I look at the Christmas tree and see a pile of presents waiting to be opened. The house is quiet and still. It's a gloomy Christmas Eve day here. After weeks and weeks of snow-covered ground, mother nature has decided to bring rain for Christmas Eve and wash away any chance we had for a white Christmas.
Still, there's a feeling of Christmas in the air. It's a feeling that you can't put your finger on. It's just another of those mysterious things like deja vu, music and trying to fathom the boundaries of the universe. You just can't quite get your mind around it. It doesn't matter. You can feel it but you can't understand it.
I'm looking around The Hill today, and even on Christmas Eve there are several thousand people on The Hill, a couple hundred of them members. What a wonderful accomplishment The Hill has been. I wish I could say I had a hand in making it the success has become. I like to be part of things that others enjoy and I have had my hand in a few success that Eightball and I have had. But, not The Hill.
There is no one I've ever known who works harder, or longer, or with more dedication than she does. She's up and working on The Hill before I even open my eyes, and when I've finished for the day and lying on the couch reading a book getting ready to sleep - she's still here working.
No, it doesn't take her all day to do the things that need to be done here. But, she has other Cloudeight things to do - just like me. We both have our jobs to do. But she's taken The Hill and everyone on it under her wing. You aren't going to believe this, because people just are made like this anymore, but she cares about each and every one of you. She worries if the site's a little slow. She worries if someone quits. She worries if someone is having trouble. And, she really gets upset when people aren't getting along here. You're like family to her. Yes, I know you find that hard to believe, but it's true. I can swear to that.
We both answer email. Many of the emails we receive are people asking for help. It's her way to answer everyone with courtesy and respect - and always in keeping with the Golden Rule. Me? I'm not always the most patient person. I have a bad temper and I know it. It's just me. Sometimes I'm not always so kind when I answer someone writing for help. When that happens I hear it from Eightball. She never fails to remind me that everyone deserves respect and courtesy - even when the person who wrote for help might have been just plain rude.
Why she'd even have me for a friend is beyond me. I'm tempermental, hard to get along with, cynical, sarcastic, and sometimes just plain mean. I'm too old to change. I've always been this way. Oh, I have my good sides too, like everyone, I guess. I have a heart of gold and I cry a lot. I get misty-eyed watching sad movies, remembering family members who have passed on and won't be able to be with me this Christmas. I would give anyone who needed it the shirt off my back. I have a particularly soft spot for children. Their innocence sometimes overwhelms me. But, basically, I probably could exist as a hermit living under a rock somewhere - as long as there's Internet under that rock, of course.
Anyway, in typical fashion, I'm yammering. I don't mean to, but you know how I am.
As I look at the Christmas tree and see all those unopened presents, there is one present that you cannot wrap. There is one present that lasts 365 days a year. It's the present that I have been lucky enough to have had for over twelve years now. And this year everyone of you on The Hill are lucky enough to have a special gift too.
Eightball has been my friend now for over twelve years. Why she chooses to bestow such a beautiful gift on a cad like me is beyond my comprehension. Loyal and dedicated she continues to bless me with her friendship - and that's a gift you cannot buy, wrap, or open on Christmas morning.
And now this year, all of you on The Hill are lucky too. Because whether she's on your friend's list or not, you have a real friend in EB. She'd do anything for you. She worries about you. She cares about you. Trust me when I tell you this - it's true. In this cynical, everyone-out-for-themselves world we all live in, she's the star the shines in the darkest night. The gift of her friendship is the best Christmas gift I'll get this year...and I hope you consider her frienship one of your best gifts this year too.
"In the darkness of the evening,
I watch the winter snowflakes fall.
Time is such a precious gift
But love's the greatest gift of all."
So to Eightball I say: "Thank you so much for the gift of your friendship. It means more to me than you know. I hope you have the best Christmas ever!"
And to all of you here on The Hill, remember at this very special time of year, if it hadn't been for Eightball and her loyalty, dedication and hard work, I'm pretty sure there would not be a NotOverTheHill. She's given all of you more of herself than you'll ever know and more than she'd ever want you to know.
She doesn't like to take credit for anything and she's probably embarrassed and wishing I'd never have written this. But, she knows me well. She knows I pretty much do as I please. And it pleased me very much to write this so all of you would know that you have her friendship - it's very special gift you know. I also wrote this so all of you would know a little bit more about this special lady.
To Eightball and every single one of you I say:
"Merry Christmas and God bless us, every one!"
Tags: Christmas Love Gift Friendship