When I chat with an acquaintance and try to be polite and ask him what he’s doing for the holidays, I usually get the pat answer, “Oh, I’m spending it with family and/or friends.” Well, my sister and her hubbie and kids and grandkids are up in Long Island, and while I’m sure I could wiggle an invite to join them if poor, poor me really wanted to, str8 family gatherings are BORING and no way are you dragging my furry butt up to the Northeast in December – no, no, no! Thankfully, instead, I’ve got my partner G, down from our PA home, for the winter, who’s also a good cook, to fatten me up like some sacrificial lamb.
Plus, this time of year, I’ll be honest: I get real depressed with all the warm and fuzzy family propaganda we are besieged with on all sides. You know, the stereotypical family around the table carving the turkey or trimming the tree, all to push that stuffing, HD/3D TV’s, or a luxury car with a bow on it. Why depressed? Because it reminds me of the days when the holidays were exactly that for me. Sort of. When all the aunts and uncles and grandparents were still alive and around the holiday table, getting drunk on scotch or cheap wine or brandy. For many years, my sister and I were the only kids in the family, so we got special treatment, especially around Christmas.
Then, the other, less pleasant memories of those idyllic days rush back into my mind, and suddenly my mythical holidays become just that. First, my sister and I were programmed to act like toy soldiers and never speak unless spoken to. And every time we’d go to visit my grandmother on my mother’s side, Mom’s slightly bent younger sister would jokingly coax grandma’s two boxers to “sic ‘em, sic ‘em!” Meaning us.
Worse, living with my psychiatrically unstable mother, who usually hosted the holiday family shindigs, was like constantly walking on egg shells. We’d all be at the dining room table, my sainted father making nice with everyone, when my crazy aunt, Mom’s slightly screwed up sister, would suddenly throw out a dagger of a remark intentionally to edge Moms on. Bingo! I’m surprised one year the turkey or ham didn’t end up on the carpet.
So, though George doesn’t give a shit, one way or another, I begrudgingly strung up some Christmas lights around the palm trees on my patio and dusted off a small ceramic tree with lights that I placed on my phone table next to the brightly painted parrot statue I bought years ago in Key West.
All that much less to take down when all this shit is over.