Many of us will return to our childhood homes to celebrate the holidays or at the least will be surrounded by aunts, uncles, grandparents, and countless cousins — some of whom we haven’t seen since last Christmas, or if we’re lucky, back before the pandemic took hold. I always envision these gatherings as being somewhat reminiscent of the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, a disparate group of individuals thrown together through a random gene pool and forced to celebrate holidays for life.
Of course, if you’re like many families, you always have to keep a sharp eye out for flare-ups throughout the evening due to in-fighting; made worse by close quarters, chit-chat with other family members, and the old reliable: alcohol. Cousin Elle isn’t speaking to Aunt Ida because of something that went down 20 years ago but no-one quite remembers what happened except it had something to do with a silver set or perhaps a dog or maybe it was a chicken.
Uncle Bill, oh good grief, don’t even get him started on the JFK conspiracy (the original conspiracy, that is, not the most recent nonsense) because he’ll never shut up, and he gets quite irate at no one in particular so therefore, everyone. You’d think that something like that just wouldn’t come up in conversation but somehow it always does. It’s uncanny really.
Then of course you have Aunt Joan who lets her children do everything (the word no doesn’t seem to be in her vocabulary) and her polar opposite, Cousin Bette, who doesn’t let her child do anything. Poor Cousin Bette ends up heavy sighing a lot (very dramatically I might add, she should get herself an agent) as Aunt Joan’s children run mad circles around the house in full-on manic mode. I have to give Bette credit though, the “Sweetie, you shouldn’t do that,” she uses to correct Joan’s children as they’re climbing the bookcase with the cat is a lot nicer than the admonishment that would be falling off the tip of my tongue.
Uncle Larry? Well, he knows everything, so if you want to know something, just ask. Or don’t. He’ll probably tell you anyway. Really loudly. More than once. He likes to repeat things. In case you didn’t get it the first time.
Ahhh… family. Just because you’re family doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to get along. I think in some respects family can drive us crazier than anyone else. They’re talented like that. Especially during the holidays.
So. Here’s hoping we all survive our holiday get-togethers with our families…. or at the very least let there be copious amounts of alcohol to help us through with a sense of humor. Or bail money. That’ll work too.
Sounds like, it’s a big, dysfunctional, party, you’re about to, head into…
Then there’s Uncle Billie who will go on for twenty minutes about the fight he got into at the brothel in Saigon back in ’68, leaving out none of the details of his sexual prowess or not-so-casual racism, only to say, “So, long story short…” and then go on for another fifteen minutes only to repeat, “So, long story short…” and I have to get a broken jaw keeping my mouth shut instead of screaming “TOO LATE!” and then remembering that a) at least he’s sober, more or less, and b) he’s our ride to the airport after dinner so we can’t piss him off and the only option is to keep smiling and somehow stay awake listening because this one stoplight backward town on the far side of nowhere doesn’t have an Uber or taxi, “So, long story short…”
happy Christmas to you and yours