Faith and I went to the Haunted House on Christmas morning after exchanging presents. She bought me a nice pair of hiking boots and some other hiking gear and clothes; I went with an "all living" Christmas theme this year, giving her two potted plants, a cactus, and a hermit crab in a tank. Have you ever tried to wrap a cactus?
Karen and Margi made it over to the HH, but neither Adam or any of our other beating heart friends were able to come, which is too bad because we had a blast. The zombies had decorated a tree outside because they didn't want to cut one down for the inside. There were some decorations inside, and even Popeye got into the spirit by walking around wearing some ornaments. I won't tell you what he did with the hooks, though. Mal played Santa, wearing a hat and beard that Karen had picked up for him. Pretty much everyone from the HH community was there except for Tak.
The kids were pretty enthused about the gifts (no hovercraft as I mentioned, and we decided against the television and video games in the end), especially the art supplies. But you know what ended up being the hit gift of the whole event? Something that Karen (who swears she doesn't have a creative bone in her body) picked up: a spice rack.
Yes, a spice rack. The idea, she said, was that we could all use it to "practice" our sense of smell. How we're supposed to practice a sense I don't quite understand, but it was pretty interesting to everyone to discover that almost everyone could recognize cinnamon. I ended up being able to identify six of the seven spices on the rack, losing only to Karen, who edged me out of first place by correctly identifying turmeric. Turmeric? I don't think I could get that one right if I was alive, even.
"The sense of smell is our sense most connected with memory," Karen told everyone. This led to a number of people sharing cinnamon-infused memories of holiday's past, back when they were with their families, back when they were alive. It was a little nostalgic, a little sad, a little hilarious and mostly happy and heart-warming, the way all the best recollections are.
I thought I saw Tak drifting through the woods like a shadow when Faith and I were headed to the car to leave, but if it was him, he didn't answer when I called.