Things I learned in Miss Lamons' first-grade Christmas party at Statham Elementary School on Thursday:
' Waking up at 10 a.m. and being somewhere at 10 a.m. are two very different things. I usually get up about 10 a.m., and when I say 10, I really mean closer to 11. Christmas brunch with the Statham Elementary Wildcats started at 10 a.m.
' Despite that, it is possible for me to be somewhere on time. Being with my wife - who is never late - probably had something to do with that.
' The lines you have to walk on at Statham Elementary are red. At Atherton Elementary, where I went to school, they were silver. No matter the color, you still have to stay on them when walking down the hall. It's good to know some things never change.
' According to one little girl, I am "soooooo taaaalllllll."
' I also look like the bus driver, whose name may or may not be Mac.
' I also look like one girl's dad, but without the beard.
' First-grade desks still look the same, but they're a lot smaller than I remember them being. The same goes for the chairs, although I found them surprisingly comfortable considering they were only 6 inches off the ground. Also, a group of adults, many of whom haven't missed too many meals, sitting on tiny kids' chairs is always funny even if I was only able to laugh on the inside.
' It is possible to cook a sausage ball that tastes good. I got on my soapbox in the newsroom Wednesday night about how much I hate sausage balls. No one knows how to cook them, I said. I think I called them little balls of evil.
At the brunch, I got tired of hearing "You just have to try the sausage balls," so I ate one, knowing it would be overspiced, too hot and the overall same yucky experience I'd had with every other sausage ball I'd ever eaten. Then I ate another one. Then I ate crow.
' Apple juice still tastes good.
' It's possible to paint a picture of a Christmas tree with an artichoke on a stick. When I asked how, I was told, "You have an artichoke, and you put a stick in it, and you dip it in paint."
' The sight of a little girl crying because her parents couldn't come is almost the hardest thing you will ever watch. The hardest is watching two girls crying.
' I couldn't hear all the details because I was trying not to eavesdrop, but the man who thanked the teacher for all her help really meant it.
' To hear everyone else tell it, my stepdaughter, Madyson, is soooo beautiful in her red Christmas dress.
' The rest of her classmates are just as adorable.
' Watching them recite the poem "Christmas from A to Z" was 100 times better than the last thing I watched on TV. (Who needs television writers anyway?)
' Nothing anyone could give me would be a better gift than listening to a couple of dozen first-graders singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and knowing that when the lawyers and the courts get through with the paperwork, one of them won't be my stepdaughter anymore, she'll just be my daughter, with my last name and everything.
' OK, I lied. There is one thing better: Having her run up and jump in my arms after she finished singing and hearing her call me "Daddy."
Merry Christmas to me.
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.