Monday, December 27, 2010

Daily Report: Christmas Rundown

I'm really not a big fan of Christmas, because ultimately it seems to be about spending time you don't have by putting up decorations; money you don't have by buying presents; and sanity you don't have by planning and throwing parties... all in an effort to win the official Stamp of Christmas Approval from one's friends and family.

But then, I'm no dummy: I love getting together with family to be merry, watch the kids play with new toys, talk about things, and feel part of the greater whole of my kith and kin... and Christmas is the hub to which the spokes of our individual lives are connected that we all agree to return to. To me, the date is unimportant, the decor matters little, the presents and food graciously accepted and given but unnecessary: the people whom I see matter most.

On Friday, Christmas Eve, Uncle Bob, Cousin Bobby, and I rode to Cousin Jon's (and wife Nicole, daughter Brooke (9), son Jon Jr. (7), and Talia (3)) house, about 20 minutes north of where we live, for dinner. Cookie and Clarkie, Nicole's parents / Jon's in-laws were there too.

Food: Hot apple cider with spiced butter (which I had never had before), linguine with clam sauce, and Manhattan clam chowder. Topic of conversation: sports, especially boxing. (Uncle Bob let me drive his new Volkswagen diesel home... quite a nice car, if I do say so myself.)

On Saturday, Christmas Day, Uncle Bob, Cousin Paul, and I rode to Cookie's and Clarkie's gorgeous house (about 30 minutes north of where we live, and 10 minutes East of Cousin Jon's). I am going to adopt Cookie and Clarkie as my honorary in-laws: Two people straight from central casting. Clarkie is every bit the Brooklyn Irish father, and Cookie is every bit the Long Island Italian mother, and they are loud, funny, witty, crass, loving, high spirited... and holy shit do they love to cook and eat.

Food: A punch bowl of shrimp and crab leg appetizers... then a monstrous blue-cheese/cranberry-raisin salad... then 3 big platters of home-rolled manicotti (or "manny-goat", as Cookie insists it be pronounced)... then a 13-pound rack of braised ribs... then 4 different cakes (all cooked at home). Topic of conversation: Grandparents, getting old, remembering childhood, health.

On Sunday, Boxing Day, it was back to Jonathan's house where Cousin/Doctor Christine (a pediatrician) had come across from the East Coast of Florida with her 2 kids, Susie (10) and Tom (8) for an overnight visit. Cookie and Clarkie were there as well.

Food: A fantastic potato/bacon soup, and leftover manny-goat. Plus, Christine had bought 3 different imported 6-packs of beer for us to enjoy. Topic of conversation: Business, banking, politics... and a rather amusing devolution of subject matter into bad bowels, diarrhea, and dogs anal glands, which we all had to shout at each other to stop talking about, which left us all laughing.

I bought my web-book along on the 24th and 25th and got Epril on Skype, and she got to meet all of the relatives. She had a party back at the house in Jasaan on Christmas Eve, and there were outdoor discos to enjoy on the nights of the 25th and 26th, which she attended with her friends. (No sign of the evil M.I.L. that I was told of.)

So a Merry Get-Together-With-Family Eve, a Joyous Kids-Having-Fun-With-Toys Day, and a Happy Drink-And-Laugh-With-Friends Night when it comes around next week to you all.

No comments: