Yesterday, on the way to yet another family Christmas, six of us were jambed into a van for two hours each way. To be honest, my parents' van is quite roomy, and my family members are decent people individually, but six of them packed together in a van for any length of time would require of even the most saintly person whatever inobtrusive techniques are available to battle claustrophobia and misanthropy: visualization of a "happy place", deep breathing, astral travel, and catatonia, name a few.

About half-way through the first two-hour leg of our trip, the Palinode grabbed my hand. I thought he wanted to hold it and smiled at him in appreciation of his sweet gesture. He shook his head to indicate NO, and turned my hand over, palm down. With his other hand, he drew some sharp lines on the back of my hand.

That's a K! I said.

He nodded in the affirmative and put his fingers to his lips to shush me.

He continued to add letters, pausing after every few characters to indicate the beginning of a new word. I hadn't played this game in many years, so I nearly mistook two capital Ls for a W and an O for a U, but in the end, his message came through loud and clear.

K - I - L - L   M - E   N - O - W

I laughed out loud until he crushed my fingers to make me stop.

It's true, what they say. When you find the right partner, you can fall in love with them over and over again.