Snowmen, reindeer, candy canes, ornaments, green, red, green, red! Yes, my friends, somehow, it is that time of year. The holiday that is everywhere, before your pumpkin’s head has even caved in (when you have not even had time to discuss the Halloween parties you attended) is breathing down your neck. Every aisle in the stores that you visited just yesterday, that were stocked with patio furniture and spectacular garden plants have suddenly been replaced with all things glitter. This is the season that begs us to ask, where on earth did the year go? Most of us have a common reaction to this gripping moment. Panic. Our brains become overloaded and the room begins to spin. Judgmental, overly optimistic, chipper, dancing elves intrude upon our imaginations shouting loudly at us in front of our peers in every aisle we visit: Shopping! Wrapping! Baking! Decorating! Boxes! Bows! Cards! Fruit Cakes! And . . . family gatherings. No wonder cocktails parties are so popular during the holidays.
THE GOOD NEWS: Cocktail parties are popular during the holidays.
THE KINDA GOOD NEWS: We know we are not alone as we observe our peers staring at the same aisles with our exact dazed look on their faces. The elves are with them as well.
THE BAD NEWS: I won’t insult you by stating the overly obvious. Don‘t get me wrong, when the initial shock of the season wears off, I am the first one singing “I’ll be home for Christmas” (at the top of my lungs) and genuinely cherish the process of buying gifts for my dear friends and family. Although, I traditionally, rebelliously, purchase one “fruit cake” for one very special person. Does this make me bad? Later in the evening of my panic stricken afternoon, over dinner and hot buttered rum, I shared my holiday twilight experience with Mister Man. He was clearly amused by my overly dramatic interpretation of the situation; insisting that I consider becoming a writer of films. Apparently my imagery did spark the conversation as we both strolled down memory lane, sharing stories of our past. Mister Man was not at all surprised that my favorite Halloween costume as a child was Dolly Parton. However, I was a bit taken aback that he, too, had been Dolly Parton for Halloween—recently. It didn’t seem to fit his demeanor at first, but what the hell! That’s the whole point of Halloween right? Right? At my age, anything is concerning. Nevertheless, evenings like this are priceless in any relationship. NEW RELATIONSHIP’S, FAIRLY NEW, GETTING OLDER, and . . . FLAT DAMN OLD. Anytime you have something specific to discuss that makes you laugh, it make the dull days disappear. NOTE: This is much easier during the NEW to FAIRLY NEW stage. GETTING OLDER and FLAT DAMN OLD are tough cookies, because the stories are never quite as charming the two hundredth time around. Not to mention how strangely irritating it is when details change, every time. For the OLDER THAN DIRT folks, it’s not ever the same story at all. But perhaps that indeed keeps thing strangely new?!? Inspired by Dolly Parton and the moment (and perhaps rum?) I leapt onto the wooden coffee table, with my teased big hair, my bra strategically stuffed with tube socks, and sang to Mister Man adoringly, “I will always love you”, using my hairbrush as a microphone. Feeling ultra inspired, I managed an amazing eagle spread from the table landing accurately, yet not so gracefully in Mister Man’s lap. We had only been dating for 8 months at that time. He sweetly shook his head and wrapped his arms around my waist wearing a serious look on his face. “I want you to come to my family Thanksgiving dinner”, he said, after I had plopped ungracefully on his lap. Gulp.
Not only because I was straddling Mister Man with the heal of my tube sock peeking out from my over the shoulder boulder holder, but that he had invited me to Thanksgiving with his family. He told me it would be an experience I would never forget. I was slightly nervous about meeting all of his distant relatives for the first time, but honored that it was evident he confirmed how I had been feeling. We were entering a new phase of our relationship. My panic subsided and I was ready. Ready for the holiday season and ready to enjoy my first holiday with my dear, sweet Mister Man. As I gazed into his soulful eyes, I couldn’t help notice how strong his “manly” features were. As handsome as he looked to me at that moment, he had to have been the ugliest Dolly Parton ever. Fa la la la, la la la la . . .