The House on a New Year’s Diet Battle
In the family, television room a battle waited. Age battled in every room, including coffee-table art books, philosophy, outdated software books. Photographers were standing nearby and debating, as if Ansel Adams and Edward Weston reincarnated.
Nine recent National Geographics, a few recent Readers Digests, Living the Country Life, Horse Life, Oregon Life, various university alumni and defense lawyer journals all waited. They waited along with the others but the war was upfront. They knew the house was living the life too well.
The latest award winning films, The Iron Man 2 and The A-Team revised were kneeling on bottom shelves, oak stumps.
Walls of stacked monitors and peripherals were built. British Malteasers sat on a tree shelf to disrupt the soldier’s path. An enemy mine or battlefield of chocolates.
In the pantry armies of canned chicken, albacore tuna, chili con carne, chards, spinaches, green beans and other vegetables and bottles or cans of vinegars and oils. Also teas, pots, coffees and coffee makers were waiting, brewing.
A turkey carcass sat refrigerated. So many migrated beers for the soldiers to relax. So many condiments maybe as useful salves.
Around the corners behind the head of the dining table stand liqueur bottles surrounding the stacked wine bottles, which surround the tall cabinet as a short evergreen borders. They encircle the seasonal non-native oranges and the other non-native British chocolates hiding.
Classic rock debated with jazz. LP’s debated various cassettes, pre-recorded and pre-copied media. Music debated with newer media, the grand-children of the not easily portable albums. Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews, Phish and Pearl Jam quarreled. The classic jazz musicians Duke Ellington and Count Basey debated the moderns Dave Brubeck and Herbie Hancock.
The games behind a coat closet, building towers and buying monopolies and drawing a wall for their opponent or a bridge for themselves. Jenga jumped on the monopoly. Then Pictionary fought for the kings and queens of the card decks. An anonymous Viking built more walls and bridges and strong-armed Candy Land.
Wrapping paper and tinsel lay on or
near the tree and bodies and bullets.
Gelling in Family Christmas Preparations
Loneliness gels away from here,
away from this. Warmth gels here.
Familiarity gels here.
My nephew Erik is eating Chinese food
for breakfast, except for sliced and gelled sauce.
“You can’t have Chinese for breakfast,” says his father, my brother Chris. They debate over lunch food and lunch time. His son ignores his father.
Nathan says the Santa on top looks misplaced. A small cloth Santa sits atop the fir tree with needles among the blanket and water bucket. Also in the tree is a large gold colored smiling sun, and a blue and white swirled teardrop in memorial of dad. Chris sorts and checks individual ornament boxes in, from a larger decorated box. Mom tells Erik’s brother Nate that Santa came twice one year, once while visiting in California.” Oh yeah,” says Nate who is almost 14. I wish mom remembered my childhood as well, or the childhood of any of her children.
Mom talks of new and old trendy Hallmark ornaments for her grandchildren. She wanted a 3 frog ornament or one Napoleon Dynamite ornament. She tells us Tom, my sister Eleanor’s 15 year old, didn’t like the Napoleon movie.
Mom asks my brother, How is the cat around the tree?. She is fine now. I hope she doesn’t drink the tree preservative. The cat is a 6 month old barn cat named Smokey. The cat is fine but the tree is crooked. It leans left.
Is it a political or gay tree? Not a straight tree or an informative newspaper here. I thumb through the classifieds, local and life sections.
Mom asks me, Did you see the one outside?.” I glance at the wooden cabinet near the dining table. I admire the silver reindeer and other decorations. I see an attractive reindeer family near the many tall old firs.
She finishes her coffee and toast. She offers me tea with milk and sugar. No coffee left in pot.
Hi, says my sister-in-law Irene prepares eggs and toast. We discuss a recent poetry reading event I attended at her law school.
Erik begs and later steals part of her toast while the cat rests on the young golden retriever.
Mom offers me a DVD, money, and coffee and holiday fair coupons. I walk home and pet their neighbor’s cat. I get a ride halfway home from Erik and Chris, buying lights and supplies.
Loneliness gels away.
December 13, 2005