December 19, 2007

A Holiday Story

Holiday Images: 2007 Christmas Tree. Just the right size when you have a two year old staying the night.

Once upon a time, there was a family that didn’t communicate well. Christmas time came, and they got ready for their annual get-together. One sister and her husband from Texas had tickets to the Poinsettia Bowl football game, and another sister and her husband from Borrego had tickets too. They all decided to go to the Poinsettia Bowl on Christmas Eve together.

Another sister from Hollywood was expected to arrive Christmas Eve as was a brother from San Francisco. These two families didn’t have tickets to the football game, but no one gave them a second thought.

“You can spend the day with drunken dad, drunken brother, and Alzheimer’s mom,” she was told. “Or you can go spend the day with your friend Millicent,” said Texas Sister.

This didn’t go over well. Hollywood got very angry. They never thought of her, or her husband, at all. Their focus was on themselves and getting to the ball game. The two sisters began exchanging email, and each post got angrier and angrier. Resentments that were hidden all these many years were shared in anger for the first time.

Finally everyone threw up their hands in disgust and said, “No Christmas this year. We will talk later. Enough is enough.”

Mid morning, just as the rain began pouring down from the black sky in earnest, Borrego called Hollywood. “My husband had a massive heart attack this morning and I did CPR until the ambulance arrived. He’s in Scripps after surgery.” That's as far as she got.

Hollywood mulled that over a bit, and called Borrego back. “I’m on my way down,” she said, “and I have called everyone to let them know what happened.”

Sometimes it only takes burping the baby to get things moving. Other times, it takes an earthquake to jumpstart a family. Sometimes only a tidal wave is big enough to wake everyone up. This Christmas it took a volcano to put the love back in the holiday.

Afternoon Edit:
It was as if my good writing intentions and energies just took a leap out the window. I took one piece to class this morning that I had labored on for two days. Not labored enough, it seems. Lesson one for me is read the piece out loud before I consider it finished. When I got there and began to read it out loud, all the errors leapt off the page and titillated me with their wrongness.

As others read, some with delightful postmodern lack of clarity and others with fiction or non-fiction pieces, I scribbled corrections that caught my and other’s attention. Gee, normally I do far better than this…I say shaking my head.

After the last class before the holiday today, three of us met up again at Kaiser to re-up on prescriptions. My last trip there, darn it. Starting the first, we will become Scripps customers again with their vastly higher prescription costs. From there, I wandered through Von’s seeing our substitute teacher long enough to thank her. Our regular instructor was having cataract surgery just at class time.

Days go like this sometimes.

Yesterday while buying Duck a basket at the office supply store, I ran into a mother of a patient at Duck’s nursing home. She kept saying how bright he was, how he qualified to have full time care at home, and on and on. Until I finally repeatedly said that Duck couldn’t even use the phone any more much less cook or walk, did she finally realize that he was non functional. Her mother is much worse with Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, and the after effects of a stroke. Duck is just fading.

There are days that go like this too.

Today the most important thing I can do for myself is walk. Boy that’s a hard thing to do. I’m buoyed up by the dramatic health turn around of both SoCalFrank and Marion B’s. Lethargy is my first name these days, but if I want to live much longer and comfortably too, I need to get off my ass and move it.

Tomorrow I stand. The 24th and the 27th I stand too. Yes, I had meant to buy Aleve along with several new toothbrushes.

Duck: Didn’t understand the holder we got for his cards because it wasn’t silver. Didn’t remember he had been to a Christmas party and gotten a hat. Didn’t understand much this day.

Me: Today school, but I did get a walk in and all my other exercises in yesterday.

G: I caught him whistling yesterday. There is life after SAD. This dear man put the heater in the bathroom this morning so I would have a warm room to shower in around now.

Weather: 59 and rain. Accidents everywhere, and traffic is slowed to a halt.


  1. OMG! I hope that he will be ok. How sad that things like this happen.

  2. Did this really happen today? How I hope it is something of the past and just written as though it is happening now. If this is what you and your family are coping with presently, I send you my thoughts for a full recovery.

    Take good care of yourself.

  3. Alice from WintersongDecember 20, 2007 at 6:42 PM

    I like that story; it sounds so real I find myself hoping it's something you made up. But it's eerily like real family stuff. You do write well.


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