In 2004 I was in Berlin for Christmas.
I called my father in Maryland on Christmas day.
For some reason, his number was blocked from receiving international calls.
So I tried the number for upstairs, where my aunt lives with her two children.
It just rang and rang and rang.
Finally my Dad answered the phone.
“Why is your line blocked from receiving international calls?” I asked my Dad when he finally picked the receiver, “Who’s calling you internationally?”
“It’s all those mail-order Russian brides,” he answered.
“Why didn’t anyone answer upstairs, isn’t anyone home?” I asked.
“Oh they’re probably all in their rooms. We went shopping for Christmas presents and everyone ended up getting into a fight and they decided to cancel Christmas. When are you coming home?” he asked in the same breath.
“NEVER! I can’t believe you just asked me that after telling me that Christmas is canceled.”
My Dad just laughs.
After I got off the phone with my Dad I wrote him a postcard.
I told him to apply for his passport and that next year we’d spend Christmas together in another country.
In 2005, when my father turned 50 and I was 30, we spent Christmas in Paris.
It was the first time my father traveled outside the United States.