Casey and his younger brother turned the first day of Christmas at their parents' house into a fighting family feast. According to Casey, his sibling whacked him in the mouth with a bottle 'for no good reason.'
Not knowing how or why the transgression occurred, and not bothering to inquire, Casey promptly took offense.
The interaction rapidly evolved into a full-fledged, smack-down brother-battle amid presents and paper beneath the partridge in the pear tree. After which, Casey stepped on two turtledoves on his way to the emergency room to get stitches in his upper lip.
Now, here we are, a few days after Christmas and you're sitting at your kitchen table sinisterly sipping coffee. Your house is a wreck, full of relatives absentmindedly, thus conspicuously, engaging in obnoxious habits that you can no longer ignore. You have, just this moment, found yourself guiltily sympathizing with Casey.
I know you're actually contemplating, this very morning, the very first time your sister-in-law feeds her 4-year-old son some 'num-nums,' snatching the spoon out of the oatmeal bowl and, because a good hostess would never want to make her visitor ill-at-ease, stabbing your own self in the eye with it.
Or perhaps, like Casey's brother, you feel the Noel a providential time for provocation, and find yourself plotting to incite your mother-in-law to arms, by putting the XS sweater she gave you, as a backhanded hint, on the dog. Thus, you will at last have an excuse to give her what you so desperately believe she deserves this joyful season.
But halt! We're only up to the French hens and until the drummers finish drumming, it's Christmas, by golly; the season of peace on earth and goodwill toward your flea bitten, freeloading, good for nothing, deadbeat cousins.
And we have so many other necessary things, besides kinfolk, to fight this time of year. We fight holiday stress. We fight holiday blues. We fight holiday pounds. We fight the holiday gimmes. We fight holiday fatigue. We fight holiday traffic and crowds. We fight about how to hang the lights and we fight about how to take them down.
That said, you must acknowledge that you simply don't have the military resources to successfully wage, against your clan, the war that you've carefully detailed in your head.
Which in no way means you can never have a chance to get even. There are other holidays suitable for settling disputes. Nurse your grudges and bide your time. In seven months the swans a-swimming will have long flown the coop and the royal nutcracker of all fighting holidays will arrive ...The 4th of July.
Brooding from now to then will aggravate that yuletide anger into a nasty boil. Alcohol, heat and explosives will disguise the intentional misuse of all three as unfortunate mishaps. And it's the perfect time to tag everyone who ails you with a bottle rocket to the buttocks.
o when you finally kiss Aunt Delvia good-bye, hug Uncle Ferrol out the door, and pat your nephew Eddie Dean on his impetuous little head, smile sweetly, wave enthusiastically, and gush about how you look forward to seeing them all this summer on the 4th. You'll feel like a lady dancing instead of a maid a-milking.
Casey's younger brother says he still owes Casey three more stitches before the two are square and even on childhood injuries dealt each other. May I suggest that Casey's brother save, for the 4th of July, the surprise Casey has coming to him during the 12 days of Christmas?
(Lucy Adams is a Columbia County native and McDuffie County resident and author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. E-mail comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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