Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Very Stubborn Christmas

My mom's side of the family used to have these big Christmas shindigs. They were pretty fun. Especially for me. I was just a kid, so all I had to do was show up, eat, and open presents.

That sounds like a successful party recipe today, especially since I wouldn't even have to drive.

For the most part, all I cared about were the presents. There was a lot of boring grown-up talk, then we ate, which seemed to take about a thousand hours, then we were finally allowed to rip open our presents. As mentioned previously, the stress of wondering if I had been good enough throughout the year usually had me throwing up from anxiety on Christmas Eve, so these celebrations were much more relaxed than actual Christmas. I mean, like my grandma and aunts and uncles weren't gonna get me stuff? Come on.

There was tons of food at these things. A turkey, my Uncle Eddie's ham, which might be the only ham I've ever really cared about, tons of side dishes and desserts, just about anything you could think of.

One year when I was about 6 though, I wasn't having it. I don't remember what the controversy was, but for whatever reason I told my parents I was only eating three beans that day. Maybe I thought that would get to the present opening sooner. Maybe I thought I was teaching them a Christmas lesson about gluttony. Maybe I was emulating Gandhi, every little Mississippi boy's childhood hero. Whatever the reason, I had made my mind up.

I can be pretty stubborn. That whole day, with piles of wonderful food around me, I stuck to my vow and only ate three green beans. When I think of some of the lame Christmas dinners I've had since then (many just involving ham), all I can think about are those mashed potatoes with gravy and turkey and dressing and pie and treats I passed up just to prove a point that I can't remember now anyway.

At this point, I could point out that we all have stubbornness and blind spots that keep us from getting all the treats we should be getting, but what am I, Dr. Phil? Just remember however, that if you do pass up the turkey, there's a good chance you'll get nothing but ham Christmases for years after.

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