and find a cool set of six pairs of socks. They all have famous works of art on the sides of them. I’m artsy, so I like them and I figure he will too. I order them and figure I’ll get them in a couple of days because I have Amazon Prime. They deliver stuff like lightning.
I tell Church I ordered him some cool socks. He’s excited. A week goes by and still no socks. So I go online and check my order. You can literally track your package right to your door now. I look it up and it says that it won’t be delivered until January 15th!
Apparently I ordered these socks from a company in China, and that’s how long it takes. I tell Church the bad news and tell him I’m sorry, but that’s when he is getting his gift. We get a laugh out of it and go on with our lives.
Christmas comes and goes, as does New Years, and even Martin Luther King Day. But one day after that the package arrives! I take a picture of the package and send it to Church. I want him to know his Christmas present has finally arrived. (And also that it really did come from China!) He’s happy and makes a joke about how it’s practically just in time for Valentine’s Day. He says he’s coming down into the city, and will visit me at the salon tomorrow.
The next night I’m working my shift at the store, and in comes Church. He goes for his usual ‘Free’ can of diet coke from our fridge. He has a seat on the sofa and we’re chatting. I tell him to look to his left, and there is his gift in a black bag. He grabs it and starts opening it. He sees the socks and they look great. He’s happy, and I tell him although it took a long time I appreciate his patience, and hope he likes them. He says he does, and I’m glad that’s finally settled after waiting for a month.
Later, I close up the salon and we go to one of our favorite watering holes for a couple of drinks. Later he drives me home and off he goes.
We hang out a couple of times after that and he never gives me the bottle of vodka he promised me for Christmas. It just never happens.
I don’t really care. Church has given me countless bottles of great liquor for no reason at all on several occasions. He’s very kind, and one of the most giving and grateful men I know. I just think it’s a crazy irony that Duncan promises me a bottle of vodka out of the blue for Christmas. I tell Church I never got it. Church wants to do presents for Christmas. I agree. Promises a bottle of vodka. Never comes through with said gift.
Weird right? But stay tuned. Both Duncan and Church come through in a big way in the near future. More stories to come!
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