One of the traditions of the Christmas holidays for me -- and it's not necessarily one I adore, but I don't hate it either -- is that I go to my sister's house and help her get ready to play host to twenty-one....
we clean [I won't talk about my nephews' bathroom which needed a Hazmat suit and a pressure washer], we wrap presents, we bake, we organize, and we go to Costco:
[which was a story in itself -- Costco is like crossing a small country to begin with -- and I ran into five people I knew --- as my girlfriend Laura said -- Christmas past and Christmas present -- I ran into a student I taught who graduated in 1989 --
I ran into a teacher I used to work with who spent twenty minutes complaining about the job -- and a couple from a church I used to go to who yelled across stacks of DVDs ... "hey, I know you" and a couple from the church I got to now who wanted to bend my ear about the current state of the church -- I was like -- "hello, I've got a buggy full of raw meat and cheese" -- what were they thinking? We're in the middle of the cracker aisle at Costco, blocking other shoppers' buggies full of water, wine, toilet paper, and pies the size of Detroit.]
I push the buggy -- my sister shops. We also went to Kroger and Publix to get all the deals. When we left Publix with two turkeys, four packets of rolls, bacon, vegetables, etc, the bag boy [actually a man] asked me, "Are ya'll having a party?"
I rather dryly answered, "No, it's just the two of us."
He looked at me and my sister and then sort of snickered. He hesitated since it ain't like either one of us looks like we ever miss a meal.
21 -- that's how many join us for the holidays -- she plays host to ten under her roof -- and then the rest come in by car from around the corner and from Woodstock, Georgia ---
David would say that they come in on "circus wagons."
That's his way of saying, "there's a lot of us --- and we ain't small."
It's amazing to me -- how my three siblings and I have managed to turn into 21.
Fa la la la la la la .... lawd.
BTW: I'm tired already, and my brother-in-law is making the first of three trips we will make to the airport before the whole tribe is here.....
but --- I know how happy my parents would be to know that their four children and their families have continued to get together [now would be the 32nd year as my oldest brother got married in 1978] to celebrate the Christmas holidays.... a tradition that has blossomed, grown, expanded, and become a favorite time for all of us ---
in spite of my nephews' bathroom. :)