My Christmas Carol

Every time my friend Carol comes home for the summer, it feels like Christmas in July.  And Notjust because she brings me some really cool treasures from her life abroad, either. Maybe it’s because she only comes around once a year, kind of like Christmas.  It could be because she’ll undoubtedly sing a solo at church  you should have heard her rendition of God Bless America right before the 4th; it brought me to tears! - Or maybe because her friendship is such a wonderful gift.  Whatever the reason, she somehow manages to bring with her that holiday magic.
   Her visit this year was no exception.  Since she had TONS of stuff scheduled during her four weeks in Texas, we had to pack a lot of outings into a small snapshot of time.  I seized every opportunity I could to spend time with her, laughing about girl stuff, learning about life in a foreign land, living vicariously through the tales of her travels, and loving every minute we spent reconnecting.  Though she’s already left Texas for another year, the one memory that’s indelibly etched into the forever part of my heart is the decadent day we spent at the spa.
   To celebrate my 50th birthday, Carol surprised me with a day of pampering.  Since I’d not done that, like, ever before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, except that I knew it’d be a huge dose of fun with my friend.  She took care of all of the arrangements; all I had to do was be ready at 8:30 when she arrived to pick me up.  Within the hour we were seated at the spa on the Seawall.  After we signed the waivers and ordered our lunch salads, We were issued lockers and a robe, then escorted to a chaise lounge in a darkly lit room with a permeating lavender scent and soft, soothing background music that had relaxation written all over it.  As we passed by the plate with cucumber slices and Carol whispered a word of caution:  Those are meant for your eyes, not as a snack! Was it that obvious that I was a newcomer to the spa scene?  
   For the next five hours between our treatments, we returned to that luxurious relaxation room four times, each time to enjoy a glass of chilled citrus water, a heated neck brace thingy, and some peace and quietude.  I secretly wished we wouldn't have to leave!  But alas, even Christmas eventually comes to an end for another year.  Our time there was up, and We laughed all the way back to Friendswood, reliving the wonder AND to keep from falling asleep!   
   Words cannot adequately describe what an incredible time I spent with Carol that day, and every other moment that we hung out together, before she left again for one more year away. This time next year, it’ll be Christmas in July all over again, but the best gift ever will be that she’ll be back home  for good!  Until then, I’ll cherish the memories as I count.  365. 364. 363. 362. 361.

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