Pressure Busting Tip #21
I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. I know I did. If you shared it with your extended family, more than a few stories were likely shared. Probably several were precious, adorable, and embarrassing, the latter featuring you as the main character. My mother especially loves to tell her entire repertoire of Hapless Nance stories as often as possible to as wide an audience as she can. She doesn't do this to Patti* of course, nor Bobby, nor Susan. And it would be at least a Venial Sin to do this to (!gasp!) a Grandchild. (*favourite child of all)
One of her All-Time Favourites is Christmas-themed. According to St. Patsy: "Nance is sitting there with her nose in a book, as usual, while everyone else is busy doing something, when all of a sudden, she starts hollering to me in the kitchen to come quick. 'Mom! Mom! Hurry up!' Now, I have no idea what's going on. I'm in the kitchen; I don't remember what exactly I was doing, but I was busy. Maybe I was doing the dishes or making dinner or something like that. Anyway, I probably stopped to wipe my hands on a dishtowel. She screamed one more time, 'Mom!', and then I hear a whoosh and a crash and the sound of things breaking. I run in there, and there's Nance, standing by the TV, and the entire Christmas tree, lights lit and all, lying on the floor. Here the thing had been tipping over, falling, and instead of catching it, she just got out of the way! Just scooped up her book and ran out of the way. I asked her, 'Why didn't you catch it?' And she said, 'Mom! I'm not gonna catch that big tree!' So she just let it fall. What a mess!" And here she keeps shaking her head, remembering the mess of it all, while chuckling at the same time.
All I can remember is a bigass, fully decorated, seven-foot balsam tree leaning and going, and my mother seeming unconcerned as I hollered for her to come quick. I was, at the time, probably ten years old. Maybe eleven. There was no way in Hell that I was going to intervene between gravity and, say, fifty thousand sharp little evergreen needles that were in various stages of dryness. Plus, that tree had at least two feet and more than a couple pounds on me. Back in those days, we used the large, old-fashioned lights, and those things got hot. Did that woman honestly think I was going to catch what amounted to a burning hot, seven-feet tall porcupine in drag? Exactly who is the crazy one? But it was funny, just the same. (Since I'm alive to talk about it.)
This brings me to my final Pressure Busting Tip, #21. ( I had hoped to have 30 of them, remember? My original plan was to post one every day of November, but that didn't happen. Oh well; I still did a pretty good job. No one is perfect. It's impossible.) Stop striving for The Perfect Christmas. It's Impossible. Stuff happens. But the Stuff is what makes memories. Families are like oatmeal--lumpy, sticky, and a little bit messy. That means anything connected with them will be the same. If you look back at your memories, your pictures, your Life--it's the little imperfections that have made it interesting. And, remember, Christmas comes every single year. You can always try again.