Horrifying Gifts for the Holidays

If your family is like mine, it’s big, and ungainly and the truth is, you just don’t know each other well enough to buy each other anything but an Amazon gift card. This will, of course, in no way stop you from wanting to play Happy Families, so you will spend a massive amount of money to say “Look, I bought you a Gift.”

In general, the rules for these Gifts are simple:

  1. The Gift must be something durable enough to result in the on-going ownership of something the recipient does not want, or  the awkward disposal thereof.
  2. Recipient will, of course, feign gratitude and acceptance of said Gift, even if Giver has had a lifetime to notice that she/he does not use __________.
  3. Anaphylaxis in no way excuses you from rule #2. Eat another nut bar.
  4. Gift will most likely be identical to Gifts given to every other family member of your Rank and Gender. (ie: Female Cousins, Uncles, etc.)
  5. In the event that Pansexual Nymphette is the Giver, you MUST maintain the pretense that Gift is as G-Rated and Family Friendly as Possible. Do NOT say “figging oil” when you could say **ahem** “massage oil” or better yet, “gourmet cooking oil.”

There is, of course, an unspoken 6th rule: Gifts given to people other than yourself will be even more inconvenient to you.

Your Grandmother will be given a photo-calendar made from a picture of you taken at a Ballroom Dance exhibit. She’s not going to throw it out. That would be hurtful, both to you, and to the relative who gave it to her.


She’s going to drive a new nail so it can hang prominently in the living room all year long.

You will spend the entire year fielding questions from random acquaintances about a dance partner you don’t even perform with regularly.

No. We’re not getting married.

No. He’s not special… well, I guess his wife and kids might think so.

Yes, his wife knows we dance together. That’s her on the left.

Yes, I’m sure he’s not special!

No, he’s not Gay. Pretty sure his wife would have told me. And no, I will not introduce you, Steven.


No, you do not get to meet him. No, he’s not with his family for Christmas this year. He’s with them for Hanukkah.

What? You got all six of my great-aunts the very same calendar? In smaller sizes? Oh, well, then…

Fuck it. What’s his name and I are getting married. It’s just more convenient.

I’m sure his wife will understand.

Nostalgia and Fugue

In a fit of nostalgia, I let myself be talked  into the idea that I  should go back to the town I used to live in, and the house where I spent the better portion of my childhood.
Five hours later, I was there, staring at a town that could have been anyplace, and a few buildings that might have been familiar, one remodel and half a dozen coats of paint ago.
It’s a strange feeling, going back to a place you haven’t been in years. I spent some time looking for the old landmarks, and finding nothing. A neighbor’s house, that was still recognisable thanks to the distinctive windows was as close as I got to identifying anything.
Two trips past a house that must have been mine, once,  and I still don’t feel like I’ve been home. I don’t feel it. I do know that those pines used to be little, and once, you could see into the back yard, and there used to be a cottonwood tree somewhere in the front.
There are a lot more houses in the neighborhood than when I lived there. Closer together, and almost claustrophobic. No one has horses, anymore, and the field where Other Karen’s father used to pull our sleds behind his snow mobile? Gone.
It’s not the first time I’ve gone back. Last time, I was horrified to find a buffalo skull above MY garage door, but at least it was still MY house.
This time… I had to go back to the main street and look again to convince myself I really had turned at the right place. Things had changed.
My old school got a gym. And a bunch of plastic things in the yard. When I was there, we had old fashioned swings and merry-go-rounds. And…  I’m ashamed to say… It looks like someone may have removed the tractor tires we used as forts.
There aren’t many people left, either. None of the mailboxes had names I recognized, and anyway, it’s a mobile society.
I kept track of a few friends for a while. Saint Louis for one, Lincoln for another. Followed them until their older sister went to the Air Force, and their mother had a replacement baby, or until we ran out of letters, one way or another, and stopped writing. They aren’t there for me to look up, at any rate.
I can still find one. I might track him down some other time. If and when I feel like talking. Or… If and when I need him for points in the next blog hop scavenger hunt. Whichever.
And by the way… Blog hop deadline today. Few hours left.