Yep--I said oppression. I don't have the heart to break it to the grandkids yet, but one of these years they will catch on to the unfortunate reality that (I hope you're sitting down for this!) Googie doesn't enjoy the Christmas season much. It is just too much work.
The problem goes back to the time I was the working mom of two little kids who had parties and programs (and needed gifts--and cookies) for school, church, 4-H, and a host of other events the season always brought about. It seemed like every organization we belonged to had to have its obligatory Christmas luncheon, dinner, or afternoon soiree. To complicate matters further (and this was my own fault, I know), son Teebo arrived on the Christmas Eve when his sister was 3 1/2, and through the years I was determined not to let his birthday fall into the sinkhole of the holiday season.
Work obligations and the inconvenient timing of the school semester put a crunch in my mid-December that was almost audible. For many years the week before Christmas brought five sets of final essays that had to be graded and averaged into semester scores at the same time there was something going on every night. I recall many years at my school when grades were due at noon on Christmas Eve.
So "Bah Humbug!" I always thought. I was a Scrooge, and I knew it. Although some of the madness has subsided since the kids have grown up and left home, the truth is, I still don't appreciate the Christmas season as I should. I know that, so don't lecture me. I am working on it.
Anyway--this was my frame of mind when I sat down at the computer yesterday to compose a piece to read last night with my local poetry group. Once again, the experience of writing afforded me a pleasant surprise, as I watched my usual Christmas whining rant evolve, through the process of writing itself, into something therapeutic and fun. I share it with you here, and I hope you enjoy it.
The Christmas Secret
Thanksgiving's barely over; the turkey's barely done.
Now Santa's snuck up on me, and it ain't no fun!
I'm sabotaged by details; there's clutter in a heap.
I'm frozen under snow that feels like three feet deep.
Tangled up in tinsel, buried under lights,
I'm feeling claustrophobic, and I can't breathe right!
Shoved around at grocery stores, trampled at the mall,
I've used all of my nine lives up, and that ain't all.
Christmas cookies make me hyperventilate and pant.
I burned myself and used up one whole aloe vera plant.
There's cards that need addresses, letters needing sent,
And hubby with the checkbook yellin', "Too much money spent!"
I need to take a break from this and sip a glass of wine--
Chardonnay's my favorite, but they all taste fine.
Some burgundy, some Riesling, and now some white Merlot--
The little glass goes upside down--and down the hatch they go!
By the way, I wonder why I picked this piddly glass?
A gallon jug would better make this bad mood pass.
Yes, wine goes down quite smoothly in a bunch of little sips--
(What's this? That's kinda funny. I no longer . . . feel . . . my lips.)
But--my heart no longer races; I no longer feel it throb,
So, I best forget the wine and get my butt back to my job.
I nestle 'mid the holly; I wrestle with the wreath,
Then grin and find some mistletoe is stuck between my teeth!
There's ribbon on the ceiling--but paper nowhere near--
Oops! I think I see it draped around the chandelier.
I try to light a candle and catch my couch on fire.
(I feel just like Aeneas watching Dido's funeral pyre.)
The ornaments are broken; they jumped right from the box.
And why, upon the mantle, have I hung my shoes and socks?
(And what's that right beside them: Is that my underwear?
Good grief! I sure hope someplace I can find another pair!
I have to go outside real soon, and it could be quite drafty,
So I'll make some from this tree skirt; I have always been quite crafty!)
Well--I don't recall so much at all that happened here last night.
The living room's a shambles and the fireplace a fright.
My eyesight's looking fuzzy for some reason, and--oh boy!
My head feels like a log that someone split for Yuletide joy.
My tummy feels quite queasy now, and just how can it be
That I'm sprawled out in my living room atop a Christmas tree?
There's a tree skirt 'round my ankles; how it got there I've no clue.
( But maybe we could keep last night between just me and you?)