Seems like everyone I know is going to some kind of Christmas party. They have them at work, church, the local pub; friends hold them and so do social agencies. Some women I know have parties to make things like cookies and treats, some have them to decorate things, and swap tales.

As a rule guys I know don’t have “official” Christmas parties but this year a few friends of mine decided we’d dedicate one night to a party to plan on the gifts we’d be giving our wives, girlfriends and potential girlfriends.

It had to be early in December so if we didn’t find the “right thing” we’d have time to scramble to get something apropos. Plus, to save embarrassment and scrutiny we needed a reason to be hanging out together so we’d say were going to watch a Monday Night Football game. No one would be the wiser, after all, “Monday Night Football” is a universal free night out for a lot of guys. A bit of research showed that with a little work we could accomplish our goal. It would be a party with the guys, not an “official” Christmas party to plan gift giving; nope that wasn’t us, we are just football fans.

Getting all the guys together wasn’t hard. Two are married, two live with their girlfriends and two are single. One of the single guys JR, is moving to Nashville so this could double as a going away party as well and we could meet at his apartment. This is the group of guys I’ve written about before who get together during the day every other week or so for a few beverages and talk about whatever is a hot topic. Most of the time its sport talk and this year there has been plenty, but this get together was different.

We were looking for gifts for women, not talking about games. Now Jungle and Jersey are two seasoned veterans who know how to give the right present; Spilly and I live with our girlfriends and are marginally good at gift giving while JR and Horse are single and depending on the circumstances, know about gift giving so for all of us to be together checking things out would be good. JR is a video technician and works for a film company in Nashville so we used his expertise to record the CBS special we’d watch at the party.

The special ran on December 4th so we scheduled the viewing party for the next Monday December 10th during the Monday Night game between the New Orleans Saints and the hapless Atlanta Falcons. We all told our significant others of our Monday Night get together and when the 10th rolled around we gathered around the big screen HD Television JR had and fired up the gift giving video: the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

There were mixed emotions at the beginning. I could feel it. Everyone was ready to see the show, it promised to be flashy, colorful, entertaining and titillating, all good components of a good gift choosing show, but since we were kind of doing it like teenagers looking at a magazine in secret it was a bit odd. We had fun, everyone had plenty of remarks and comments about the talent and did find items that would fit our situations but about halfway through the show we decided to pack it up and head down to the sports bar and watch the finish of the game. The overall feeling was that it was a well produced and professionally presented show but the women we were getting the gifts for were much more interesting and entertaining!

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Rick Schultze

A few years ago at a writers conference held in the central Oregon coast town of Yachats, where I live, I listened to the late Ken Kesey, a frequent visitor to the area, tell a writer that this could be a hard place to write. “If you think you can sit there staring at the ocean for inspiration you’re wrong, it’s not out there, it’s in your head!” He was right; it is beautiful here in Lincoln County, the kind of beauty that makes concentrating on anything else tough and since hearing that insight, I’ve written at a desk facing a wall, no windows opening onto a ocean view, although I have one, but it’s worked. I’ve done, and do, different kinds of writing. As a freelance writer I’ve been a observational columnist, a humor columnist, a book and music reviewer for newspapers, magazines, and online. However, as a creative writer, my heart belongs to fiction. In that genre I do short stories, road adventure stories, musical adventure tales, and in current production, are three small novels. So really the purpose of this web site is to give you a glance of some of the things I’ve done, a preview of what’s coming, and hopefully, a view of what it’s like to be a writer living in a small town on the Oregon coast!