I have realized that my writing tends to ramp up during the holidays and I can see that it is because the bulk of the material is provided unwittingly by my family, especially from Dear Paul. So, once again, dear readers, a recap of Joanie’s holiday is in order!

As I had mentioned earlier, this year she had decided to have a simple Christmas- a small fake tree from the attic, a wreath on the door- simple! Stress free! Well, of course the Davis Family Christmas didn’t turn out that way- it never does- what was she thinking?

As the days progressed toward the 25th even her pets were decorated. A trip to PetSmart and a receipt for $55.97 resulted in a cute Santa hat for Teddy that even played music, a little tulle dress with holly on it for Ting Ting, a knitted sweater that says “Reindeer in Training” for Natalie’s poodle Barney, and two new collars for Roxy, our son Jamezz’ bulldog. Oh no. She had Dog Town at her house with all of the scuffling over the food dish, walking either one canine or another constantly, and sharing the couches with them, not to mention the beds. They were running races around the living room chairs and tearing balls off of the Christmas tree.

The holiday menus consisted of various platters of fabulous meats and cheeses, homemade cookies and candies, French dip sandwiches, salads, crab and shrimp, asparagus and cheese quiches, wines and rum, bourbon, vodka and the occasional soft drink. Hmmm. Not exactly a low cal diet, but once a year is ok, right? Burp! Simple, clean food! Ha!

As Christmas Eve approached, Joanie began to get that familiar “Oh no” feeling, because, as you may remember, Dear Paul isn’t known for his gift giving ability. She tries to calmly accept whatever ridiculous crap he has wrapped with a smile, and this year was no different. As the family opened wonderful presents, as usual it came down to one last one, one for Joanie. She opened the cardboard box to reveal a small spindly wooden chair- one like one would sit a doll on. “For your chair collection!” Paul smiled broadly, wiggling in his chair in his new robe and sipping on what was undoubtedly his 15th beer of the day. She thanked him and once again wondered where in the Sam Hill he finds the things he gives her. Goodwill? His white van? The basement?

It all started to really go downhill later when the (real) Christmas tree got knocked over by Natalie and Cassie- Natalie wrestling for Cassie’s cell phone. Cass had been taking photos and Nat didn’t like it. They knocked over the large 3’ cement hare that Jamezz had given to Joan- “Shoot, one ear got knocked off in the car but you should be able to use Liquid Nails on it.” The candelabras nearly set the room on fire as the wrapping paper flew through the air. Joan was not happy. Time to water the mutts again, get one last cookie and send everyone either home or to bed. She had had enough.

As she fell into a well deserved coma, about 5:00 AM Joanie heard a thumping in the attic. That is itself is not unusual in that she has rats and various critters up there from time to time, but this time it must be big! She listened with alarm as the wrestling and pounding became too hard to ignore. Time to go downstairs and find Paul, who was undoubtedly sitting in the kitchen with his new true crime book and a beer. He is as deaf as a doornail and wouldn’t hear her yell if she were getting disemboweled so she had to go down to get him. Not that that would have helped as he is not a brave person.

As she tiptoed down the dark hall she could see lights coming from the attic! A flashlight! Now she was convinced she didn’t have vermin, she had a burglar- dear God, in the attic! Crap! Just as she decided to go wake Jamezz, there comes Dear Paul, descending the fold up stairs, dusty, drunk, covered in cobwebs and manhandling a large, heavy object. “Don’t look! Go back to bed!” “Paul! What are you doing?” “Don’t screech, Joan! Go back to bed!” She once again shook her head and flopped into bed. At least her house hadn’t been broken into…

In the morning once again there is Dear Paul, in his chair. Waiting for her to come downstairs- he had about three rolls of wrapping paper fastened around a gift roughly the size of a small ship. “Open it! Open it!” Where is her reality show camera crew when she needs it she thought…

And as she unwrapped the sweetest concrete cherub, reading a book, dusty and dirty from 30+ years in the attic, Dear Paul looked at her and said “Oh hon, I just thought you deserved a better gift…”

All at once everything was right with the world, and content was once again restored.

May happiness and content bubble to the surface for each and every one of you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my dearest of the dear. Amen and good night.


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