CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's hard to describe the thrill when my 13-year-old daughter discovered one of my favorites and made it her own. Such was the case when Celeste started reading David Sedaris, whose writing I've adored ever since my husband gave me a copy of "The Santaland Diaries" back when we were first dating.
The same book won over Celeste.
It was as though Hallmark crafted the scene: mother and daughter bent over an open book, smiling while sharing that holiday classic about Dinah, the Christmas Whore. The one who gave a whole different meaning to "Ho, ho, ho."
When we learned Sedaris would be performing in Charleston, we quickly ordered our tickets. And when a friend who ushers for the Clay Center told us Sedaris would be signing books before and after the show, we began weeding through our collection to decide which titles to take.
I assumed Celeste would take "Santaland," but she had a different idea.
An idea so different it's become part of his act.
Instead of taking a book for Sedaris to sign, Celeste decided to take a T-shirt she got on vacation, a souvenir from when the two of us did the Trainer for a Day program at Gulf World in Panama City, Fla.
As part of the package, we got to be in the pool with some dolphins while the trainers taught them new tricks. The dolphin we were matched with, Astro, turned out to not only be deaf, but was also afflicted with a bad case of scoliosis.
In spite of Astro's issues, he was being taught how to paint. The trainer would put the brush in Astro's mouth, then give a hand signal that meant he should dip his brush in the paint and then swipe it across the shirt.
Astro was good at loading paint on the brush, but as soon as he did, he'd playfully dive to the bottom. It took a number of failed attempts before he found his artistic muse and began slapping the shirt with a few different colors.