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“We better be getting back as well,” Tammy said. “Thank you so much for a lovely evening… despite the boxing lessons.”

Tammy and Donna were all decked out in Christmas sparkle, wearing shiny outfits, long dangling earrings, and red heels, as if they’d planned it.

“As long as there’s no more fist fights going on inside Dirty Coyote you guys can do anything you want,” Jimmy said. “Oh, and Daryl, next time you head off for that boxing gym in Cricket, let me know. I used to do a little boxing in college and I’d like to get back into it.”

Then he bent from the waist and punched the air, looking good for a guy who hadn’t boxed in thirty years or more. “Might be fun.”

“You bet,” Daryl told him. “I’ll send you a text the day before with all the information or I can just pick you up and take you on over, at least the first time.”

“I’d like that. Just can’t be on a Friday or Saturday night. Way too busy at the dancehall,” Jimmy told him.

“Never on a Friday or Saturday. Those are my nights to do a little drinkin’ and funnin’.” Daryl told him, as he removed his gloves, then patted Jimmy on the shoulder.

“Never liked the sport,” Tammy said. “Way too much violence for me. But then I’m more into the comfortable things in life. Not the brutal.”

“I like to cook, and cooking’s what I do,” Donna announced. “I’m expecting y’all over at the ranch around ten tomorrow? I’ll be cooking up way too much food, so y’all better come on over and bring a hearty appetite.”

“Wouldn’t miss it, doll,” Tammy said, giving her a hug and a kiss on each cheek. Merry Christmas.”

Everyone trailed back into the house to grab their coats, and head on out. We passed the pile of toys we were still putting together for Darci. Some of them were meant for a kid a bit older, but we figured she’d grow into them. Among other toys, we’d bought a buggy for her dolls, a short wooden slide for her playroom, and a train set that she’d wanted as soon as she heard the engine toot inside the upscale toy store over in Cricket.

Plus, she was smarter than most kids her age. She was already saying two syllable words, so the toys might just be fine for her right now.

CindyLou and Darci met everyone at the door to say goodbye.

“Bye bye,” Darci said, grinning as she opened and closed her little hand to wave goodbye.

Turned out she was a lefty, just like her dad.

Yet, another reason why Mickey could never throw a decent punch.

Once everyone had said their good-byes and Darci had hugged everyone at least two times, it was time for bed for the little munchkin.

Of course, she wanted nothing to do with it.

I went with CindyLou to try and get Darci into her bed, while Scotty and Mickey once again tried to assemble the mountain of toys.

But so far, we weren’t having any luck.

“It’s time to go to sleep, munchkin,” I told her, trying my best to get her to stay down.

An impossible task, to be sure.

“Daddy,” Darci cooed as she once again stood in her crib wearing bright red P.J.’s, her chubby little arms outstretched.

Mickey had just walked into the room to say goodnight, and as soon as he did, Darci stood up like she’d been placed down on a spring.

“Sweetheart, it’s time for bed,” he told her, walking over to give her a hug. Of course, as soon as he held her, she wouldn’t let go, so up she came into his arms.

“So much for getting her to bed so we can finish her toys,” CindyLou told him. “We still have a lot to do before morning, and I wanted everything to be ready for her when she first woke up.”

“Everything is almost put together,” Scotty announced as he walked into the room. “Surprisingly, I was able to get several of the toys together in only a couple minutes each. They just looked hard to do, but they were easy.”

Like music, Scotty had a knack with puzzles and directions. He was just smart like that.

And as soon as Darci saw him, her little arms went out, wanting him to come closer.

When he did, she instantly leaned over to be held and hugged by him.