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A Love Song for Momma (Christmas on the Mountain)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! What a year 2007 was! 2008 is already shaping up to be a trip. But let's go over the last of 2007. The family decided to all meet up in Clovis, NM for Christmas this year. My cousin has a whopping five kids, and instead of gearing up the whole brood to fly them cross country, he suggested that we all come over there, and we all begrudgingly agreed. I say begrudgingly mainly because Clovis, NM, is in the middle of nowhere. The nearest cosmopolitan area is Lubbock, TX, two hours away. The nearest gay bar is in Albuquerque, NM… which is three hours away. What's in between? Cows. Lots and lots of cows… and horses… and farmland.

I was not looking forward to the trip at all and had planned on doing a ton of reading and writing to make the time pass faster on what I imagined to belong, lazy days in the middle of nowhere. What actually happened, though, was that I fell in love with my cousin's sons, two of the most adorable little boys you have ever seen in your entire life. They're twins, about 7 months old at the time, but one is noticeably larger and has more hair. They are two of the happiest babies I have ever been around. Just thinking about them now makes me want to squeeze them! They were just so cute! Like little dolls! A lot of my time was spent playing "Superbaby" with them, which involved me laying on my back and lifting them in the air with their arms and legs extended and floating them around with them laughing uncontrollably and slobbering on everything… including my forehead… gross yeah… but still… CUTE! Oh my God... those kids! I could only pray to get some happy babies like that one day.

At one point, my cousin and I decided to go out for a drive. When we piled into my rental car, and that's when my cousin discovered that my rear passenger side tire was completely flat. I called the rental agency who sent AAA to come out and put on the spare tire. From there, I drove to the local Hertz rental facility, where they gave me a replacement car… a 2007 Mustang!

So we zoomed around Clovis for a while until we got tired and got some Mexican food.

The next day, momma and I squeezed ourselves into the Mustang to see Alice, one of momma's friends from way back in the day. I wonder if they were even friends before I was born. I have always known her. She is the whitest woman you will ever meet. White as in culture… she's like Sandy Duncan and Florence Brady all in one… but in that same vein, extremely nice and personable.

Alice used to see this dude named Michael, who I vaguely remember. I remember he was white, had a beard like a hippie, and lived on a huge houseboat. He passed from lung cancer. She's now married to Luther, this black dude from Atlanta who believes the draft should be reinstalled and claims to have seen aliens when he was a kid... I guess it takes all kinds.

They bought land on the top of this mountain (literally… a mountain) and built a house up there. After driving around for four hours and actually getting caught in a snowstorm (!), we got lost, and Alice and Luther came out to meet us at the local post office so we could follow them up the mountain. So there we were, me and momma in this blue Mustang going up the side of this mountain. I still have nightmares about us plunging to our untimely deaths.

One freaked out hour later, we arrived at the most idyllic little living space I had ever seen. The house wasn't that large; it was very, very quaint and very, very "country living." They built the house from the ground up, and all of the wood used is beautifully exposed, from the floor to the ceiling plates. It's shaped almost circular, and every room has the most absolutely breathtaking views of the New Mexico skyline with its endless mountains and hills and valleys. And at night, you could almost cry looking up at the sky. Maybe it's because you are so far up, but you can see every single star in the sky, and they are all bigger and closer to you.

When we got there, I was really tired, so Alice offered me a room to sleep in, and I was out like a light in seconds. When I woke up, they cooked us steaks and vegetables, and we drank apple juice and water. Alice suggested to momma that we spend the night, and I would have liked to if it weren't for the fact that my plane was leaving the next morning at 5:00 a.m. So we bid farewell, and I prayed upon high to get us safely back down that mountain in one piece. By the time we left, it was pitch black outside. There were no street lights on the mountain, and oh yeah… did I tell you that the roads are not paved… and we were in a tiny ass Mustang?

But we made it in one piece, and the car was fine. So it was all good.

It was about three hours to get out there, and it was three hours to get back, so it was just momma and me in the car by ourselves all that time. And it was ok. Surprisingly enough, we didn't argue or get on each other's nerves or anything. And our conversations were very easy. Ahhh... I think I love my mom! Don't tell her that, though!

I remember one point when we were about forty-five minutes away from Clovis. It was pitch black, with no street lights, but it was a full moon, and that was the only light outside of my headlights. The road was completely empty for miles and miles ahead of us and behind us. The only thing you could see was this eternity of moon-kissed high grass and the horizon in front of us. The heater was on, and we were warm and toasty in the car, and we were listening to a mix CD I had made prior. "Hey Jude" by the Beatles came one, and we both started singing it together. It was probably one of the most perfect moments I have ever had with my mom.

At one point, she said, "I really like 'Eleanor Rigby.'"

To wit, I replied, "It's the next song!"


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