I wrote this in an email to my family recently during an email war (not in the bad sense of the word “war,” we just emailed a lot in a short period of time). Thanks goes to my brother Joel for some scribal corrections and editing.
A Christmas Lament of Ben (To be accompanied by a mouth harp)
Oh, where shalt thou lay down thy head,
Will it be in an office or on a couch,
Oh, that thou will have internet access,
No matter where I find thy resting place.
The nephews surround me, Oh Lord,
I hear their footsteps approaching,
When I rise, I hear them,
I listen to them while on my bed,
Hear my cry, Oh Merciful One,
Is there no place where I can’t hear them?
And yet, I am renewed in the morning,
As I smell sweet cinnamon rolls, the nectar of life,
I dine with pleasure, they nourish my bowels,
Thou must eat them with haste before the runners’ return,
For this nourishment for sure, Oh Lord, we shall tempst them not.
I am surrounded by a whole host of kinspeople, My Lord,
But somehow I still find solitaire, or Soduko, or a TV,
This is where I want to be Lord, this is the depth of my heart,
Blessed with the innumerable riches of family, I give You the glory,
You are not far from us, Lord, when we are together.
Three reasons we shouldn't move to Nashville: Maggiano's, Cheesecake Factory, and Panera Bread Company. I think moving to Nashville would get us used to these dining establishments and they would not be as special anymore—they would just get all of our money.
Maggiano's has the best ravioli we have ever had, hands down. We first experienced it in Chicago (Schaumburg actually, but it is all the same to non-locals) as we were looking for a place to eat deep-dish pizza. We assumed a place called Maggiano's in the Chicago area would have pizza, but they didn't, so we settled for the ravioli, which basically rocked our faces off. We then thought if the ravioli was so good, we had to try to the tiramisu, which ended up being the best tiramisu we'd ever experienced.
Cheesecake Factory is amazing and has good food, but the kicker is the cheesecake. Sure, in some grocery stores you can get Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, but it is not even close to the same quality. Nashville has the closest Cheesecake Factory, but we've also been to the one in downtown Chicago for New Year's Eve, and it has a way better atmosphere (you feel like you are in the womb again).
Panera represents the simple things you miss from your homeland. We have the Atlanta Bread Co. here, but it cannot compare to Panera at all. Panera brings back memories of Bailey and Joyce McBride, cinnamon crunch bagels, and broccoli and cheese soup. We got take-out from Panera on the way home from Nashville last weekend.
In the end, food is good and filling, but the people we've shared these meals with are what make them great. Sure, it is nice to reach food nirvana (symptoms include slight dizziness, ecstasy, surreal contentment), but a meal without company is missing something and never as fulfilling.
Tis’ the season for beautiful Christmas sweaters! And what excitement it was when I found the most beautiful Christmas sweater I’d ever seen at our local Park Avenue Thrift Store (sounds expensive). After searching through racks and racks of smelly women's sweaters, I finally stumbled on it, and fell in love right away. It has all the best features of the Christmas sweater—a large poinsettia, a Santa Claus face, a larger than life candy cane, bells, a horn, raised stitching, ornaments, and “NOEL” in big letters, just in case you did not catch on to Christmas theme. The fact that it was a button down and had shoulder pads made me feel extra special as I shelled out my $4 for the huge sweater that could have kept many poor children warm. Yes, for those two hours at the Harding Grad School Christmas party, I was the embodiment of Christmas. Oh, how I love Christmas sweaters! I must admit, the x-mas sweater is one of the best parts about going to church around the holidays, because they’re everywhere, spreading Christmas cheer. Click here to see the famous Christmas sweater. . .
This is how Monica keeps things interesting at our house:
B: What happened?
M: I broke the light cover in the bathroom and then I dropped the light bulb…
B: How did you do that?
M: I set the light cover on the toilet and then it slid off and broke on the floor, and it scared me so I dropped the light bulb and it broke, too.
M: Are you going to ask me if I’m okay?
B: Are you okay?
Thirty minutes later after the incident and after the clean-up by Ben.
M: You need to vacuum out the glass in the sink better.
B: No I don’t, because I didn’t vacuum it in the first place, so I can’t do it better.
M: Do it.
5 minutes later:
M: I had you vacuum out the sink because I broke another light bulb…
B: You broke another one?!? You broke TWO light bulbs…
M: Yes, because I am too short and didn’t want you to do it.
1 hour later in the grocery store parking lot:
M enters the car laughing
B: What’s so funny?
M: I thought you were in the car right next to you, so I opened the other car door, and it was the wrong car.
B: But there were people in the car!
M: I know, I realized that after I pulled the handle up, and then I just waved at them because it was the wrong car.
B: I am putting you in a straitjacket for the rest of the night…
I have to praise the OU Sooners for their outstanding play the other night to win the Big 12 Championship. Being the eternal pessimist, I never thought it would happen—I mean Texas losing to A&M—who would’ve thought. And then winning the game against Nebraska in the air. With a great last name, I should’ve never doubted Thompson.
I called a pretty good play myself on Sunday morning. I knew it was the elder induction Sunday at church, but I did not dare tell Monica beforehand. It was a trick play of sorts with some misdirection, and then when we came out of the huddle, I called the audible at the line, and then she knew (30 minutes before the service started). It was actually a pretty decent elder induction Sunday—it lasted less than two days—and we went on our way to the very important third service we like to call lunch. Hey, where did Curt go?
Ben and Monica are superheroes living in Memphis. They have the most adorable puppy on earth and live in a house with a red door. Together they are unstoppable, and apart they are still pretty awesome.