I admit to having a Winnie-the-Pooh phase in my younger years. I'll even admit to not really being out of the Winnie-the-Pooh phase, although the stuffed animals are in a box in the attic. And my father, usually desperate for ideas for holiday gifts, one year gave me the set of Welches Winnie-the-Pooh jelly glasses. Empty glasses. I can still hear him yelling at me, "You know how much jelly I had to eat for those!!"
I actually like the holidays. Our family, when we were whole and young, were always in our best form during the holidays. Aunt Celia hosted the Thanksgiving dinner in Portland, and on the drive there I was on the look-out for Ruldoph along the I-5 corridor. My brother and I played pool with our dorky cousin, and we tried to understand the intricacies of the pachinko game in the basement.
Christmas, too, was always very special in an Inspector Gadget sort of way, with my parents trying to keep my brother in the dark about what he was getting. One year, he systematically opened all his presents, and then rewrapped them. I watched in horror, the same feeling I have when I watch old CSI episodes late at night; the good doctor performing an autopsy. The following year, Mom didn't label any of the gifts, and then couldn't remember what was what. That was the year that my brother got a t-shirt with rainbow hearts and I got blue parachute pants.
My parents divorced in 1985. Aunt Celia died at 38 in November 1994, just two weeks before Thanksgiving. The holidays are more divergent now, but they aren't any less whole. These days, the holidays mean I get to wean myself off my asthma medication and hop on a plane for the cleaner, happier west coast. I get to see friends and family I don't normally get to see anymore. I get to wear a gortex jacket instead of four layers of wool, and I get to ride the light-rail, go shopping and dancing and hiking, and do all the things that make me feel like a whole person, rather than an underpaid research machine. This year in particular will be fun because I'll get to see two of my best friends in full pregnant form. And since they are my skinny friends, I will smile inwardly, knowing for a few months at least, I won't be "The Fat One."
Where was I?
The complete set of Winnie-the-Pooh glasses are with me here in GradShitTownVille, reserved for very special occasions. This evening, while shopping for ingredients for a chocolate pecan pie, I came across one of the greatest things about the holiday season:
Ah yes, my love for egg nog is freakish and horrible, and I've been known to splash a bit of the nog on my cereal in the mornings. This year my concern was that my love for nog would conflict with my new-found hatred of corn syrup. But no worries, the local store was clever enough to carry Horizon Low Fat Egg Nog, ingredients including egg yolks and tumeric (for color), but definitely no corn syrup. But this first glass of nog to bring in the new year isn't served in a Pooh glass. The Pooh glass is too reserved, too oppressive for that first gulp of thick, yellow heaven. This evening, in a 9 oz Gibraltar Tumbler, I marked the begining of the holiday season. The dizzy dog, snuggled in her blanket, munched on rawhide in happy approval. And with the first glass down, I ready the Pooh glasses for many future deposits on my arterial walls.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Let us raise our Pooh glasses and toast to all for which we are thankful.