Don’t Make Me Come Down There: Holiday Dinners

Miss Crankypants wants you to take a deep breath. That’s right, calm and relaxed. For you are about to enter the time of year when all good people’s not-so-good relatives barge right into your sanity.
It’s the HOLIDAYS!
Just yesterday, Miss CP and a few friends were discussing seasonal plans and the obligatory relatives that ruin every good intention. Each of us had a look reminiscent of smelling rotten eggs. Why, oh why do we allow ourselves to be tortured every year?
When God said to love one another, Miss CP is SURE that He didn’t mean the family morons, village idiots and others who claim to be our relations. Did He?
Miss Cranky remembers the holiday dinners when a certain uncle and aunt always showed up acting drunk. This might not seem extraordinary until you consider that Auntie and Uncle were teetotalers. These two prize specimens came to the party dressed for the Playboy mansion, laughing and giggling to beat the band. You have not lived until you’ve seen your male relative wearing a French-cut, bun-hugging Speedo. Can you say EEEWW?
It never fails. You work your fingers to the bone, planning a fabulous feast, making cute little place cards and a centerpiece that would make Martha Stewart jealous. When the extended family arrives, Grandma sniffs the air, says something smells burnt and couldn’t we all just go out to eat?
You want to gouge out Grandma’s eyes. But first you’re going to sit down and eat this bird, no matter how overcooked it is.
Meanwhile, God is sitting up there rolling his eyes.
Your sister’s kid wipes his nose on the fine linen tablecloth you spent a fortune having dry cleaned. Your brother-in-law really IS drunk, and so far your dear spouse has avoided that “spirited discussion” about his in-law’s progressive politics. How does your spouse do this? Why by hiding out in the den watching seven football games in a row, that’s how.
You, on the other hand, teeter between checking yourself into a hospital or punching out that loud-mouthed liberal sleazy brother-in-law who lets his kids stick olives on all ten fingers and run around making sounds that would embarrass a brood sow. Your sister won’t stop telling you about her last culinary masterpiece, which by the way you really ought to try next year.
Plus, Grandma has accidentally locked herself in the bathroom. When she’s finally sprung, she hobbles down the hallway with the toilet paper stuck in the back of her waistband, Charmin unwinding all the way.
You finally sink into a chair and cry. This gets God’s attention, and He bellows, “Don’t make me come down there!”
Right then you know you are loved. So you paste on a smile and say, “Let’s go out to eat!”

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

2 comments on “Don’t Make Me Come Down There: Holiday Dinners

  1. Then there was the Thanksgiving dinner that birthed the infamous question–“did he put pot in the brownies or not?” A decade later, this is still a hot topic of conversation whenever the relatives gather because a certain rowdy cousin claims he did. What followed among the aunts and uncles was such a ruckus that one tends to believe there might have been something questionable in the brownies.

    Or the year my mother the teetotaler received a bourbon-soaked fruitcake and ate nearly half before the guests arrived. She was one happy woman that year.

    Ah, yes. Colorful relatives at holidays. Thanks for the memories, Miss CP. But I did wonder where you found the photo of MY family at Christmas. (My attorney’s secretary will be contacting your attorney’s secretary…)
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Now she’s heard everything! Steal your family photo? Why would Miss CP do such a thing when she has plenty of crazy relatives to choose from? Happy Thanksgiving, dear, and may you live long or at least until Black Friday. ~Miss CP aka Linda

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