Christmas Eve, 2002. The Ash and I were in the cold old city of Boston, Mass, spending our first holiday as a couple alone, far away from the pokings and proddings of our families. The two of us were out on the deserted street in front of our hotel when we spotted you walking, no, stumbling up the block.
"Oh, it's an old lady" said The Ash. "We should help her."
You were moving pretty slow, so we caught up to you easily. Indeed you were a bit elderly, though your hair was bright red and you were clearly dressed for a night out. You seemed to us to be at the end of your evening, so we thought we would help you into a cab and send you on home. Instead, you demanded that we get in the cab with you.
"Know of any pubs around here?" you asked us, your English accent slurred by no telling how many drinks you had already downed that night. Lucky for us out-of-towners, the driver knew where to go.
"Oh, I've never been to this particular pub before" you told us as we helped you inside. The three of us soon found ourselves seated atop barstools, surrounded by a bar full of other holiday revelers who gave not a damn what St. Nick might think of their doings. We tossed back pints while you told us about being James Joyce's granddaughter, a claim which almost certainly was not true. Every few minutes, you would hold up your glass and shout "To Texas!" and take another swig. I doubt that the English have ever paid warmer respects to my home state. It seemed to please you every single time.
Hours later, The Ash and I had had enough, but you were still going strong. On our way out, we asked the bartender if they could be sure you got into a cab okay. "Oh, she's here all the time, she's cool." The Ash and I caught a cab back to our hotel. The cry of "To Texas!" became our default toast after that.