Christmas has blown in like a March wind and zoomed out like a Lear jet. I was happy to get through gift-giving season without tears being shed by the two boys in the house. One boy just skipped over the 60 mark and the other is half-way through being 11.
Santa did all right by the boys this year so they are still happy.
Seriously, who wouldn’t be with a big ol’ goodie bag from See’s Candies?
Over the holiday, I had some chat time with my buddy Mia, who is 81 going on 25.
I asked what she’d received from her extended family, who had all traveled several hours to spend the holiday with her and she said, “Nothing.
Not one darn thing.”
After she spent many days of house cleaning and food preparation and linen service, they descended on her and promptly began gobbling up everything in sight and never bothering to take off their shoes when entering her house.
The poor little dog of hers was cowering under the sofa most of the time, not being used to having a truckload of west coast hillbillies under his roof.
She was mightily disappointed that the family sat around on Christmas Eve heartily passing around gifts they’d brought for each other, but none
with her name on any of them.
“Not that I was expecting anything, but it did hurt my feelings,” she explained.
One of the guests happened to break the blind in the bathroom window, and sort of brushed it off like it was no big deal.
She put on her parka and sailed out the door to go skiing.
That was almost the straw that broke the camel’s back. Almost.
Mia was flabbergasted.
“How could she just shrug it off and not try to fix it? I would never think of just ignoring something like that ... is she really so spoiled that she thinks I will just take care of it and not make her own up to it?”
The young woman in question is 22.
She merely suggested that her great-auntie go out and buy a new blind and she would pay for it.
“Do you have any idea what a pain in the tail that is for me to do? I have to measure the window, go buy a blind, have it cut, have it hung ... are you gonna do that for me?”
The dumbstruck wunderkind just stood there looking blankly at Mia and then went into the guest room to cry.
And great-auntie did measure the window, did go buy a new blind and have it cut, came home and dragged out the little ladder to hang it, it didn’t fit.
She grumbled about it but not very loudly.
She was trying to remain a gracious hostess.
On preparing sandwiches in the kitchen, she said, “I really wish she had taken care of that like I asked before she left here” to which the girl’s mother said, “Get over it.”
Wow. What nerve!
My friend had a sharp knife in her hand at the moment and took a deep breath saying, “This is my house. She broke something that belonged to me and she needs to take responsibility for it.” Then she slammed the knife down, got her keys and her doggie and off they went.
The family realized what a bunch of nincompoops they’d been, so they tried to muster some civility and make nice with the woman that they hoped would leave something to each of them in her will.
I told her she ought to write up a bill and send it to each family member to pay up for the food and housekeeping services.
She said, “Nope. I’m gonna change my will. I’ve had it with these people.”
We had a good laugh about how surprised they would be after she died to find that she’d left everything to the local animal shelter.
She then told me she had to run because she had the last of her food gifts to distribute to neighbors.
I asked if any of the neighbors had gifted her and she said, “Oh yeah. You have to see what I got from M.L., the one whose husband died and
made her a wealthy widow.”
“Was it really good?”
“I’m not telling you what it is. You just have to come and see it for yourself.”
“I’ll be right over!” I hung up the phone and took off.
All the family was off doing their thing when I got there so we had a few minutes to chitchat.
“OK,” I said, “Show me the goods you got from M.L.”
She reached behind her and picked up a plastic ziplock sandwich bag. Inside the bag was a scoop of caramel corn.
“This is it,” she said, “This is the gift from my wealthy next door neighbor.”
I scared the doggie back under the sofa from laughing so hard and so loud.
“Little does she know,” said my friend, “I’m gonna trim that tree in her yard again while she’s gone. Payback is a you-know-what.”
She held up the little plastic ziplock bag.
“This,” she said, shaking it, “is the straw that did it. This is what my life has come to. A gosh darn bag of caramel corn.”
She flipped the lid on the waste bucket and in it went.
She dusted her hands and said, “I will come back to haunt these people ... and I won’t be nice about it, either. That’s a promise!”
I made sure to start the New Year off right by sending her a gift card to her favorite restaurant.
I do not want to become the Scrooge to her Ghost of Christmas Past.
I’m in good with Santa, and I aim to keep it that way.