We wake up, drink coffee, and get to work. There is food to prepare, drinks to chill, a buffet table to set, and the newly rehabilitated patio to arrange. This is the Donovan family Christmas Eve Open House, a tradition that is probably at least 25 years old. Friends start flowing into the house at three and there is a warm buzz of conversation frequently punctuated by laughs and hugs. It's one of the best parties you could ever attend. For me it's an annual snapshot of Vista life. The neighbors down the street arrive in a golf cart covered in Christmas lights. A friend of my parents unexpectedly debriefs me in the most thorough way on Burning Man. Folks I barely remember seem to know all about me. Little children from two decades ago are now in college. People I went to school with have babies. My favorite new baby is Dante, newly adopted by my friend David and his husband John. I stopped by David's house earlier in the day to see his mom and dad. We did the math and realized that I've know David for thirty years, which just doesn't seem possible. As Dia falls asleep, my brother and I head out to a local bar to meet up with some other Vista expats, two of whom I haven't seen in at least fifteen years. One is now a lawyer in Paris, the other a longtime AOL staffer living in LA. We don't reminisce so much as marvel at how far from Vista our lives have taken us, happy though to be back in town for just a bit.