Friday, November 26, 2010

Hope everybody had a fun Thanksgiving! We weren't up for doing any major traveling this year, so we just made a run up to Washington D.C. and cruised through a few museums, and then ate Thanksgiving dinner at Old Country Buffet (we managed to get there right before the stuffing pan got cleaned out, so, whew! Crisis averted! It wouldn't have been pretty if I'd had to eat Thanksgiving dinner with no stuffing.)

My sister and I were talking on the phone today and realized that we both have high expectations of holidays, which often leads us to feel sad or let down. I was feeling sad on Wednesday hearing people talk about what they were going to cook, who was coming to their house, etc., knowing I'd be eating dinner in a restaurant. But most years it's just not feasible or desirable to sit in a car or on a plane for hours for every single major holiday. So Todd and I have spent more holidays alone than I would like.

My theory is that since my sister and I grew up with lots of extended family around, it just doesn't seem like a holiday to us unless there are a lot of people crammed into a house all talking at the same time and drinking coffee and playing games and teasing each other. When it's just you and your husband staring at each other across the table (or in my sister's case this year, her and her husband staring at each other while the kids played games on their phones) something feels wrong.

On the other hand, when you see people sitting and eating their restaurant turkey dinner absolutely alone--and she and I both saw people who were all alone--then you realize how much you have to be grateful for, even when things don't turn out exactly the way you pictured they would when you were a kid and thought every holiday would always be the same forever and ever.

Speaking of family, I ran across something today that took me back across the decades in a flash. April Winchell runs a site called Regretsy, which spotlights some of the worst arts and crafts from the crafters' sales site Etsy. She and her readers regularly make me snort or choke on whatever I'm drinking...they are seriously funny people.

April linked to her list of horrible holiday mp3s the other day and I just discovered a little gem on the list called "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas" by a guy named Yogi Yorgesson, who was the alter ego of a comedian and radio personality named Harry Stewart in the 1940s and 50s.

When I was a kid, my grandpa Martin would make 8-track tapes for me and my siblings. Sometimes he would tape records for us, but other times I think he'd just tape whatever he found on the radio. I can't remember much of what was on the tapes, except for "I Yust Go Nuts" and some Italian song that I actually heard at an Italian restaurant a few months ago--the first time I'd heard it in 30+ years.

"I Yust Go Nuts" is like a brain worm, or it was for a kid who memorized a lot of random things, which I did whether I wanted to or not, because my brain just latched onto stuff. To this day, every now and then I'll think "And just at that moment someone slugs Uncle Ben" or "I step on a skate and fall over a tricycle."

If you listen to the song--and why wouldn't you want to listen to such a gem?--at the bit where he sings about stepping outside for a cold glass of beer, that's where Grandpa faded the song out and skipped over the part where the guy drinks eleven "Tom and Yerrys." So in my memory, the song goes "I think I'll step out for a cold glahh uhh bbb..." and then picks up again when the kids are jumping on his belly. I guess Grandpa didn't want us little kids to hear about some Swedish guy getting hammered on Christmas Eve, although he didn't have any problem with us hearing about the ensuing hangover on Christmas morning. What a funny little memory. Thanks for letting me hear the whole song, April!