By Tony Russell

We had dragged in at 9:30, after six hours of last-minute Christmas shopping, leaving the last of the other desperate shoppers still in the littered stores with their long lines at the registers and their exhausted cashiers. Dumping the bags full of packages just inside the door, we simply stood and looked at each other for a minute, almost too tired to think. Finally Patty gave me a peck on the cheek and said, "Just leave those where they fell, Ace. I'm going on up to bed. We'll wrap them in the morning."

"Okay," I said. "I'll be up in a bit. I'm too wound up to go to sleep right now. I think I'll see what's on TV. If I remember right, one of the movie channels is doing a Christmas Eve marathon of the top ten versions of A Christmas Carol. Maybe that will relax me."

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