posted on Aug, 6 2016 @ 06:28 PM
Christmas…or as we call it in my family: The Holiday Fistival
The day usually begins with my way too Italian grandmother waddling around the house yelling, "Hey! Put on'a your shoes. We gonna go to your aunty
Novahistamines house, we gonna eat'a some lamborghini..." That was always followed by the trial of figuring out where to put the six gigantic pans
of lasagna she cooked in her three ovens (yes, the woman has three ovens in her house) for the ride to the relative’s house. In her opinion the
people are a bonus, the lasagna isn’t an option – it’s a necessity. After thirty minutes of her complaining that if everyone in the family
wasn’t so fat there would be room for all the lasagna (she never made the connection) we finally managed to get underway. Miraculously, we even
managed to get the gifts packed in as well.
Traffic was always worse than some of us thought it would be but not as bad as the rest of us had hoped it would be. We typically arrived at my aunt
and uncles house just minutes before dinner was scheduled to be served. That, along with around a thousand calories worth of lasagna fumes I inhaled,
was usually enough for me but we actually had to go inside, which is really pushing the limits of good taste. Even on a holiday.
On one occasion the garage door droned open as we pulled into the driveway. Uncle Frank insisted that everyone come in through the garage so he can
show off his new snow blower. The driveway was still knee deep with snow because A) he wanted the new snow blower to look good when people saw it for
the first time, and B) he had been drinking since 10 AM...last Tuesday. We trudge though the knee-high drifts carrying our gifts, children too small
to climb the drifts, and nine pans of lasagna. I think they multiplied on the way there.
The house was a bustle of activity. The six-toed cousins from “back yonder” had brought all of their children, most of which had formal names. I
think a few of them shared names, which was only appropriate, since it appeared they also shared a brain. If you called one they all came running
anyway so it really didn’t matter.
Food was served catapult style and all 45 of us scrambled for one of the 29 available chairs. Just as we all settled down to eat, Uncle Frank decided
to skip the blessing and instead told the rudest joke anyone ever heard, then hoiked a leg up in the air and expelled enough hot gas to balloon
himself to Paraguay. The staccato percussion of emissions sounded like someone blowing an air horn between two plastic place mats that were stuck
together and ended with a strangled gurgle that sounded like a stuffy old English gentleman saying, “Hot water bottle.”
The noxious cloud he released seemed to operate under its own will and systematically attacked everyone in the room. Even the dog lost his appetite.
The aunt no one ever really liked jumped up and tried to take control of the situation. This is a woman who has had the same hair style since 1962.
For as long as I can remember it looked like a skunk died on top of her pointed head. She worked part time as a cashier at the Village Water
Department but told people she was “...in local government…”
Having choked down whatever food didn’t absorb the essence of Uncle Frank it was now time to open the presents. This would normally get the
children’s attention but grandmother had been pumping them full of sugar on the sly and the kids are now bouncing off the walls like Gibbons. The
only chance of slowing them down is to tie them all together facing different directions and hope they cancel each other out.
Uncle Frank is now playing bartender and decides to make a pitcher of Bloody Marys. I think he used a bottle of Tabasco, a dash of tomato juice, and a
gallon or two of vodka. He stood there grinning like an idiot saying, “Doesn’t that taste great?” I thought the lights were flickering but it
was my eyelids trying to stop me from finding the rim of the glass again.
The other uncle, the one that is only allowed out on special occasions, finally jumps in to the conversation and lists the three worst Christmas gifts
ever, and in the process describes the exact contents of my ”Secret Santa” bag.