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Merry Christmas with a great gift, exciting football, rat tales, Jedi and more: The Dec. 25 update

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Carlos Correa #1 after hitting a two-run home run during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game seven of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

So my sister mailed a package to me with my Christmas gift as well as gifts for my kids, which came on Friday.

I open the box, because it is just a plain brown box taped shut like people receive from UPS, or the USPS, with my address on top. Inside are our gifts – unwrapped. Our family tradition is not to open gifts before Christmas. But there they were – the gifts without any wrapping paper, glowing from the bottom of a brown box for everyone to see.

But I am not complaining about the package faux pas. My gift was marvelous – perhaps the best gift in the Farmer household in years.

This was up there with the Lincoln logs when I was five, the spirograph when I was seven, and the BB gun when I was 10 (Daisy, not Red Ryder, and I did not shoot my eye out).

Let’s just say that George Springer is missing one of his jerseys. I received the orange, 2017 World Champion Houston Astros jersey complete with a World Series patch on the sleeve. The real deal.

I remember the time that my sister let it slip in front of a parent that I went out of the house after midnight to meet friends. I remember the time my sister was sick and I had to stay at home and babysit her while my friends had a get-together. I remember the time when we were water skiing and my sister got mad and embarrassed me in front of my peers.

None of those are still forgiven. However, out of the kindness of my heart, I will let her choose one of those incidents for me to forgive her because she got me the orange, World Series, Astros jersey. I will keep the others seared in my memory so I can throw it in her face at the next family get-together. Because that’s what siblings do.

Cy-Fair HSHIGH SCHOOL STATE CHAMP – For those of us who grew up in Texas, we still follow our high school teams – especially when they do well.

Then we will follow the local teams when it is easy to do so, since a lot of us don’t live in the towns we grew up in. I think it has something to do with mums during homecoming activities sending signals to our brains when we are in high school. Think a Star Trek episode, where flowers shoot things that affect the landing party to where those in red shirts die. Except without the death.

Houston got another high school football state championship over the weekend, and lost another. The loss, however, was a game for the ages. Manvel lost to Highland Park 53-49, and if you can see replays of this game I would encourage you to do so.

One of the best games in sports I ever saw was Game 5 of the Astros World Series wins this year over the LA Dodgers. For drama and gut-punches, the Manvel game was it’s equal.

After Highland Park took its first and only lead, 53-49, with 34 seconds remaining, Manvel drove to the Scots 31 with 14 seconds remaining. Manvel thought they had completed a pass in the end zone to re-take the lead, but the pass was – erroneously, some suggest – called out of bounds. There was time for one more play, and the Manvel quarterback, Kason Martin, found the same receiver from the play before, Jalen Preston, at the 2-yard-line. The Highland Park defender held up Preston and stopped him at the one before the cavalry arrived. Manvel did not score and the game was over.

It was exhilarating. Manvel should not remain in the Pit of Misery, but remember what a great contest that was.

The late game was Cypress-Fairbanks High School playing against Waco Midway for the Class 6A, Division II championship, which Cy-Fair won handily, 51-35. The Bobcats led 27-7 at halftime and never were threatened. How well did things go for the Bobcats? A Midway snap in the second quarter went over the head of their quarterback into the end zone, and Cy-Fair’s Kyle Bell recovered the ball for an easy TD. Cy-Fair returned an on-side kick for a TD.

They are the first team in Cy-Fair ISD to win a state football championship.

A fairly local school, College Station High School, won a state championship in its fourth year of having a varsity football team. The Cougars squeaked Aledo 20-19.

On the private school side, Kinkaid won the Southwestern Preparatory Conference state title earlier in December, and Cypress Christian won their division in Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.

Star Wars poster Last JediSTAR WARS – The critics appear to dislike Star Wars, The Last Jedi. So I went into the theater expecting to be disappointed. Other than the constant advertising for the film everywhere outside the theater, I was pleased with what I saw in the theater. There is no spoiler-alert warning here because you should have seen the film by now.

The plot twists were unique and satisfying, especially when Rey joins Kylo Ren to kill Snoke and then she fights against him in the end of the film. The next film is set up for a grand fight between Rey and Kylo Ren.

The best line was when an underling saved one of the main characters by flying her ship into his ship and preventing him from a suicide mission to destroy a First Order cannon. When asked why she did it, she replied, as best I remember it, “You don’t destroy things because you hate them, you save things because you love them.”

The film has done $754 million in sales globally, so sometimes I think the critics get it wrong.

ratsRAT UPDATE – Last week, I wrote about a rat that was swimming up and down in the chock-full, tall kitchen garbage can in my home. It turns out, that almost everyone has a rat story. Who knew?

Dennis, a friend who is even older than me, said this: “Flashback Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1974. It is all quiet in the apartment; then a small scratching. I turned around to try to discover the source of the gentle scratching sound. Behind a small ottoman was a small furry creature. I did not want to move too far or too suddenly, yet I let my eyes scan for anything that I could use to capture or kill the vermin. Within an arm’s reach was my wife’s knitting basket, with a long knitting needle exposed. Pulling one out; I hovered over the furry creature and with a swift plunge skewered the threat. Needless to say, I had to buy new needles for my wife.”

A college friend, Kenny, said: “I was a teenager when my mom woke me up early on a Saturday. Up in the attic was a rat caught by a trap but not dead. I pulled open the attic door and he fell, trap and all, onto the hallway floor. I had four sisters, plus extras behind me. You cannot imagine the screams! So I pick up the trap and squeaky, and grabbed the garbage can from the garage and dumped it out. Mom was all, “So what’s the plan?” I drop the trap and squeaky into the can and said: “I’m drowning the sucker.” But then when I start filling up with the water hose I discovered (here’s the educational part) rats and rat traps FLOAT! The he was squealing away on the rat-trap raft. So I figure I need something to hold down the rat and trap. Found an old jack. And dropped it — squarely on his head. No more squeaks from squeaky. With the drop of a jack I went from Inspector Clouseau to Dirty Harry.”

And my favorite is from another college friend, Gretchen, who said this happened to her when she used a toilet in her home late one night when she was 10: “Let’s just say that the rat got a “shower,” I got cold-nosed, and then there was a lot of screaming!”

CLASSIC NOTES – The Waltz of the Flowers, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite. Perhaps the most famous of the pieces of the most famous Christmas classic collections of songs.

QUOTE OF THE DAY – “If you have baseball in your soul, it doesn’t go away. It’s there forever.” — Late Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Enberg, who died late last week.

HOTTIE OF THE DAY

Christmas hottie

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