I hope you were able to enjoy Christmas weekend with your loved ones. I'm so happy I was able to do just that. This Christmas was one that my family and I will definitely never forget. I was able to see some of my best friends for the first time in a couple of years due to the pandemic. As fatigued as all of us are, it was humbling while remembering just over a year ago, the only way I could technically legally go see my family in Mansfield, Massachusetts was to produce a Negative COVID-19 test. Thanksgiving / my Birthday and Christmas a year ago, we still had many travel bans state to state. It was always frustrating to me that if my parents were in the same state as me, there wouldn't have been any issues nor barriers. That being said, I always played by and respected all of the state orders. A year later, I'm fully vaccinated, will soon get a booster, and psyched there was no mandatory testing for me to travel. If I felt sick at all I would have stayed home to protect my loved ones of course.
This Christmas we knew was going to be extra special, and I knew since my 40th birthday on Thanksgiving it would be. Halfway through Thanksgiving dinner, my sister Zannie told me about an amazing surprise.
In Mansfield where I grew up, we have next door neighbor besty friends Jill and Joe. We've been friends with them for over 20 years. They have a son named Luke, who's 17 years old and has autism. The first few years of his life, Luke wasn't able to speak all that much. For the past 8 years, there's nothing better than when I go back home to visit my family, and here Luke yell from his backyard "HI STEVE!" It always warms my heart so much. He's one of the sweetest, happiest persons you will ever meet. He's a rock star, who's always been one of my heroes. Ever since he was 2, Luke's favorite thing in the world are parades and marching bands. Approximately 10 or so years ago, Luke started feeling more comfortable with my family and started leading us on a marching parade down our street around the neighborhood. We all called ourselves The Walnut Street Unicorn Marching Band. We even have a banner. Now for the past many years, the whole neighborhood joins and follows Luke on these parades. He celebrates his mid December birthday every year with a huge parade. He instructs everyone exactly where to line up, and which instrument they're assigned.
Through a friendly connection and small miracle, Jill and Joe were able to get in touch with the folks at DISNEY WORLD. They would be giving Luke the surprise of a LIFETIME. Locally up in Massachusetts ABC affiliate WCVB Channel 5 was able to cover Luke's big surprise. Christmas morning, around 10:45am, there were no dry eyes at The Allan Tavern. Me, Madre, Padre, Zannie, and JDawg all just watched our guy Luke marching in the Disney Christmas Parade on national television Christmas morning. We just watched in total silence crying, so happy seeing our friends Luke, Jill and Joe so happy. You can see one of the most amazing videos of ALL TIME by clicking right here, enjoy watching my friend Luke march in the parade by clicking right here. My family and I have been rewatching the video and crying many, many times. I'm tearing up while this video just popped up again for me again. If that doesn't work, try clicking the video I just embedded below right here.
Oh and when you see the navy blue house in the background? That's my parents house where I grew up, they both joked throughout the weekend "thank goodness we had the house painted this year!" Yeah, our house was on ABC national television Christmas morning.
I definitely can't ever top that Epic start to our Christmas weekend. We celebrated Christmas with all of our family over at my Grammy's house like a normal year, and it felt amazing. We definitely missed that so much last year. It was a wonderful Christmas that wrapped up with us watching NFL games. Nice, relaxing fun way to round out the night. Christmas on a Saturday felt a little odd, but still amazing nevertheless.
Sunday morning seeing Kayla, Chris and their twins was so therapeutic. I'm so happy for them loving life in their beautiful new home, and now I can safely see their twins growing up so fast. They brought some much welcomed cuteness into my Epic Weekend In Pictures.
Sunday we saw more friends we haven't seen in several years. We had a great time seeing friends my parents went to high school with, I can't say the Patriots game was making us happy though. My football weekend was as bad as it could get. My Patriots lost, and BOTH of my Fantasy Football Teams lost their playoff game ending my seasons. I was in 1st place in one league, 3rd place in another, but that doesn't matter at all during the postseason. Ugh. I'm already onto next year! LOL.
Monday morning I had fun going to TJ Maxx returning one shirt and of course buying 3 new ones. The TJ associate asked if I wanted to start a TJ card and I said "as you can see I'm returning 1 shirt while buying 3, I don't think we need to make my problem grow even more!" LOL. She was a good sport and cracked up. I then spent a few minutes at Gillette Stadium like I always try to do, despite how upset my Patriots made me Sunday. Ah well. We still have two games left to try to right the ship. At least they're having a much better season than last year, and it looks like we have our Quarterback of the future in rookie Mac Jones. Success. We always have to remind ourselves of the big picture in life, football and beyond.
Monday: LUNCH BUNCH TIME. I was able to have a great lunch at Jake N Joes in Foxborough, Ma. Benvie and my niece Bella joined us and treated us, totally surprising us. We had a great time. Then my besty Matt came over and we shared many laughs. It was great to see friends I hadn't seen in quite some time.
Benvie also surprised me with a framed WHAM! MAKE IT BIG vinyl officially pressed. I know what you're thinking, how I'm single again is a total mystery to me too. LOL.
Tuesday, it was time to pack up everything and return to New Jersey. I was able to reach out to besties Nate and Lauren ahead of time. We had a great IPA beer together outside (well, Nate and I did, lol) and shared many laughs. All over just one beer. Amazing getting more cuteness in my Weekend In Pictures.
Then back to bed early in Jersey so I can fill in for Steve Andrews Wednesday and thursday this week. I'm counting down to 2022!