Dreaming of a White Trash Christmas

I was pondering making this christmas the last christmas for a bit that I go visit the fam up in PA. My trip there reinforced that as a good idea.

A Life Less Lived:

Those familiar with the story "Repeat After Me" by David Sedaris know that his sister is one of those hysterical women who is convinced that absolutely anything, including applesauce, can kill you. Well David's sister should meet my grandmother. I lie on the living room floor with a glass of water two feet from me "Watch that glass of water Bunni that you don't roll and tip it over" ( what? and get my precious ass wet? I think not) "Oh becareful opening that box bunni that you don't hurt your fingers." I am unwrapping a present, I think I can handle it. "Oh becareful with that knife that you don't slip and cut off a finger." It's a butter knife, I am trying to have some toast. To my grandmother those of us who just go about our business, crossing streets and buttering our toast, are basically giving death the finger-begging some disfiguring ailment or crippling accident to befall us so that we will, finally, see her wisdom.

Kissin' Cousin:

Every year my distant family ( they are related to me by marriage-to my grandmother's sister) has a party on christmas eve, every year I go. Every year some 16 year old gets engaged. Every year there are more babies. Every year the genders seperate like oil and vinegar-women, children, and pets on the first floor, men in the basement with the bar and the pool table. Eventually almost everyone comes into the garage, the smokers lounge. Husbands sneak in looking over shoulders for wives. After slipping back in, the wives tiptoe out in groups sharing one cigarette or waving their hands in front of their faces. Every year the food becomes less homemade and more reheated prepackaged. Every year I spend more time down stairs drinking with the men.

This year was no exception.

When I came in I milled around a bit, and then settled into the bar downstairs to have some wine. Of course, "C" got engaged. Her sister had just been married. There was another little boy. Wives showed up looking heavier and more aged. Husbands showed up looking still relatively young, ready to share complaints of nagging and lack of sex with other husbands by the picture of dogs playing poker hanging up by the bar.

That some of my "relatives" ( remember they aren't blood relations bur rather related by marriage) find me attractive hasn't been a big secret. My cousin "D", who has a lovely wife and three kids, often tells me that is I wasn't his cousin I would "be in trouble." He's also found of looking me up and down...a lot. "B" has also regarded me as quite attractive, but none of my non cousin cousins have ever DONE anything about it until now.

To tell you a little a bit about B-When I was eight years old, my grandmother asked me who my favorite relative was. My response was "B." My grandmother started laughing because, as it turned out, "B" isn't related to me at all-in fact he was just "adopted" into the family so although invited to all family events and treated like a family member, he isn't one.

Generally, I spend my time at these parties talking to B because he is the most intelligent of the group. Before you get excited, you have to realize this is like me picking out a piece of fruit in the produce section and saying it's the best conversationalist. I should also tell you B is 45 years old, married with a nine year old son, and has a few missing teeth. Hardly the cover of GQ. So B asks me how things are going and we chat and then he launches into this diatribe about how it's so wrong that I'm not married, "What the hell is wrong with men in NYC-if I was ten years younger and not married you'd be in trouble-I mean it, a body like yours-you're so beautiful and so smart I don't see how the men in NYC let you just walk around-if you were up here I would have you dates with men every night of the week-and not just loser-doctors, lawayers-men who make 100,000 dollars a year-no kidding-I'd have you married by february-really-I'll bet you on it"

Well I had no desire to bet B on his ability to marry me to a PA doctor. I tried to change the subject, but he was intractable.

"Every year you come up here I think this is going to be the year she is going to come up married, every year I think you are going to show up with some guy, engaged-but I've been thinking that for years- I mean how can you be 29 and not married? How is that possible? That's just wrong. You should have some man taking care of you...And you know all these other assholes they think the same thing. They all want to know why you aren't married, but I'm the only one who will tell you flat out."

Well because that's just what I wanted this christmas, someone to tell me flat out what a social failure I am according to the backwater PA social index.

I go out to the garage to smoke. He follows out and sits next to me. He puts his arm around me and starts to rub my shoulder "Hey B-behave you're a married man." Be takes his arm away and put his hand on my knee. I get up to go back inside. He grabs me by the wrist. "You've always been my most kissable cousin" and he tries to pull me into him. "You're married and I have a boyfriend" I say pulling my wrist away. "But they aren't here are they?"

That he tried to use absence as an excuse was disgusting. I ran upstairs to be with the women and the babies and the toddlers and the puppies. The drooled on stuffed animals, the diaper smells, the sudden spats of tears and laughters-babies and puppies barking at each other-yelping and snapping at each other. When my mother and I left B grabbed my wrist "You're sure you have to go?" "Yes" "You can't come back?" "No-Marry Christmas B."

A near adulterous quasi incestuous interlude in a garage-just what I wanted-you shouldn't have.


Squirrel Skin Cap:

So over christmas dinner with my uncle, his wife and their children they were discussing hunting ( What are the of odds?) and it is divulged that my cousin hunts squirrels with a bow and arrow and hits them. SO far he has bagged six this season alone. My aunt related the story of the latest fatality "So there is this little squirrel and this BIG arrow sticking out and it's still running and it's running and running till it fell over and died." My aunt dissoolves into laughter.

That's great-uh that's chicken right? Cause it is kind of small.

You so know you missed me.

Just wait until New Year's Eve.

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