Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear, dear people

There are reasons to like Christmas and reasons not to like. One of the unlikables would be the Christmas party. And there isn't just one, but plural parties depending on the number of groups you are associated with. I have the good fortune to work with a group of women who prefer our annual party to occur over a long weekday lunch. Somebody else cooks for us and a gift exchange is not required.
My own family begrudgingly draws together on the appointed day. We are a family of recluses and we don't apologize for this. We are breaking no laws. At Thanksgiving I emailed my youngest brother asking if he would be joining us. Back came the answer: "Dawn, don't you know what great lengths I go to avoid being with people?" Jeesh, why does he have the luxury of being a Giegerich on a holiday and the rest of us cannot? Spoiled baby.
In all sincerity, I like my family get-togethers and sometimes I don't realize this until after they have left.

My husband's family are social animals. They draw energy from human interaction, that which drains me. I reluctantly attend these parties, grumbling and snapping on the ride over. And this is very childish of me for these are good people. They fund Christmas events for childen with disabilities, sew costumes for high school muscials, and make homemade caramels for church fall festivals. Their children are musicians and athletes and students of Catholic schools. We attend numerous communions and baptisms and the little boys wear white suits with white bow ties. I can remember my own father spraying a brown pair of shoes with white paint for my brother's first communion.
Cowboy Dave's sister serves turkey and dressing sandwiches - a speciality of this small city. In fact at the local Walgreen's I could buy - and I have - a t-shirt that says: Welcome to Dubuque, Iowa. Have a turkey and dressing sandwich." There was green puffy stuff in a bowl that was tinted Cool Whip covering up coconut, walnuts, marshmallows, fruit cocktail. There was cranberry jelly from a can and cheesy hash brown casserole, another Iowa delicacy. One sister gives me a candy dish with a cheese knife that looks like a Christmas tree light and whoa, it lights up! It's not important that she gave me this same gift last year. You cannot have too many light bulb cheese knives.
A second family party has me sitting at a long table with drinking, noisy women all around and this can be a good thing. There were three conservations going that I could hear from my seat. I went into a meditation mode moving into my center and drawing on the god within me for strength and perseverance. I smiled and nodded my head a lot and that worked for about an hour and then we got to eat.
There was a wonderful ham and meatballs in a crock pot swimming in ketchup, brown sugar and beer. All the other dishes were concoctions of cream cheese and sour cream or could be categorized under desserts. It was a great buffet and I had no guilt from not eating veggies because, there wasn't any.
My own event is coming up and there will be ham sandwiches. A couple of years ago I was complaining to Jane how I dreaded the holidays. Everyone came to my house because nobody else volunteered and I spent all the time in my tiny kitchen attempting to do the big dinner in my usual unorganized, floundering style. I could hear laughter from my brother's stories coming from the living room but I never got to hear the stories and I was exhausted and disappointed after it was over. Jane allowed me no time on the pity pot and made it quite clear that it was my choice how I spent the holidays. Damn those sensible friends. So last year I did sloppy joes in a crock pot and I sat next to my brother in the living room and laughed until my belly hurt.
Yes, I (slightly) exaggerate on the personalities and events described above. I am honored to have all these people in my life and my days would be lonely if they were not in the background pulling for me. They ask questions because they are truly interested in how I am and where I am going. I lift my glass of holiday drink and toast all you dear, dear people.

1 comment:

MrDaveyGie said...

Is Albert attending?
Birgit and I will attend, and probably the boys will stop in too.
I will be glad when the radio stations go back to good ole rock'n'roll instead of songs about Rudolph. Bahh hummbug. :-)