The day crept by, we all held our breaths.
Tip Toeing on egg shells,
Doing our collective best.
Holding to forced hollow,
politeness and meaningless small chat.
Avoiding the family elephant in the room,
Our painful history of misdeeds and misuse.
The tree was lighted, the room gaily decorated with
all the colorful Christmas props of our childhood.
Mom cooked her best guess of each of our,
once adolescent favorite foods. My two sisters,
my older and younger brother and me too.
And Dad bit his tongue and tried to stay hushed,
as Mom had pleaded for him to do.
Half way through dinner and a few Hot Buttered Rums,
The small talk turned serious, and just like that, we were
all truly back home again.
Grown adults quickly reduced to sniveling petty children
sitting at their domineering curl Father's dinner table.
Old wounds opened and bleed upon Mom's best-treasured
table cloth. Food grew cold for lack of interest, eyes flared
and oaths of profanity mingled with cheery Holiday Music
on the stereo. Belligerence ensued and our Father raged
as he verbally listed his disappointments at our many failings.
Judy's new husband took a swing at Jason and the women
protesting their loutish behavior, separated them.
Earl and his small clan fled out the door and drove
straight back to Emeryville with not one word,
Of goodbye having been uttered.
Even leaving the kids presents behind.
In tears, Sandy ran back up to her old room and discovered,
That it had been turned into an "Exercise Parlor and Sewing
Den." All her things gone to the Goodwill or garbage bin.
Dad went to the cupboard and got his bottle of Scotch
and the rest of us all quickly adjourned.
Mom started to cry and never stopped.
The Dog Days of Christmas had commenced,
And all the Kings horses and all the Kings men
could never put our Castle back together again.
I donned my helmet, swung a leg over my Hog
and headed for the mountains, leaving Christmas
in my rear-view mirror. "Peace on Earth and
Good Will Towards Men", don't work for everybody
friend. Hopefully, maybe next year we'll try it again.
Not everyone has the good fortune to rejoice
in the happiness of home and hearth. We are all
different, come from varied backgrounds and
family situations. A conversation with a friend
was the seed of this write. Some are not as
lucky as others. And I think we can all relate.
Perhaps the flip side of what we imagine and
want it to be. . . Family stuff is complicated.