“Mom got drunk/And Dad got drunk/At our Christmas party…..Carve the turkey/Put the ballgame on/Mix bloody marys/’Cause we all want one….” Seriously, was there a spy at our house? Robert Earl Keen, even though he’s a Texan, sings a dang good new-fangled Christmas carol.
My family doesn’t skip around the shopping mall wearing Santa hats like the blond, slender people in TV commercials. We don’t fly in from far-off locales and spend the weekend in lavishly appointed guest rooms. I have never once heard my older sister say “Gee whiz!”
We don’t draw names out of a hat for a family-wide gift exchange; we are not that organized. We’re the kind of family who has a White Elephant gift exchange party and at least one person brings something borderline obscene. The most popular item is always the bottle of Crown Royal with two commemorative glasses. Okay, it’s actually a bottle of Jack Daniels. I lied to make us sound a little classier. But it really did come with two glasses.
When we visit relatives for the holidays, we sleep on sofas, the floor, or boot the dog off the guest room bed and breathe pet hair all night. Our gatherings usually include an uncle with a beer gut, a dad who arrives two hours late, and at least one person who didn’t make it because they had a near-mental breakdown. A pack of little kids runs around, coloring on a cardboard playhouse with Magic Markers and answering with painful honesty when a great-aunt asks, “Do I look old?”
One of my favorite parts of Christmas is feeding cows at the Fitzgeralds’. I know, I know, I’m probably the only person in the free world who actually enjoys feeding cows in the snow. It takes me back to being five years old and not wanting to go to kindergarten because that meant I couldn’t feed cows with my daddy. I’m oblivious as to how to drive an old feed truck in inclement weather, so it’s nice to take a break from responsibility and just let one of the guys drive while I shove flakes of hay off the bed. It’s just me, a stack of bales, a bunch of bawling mama cows, wet snow falling on my face, and 2,493 pot holes that Coleman could have steered around but didn’t. I crave it.
I hope everyone has safe travels this year – don’t forget chains, a flashlight, a car charger for the ol’ cell phone, and food and water. Unless you’re in Southern California, then don’t forget a paddle and a life jacket. Haha!
But seriously, Feliz Navidad!