I spent Christmas with my son’s lover’s parents, good people I’d seen a couple of times before and didn’t know well.  It was my first Christmas celebration since Janice died.  The first two Christmases were just two days.  I had heard that when one loses a spouse the holidays are especially hard to take, but they hadn’t been for me.  I couldn’t deny her not being here to celebrate; I could deny the celebration, though, so I did.

I hardly knew Jim and Cam, but I had a feeling that their house was going to be Christmassy, and boy, was it ever.  Christmas was everywhere, from the lighted candy canes on the driveway gate and the little Christmas tchotchkes pretty much all over, to the actually creepy zombie Santa on the porch.

I had a good time, mostly.  Deanne, Jim’s sister, and her husband, Paul, were there, and old siblings are always interesting to me, not being one myself.

I’m mostly used to being by myself, living lonely if not actually alone.  I’m used to going places by myself—to the Co-op or the Post Office or the Pageant—and I thought I’d be fine.  I can do odd-man-out like a champ.

I never thought about not having done Christmas without her, though.  I knew I’d done it before, only Christmas in my room watching YouTube is a far cry from Christmas in the midst of a goddamn bunch of warm, loving, good-hearted pairs of mated humans.  I was the only freelancer, other than a cat and four dogs.

They did that thing that Janice’s family had done, and so the Porters did too, where everybody sits around and opens their presents together.  I had brought something for the house—my mother would be proud—but I hadn’t known what to expect and wisely didn’t ask, so I had no individual gifts for anybody, and I felt badly about it.  Janice would have hand-made cards to go with the gifts she’d have thought to bring.

So I sat there miserably opening thoughtful token after thoughtful token, full of self-loathing and probably -pity and trying not to blubber.  I didn’t blubber, either, not in front of anybody, and that’ll have to do.

I drank some brandy and ate some of everything in sight until I began to waddle.  I succumbed to a parlor game that didn’t turn out to be awful, and dodged a game of Chicken Foot, and that worked out fine.

Lots of talk, lots of laughing.  Nobody got drunk, nobody got punched, nobody cried but me.  Here’s something notable:  Without collaboration of any sort, my son and I brought the same thing for a house gift.

I learned a couple of jokes.  Jim had two or three thousand, I bet, but I remember only a couple, both of them no doubt offensive to a group or two, and each of which, while not at all funny in itself, made me laugh.  I’m gonna tell you one.  If you think of yourself as at all sensitive or civilized, you should probably stop here.

There’s a new shelter in town—Tempura House, for lightly battered women.  I warned you.

Posted Sunday, January 4th, 2015 under aging, crying, death, drugs, Janice, Uncategorized.


  1. don fultz says:

    I found myself at a Christmas party this year. The food was great and so was the flow of conversation. I was doing fine. Then the Christmas singing started, which blocked continued conversation. I was okay, but thoughts of how much my wife would have loved being there started to creep in. Then they started singing Elvis’ “Blue Christmas,” and it was time to quietly slip out the back. I am never so lonely as when in a crowd. All those people, and none of them her.

  2. Thom Smith says:

    As always Anthony your comments are thoughtful and original. It is a pleasure to read something not politically correct. It is to me a gift in the sense that I would not consider being as straight forward, even though I would like to be. Happy New Year Anthony, I hope we cross paths.

  3. Nice to wake up once in a while and pop your head up.

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