Generally it makes sense to write about a family holiday event after it happens, if at all. Crazy Uncle Louie face down making snow angels on the shag carpet. Teetotaling Aunt Bessie accidentally getting into the spiked punch and using her false teeth as castanets, or the kids making a surprise skating rink by damming up and flooding the garage. This is good stuff you cannot make up. A few humorous anecdotes, a bit of wit and wisdom, an encompassing comment on the universality of humankind, and wishes of peace and prosperity in the new year. These columns practically write themselves.
My family and friends are less colorful. These are nice folks, and I love them all, but I cannot remember any of them doing anything zany enough for me to write about. This year may be different, as there are a few added ingredients. The “perfect storm” analogy has become so cliched it is used to explain school board election results, a pot luck with only potato salads, or an entire HR department getting matching tattoos.
Still, while it may not be a storm, or close to perfect, my doppler radar indicates this may be a memorable holiday. I have always been one to surprise JoAnne with extra people for dinner because I thought the resultant mix would provide either kumbaya warmth or degenerate into an uncomfortable evening of back biting and name calling. As a fan of chaos, I am looking forward to this holiday season.
I am writing now because I will probably be involved in home repair, or at the very least, carpet cleaning and will certainly not be in a reflective mood by this time next month. If all goes according to plan, we will have eight dogs beginning the third week of December and through New Year’s Day.
The “cousins” are coming! They are daughter Rachael’s three rather large and very friendly dogs. She and her husband Daniel are wisely leaving the country and we get the kids. Our boxer and border collie (Cowboy and Hannah) love to romp through our very small house with their cousin. Henry and Jane are a sweet puggle and border collie pair that come over most days as they live nearby with their mom, a close friend.
These seven know each other well, but the piece de resistance will be Sadie, a chocolate lab from Minneapolis who will be the surprise guest of honor. Our dear friends Jay and Cheryl have just retired (Cheryl from the U of M) and are coming to stay with us. They are driving Miss Sadie. Our son Ben and daughter-in-law Erin have real lives and will sadly arrive dogless. A few brave human friends are invited, but much of the time we will balance on the tipping point with the dogs outnumbering the people, which is fine with us.
Tom H. Cook is a sometimes writer who lives on a busy street in Redondo Beach, where firetrucks are not uncommon. AAAARROOOOO!