Classic Archive from the always humorous Carole Townsend
You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Christmas is upon us next week, and we will all be rolled, dipped and deep-fried in family. Relatives. Our “kin.” People with whom we share genetic material. Yes folks, it’s THE HOLIDAYS. You can’t avoid it.
I am of the firm belief that God crammed all the heavy-duty family holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) in at the end of the year on purpose. He figured that we’d have a good 11 months to forget the nightmare of the previous year’s holidays. I love my family, but I am two glasses of wine into this post, so we’re going to go with it.
My dad is 91 years old. The nicest thing he can muster at the Thanksgiving or Christmas meal is “I hope you didn’t screw it up too bad.” His table manners have become atrocious, and he insists on feeding my dogs from the table even though I ask him every year not to. His health is starting to decline, but he is a work horse, and we look after him as best we can. We noticed his eyesight was getting worse, and he likes to read every once in while, so we told him we would take him to an eye doctor at a eye care center to get an eye exam . He initially refused but ultimately allowed us to take him to the appointment. He ended up needing cataract surgery and he had to take ocular steroids for a little while after that. I hope he learned something. How a man can take his health for granted into his 90s is beyond me. Oh well. In the end he will be able to enjoy whatever time he has left reading some nice classics and some books he might have kept in his backlog. I’m glad he listened to us and went through with it.
My sister is two years older than I am. The last time she visited planet Earth was sometime on the early 80s. Every year, she volunteers to bring the legendary “green bean casserole,” and every year, she shows up two hours late with all the ingredients in a Kroger bag. By that time everyone has eaten, so she dutifully takes her Kroger bag of ingredients home and puts them in the pantry until next year. I have seen the same two cans of green beans every year since 1981.
She also insists on bringing her one-eyed Jack Russell to my house, although every year I ask her not to. The dog’s favorite place in the whole world to poop is on my carpet. He barks incessantly, and my 75-lb. mixed-breed mutt is completely and utterly in love with him. The entire time my sister is in my home every year, my huge dog tries to breed with her tiny dog, and it’s a bizarre, grotesque sight, very difficult to stomach during a meal. But hey, it’s THE HOLIDAYS, right?
The same sister is very into the occult, specifically, psychics and their alternate forms of communication. Last year she told me, as she passed the Christmas ham, that she had consulted a pet psychic to find out whether her pet cat Bear was mad at her. You see, Bear passed away about 30 years ago, and my sister was not with him when he crossed over into the Great Beyond. In all likelihood, she was out howling at the moon or stringing garlic cloves for a necklace. The psychic assured her that Bear was not angry with her.
My brother-in-law, God rest his soul, will not be joining us this year. When he was alive though, he never failed to show up for the occasion with his car fully involved in a four-alarm fire. No, I am not kidding. The car never died; it just seemed to catch fire every year in November or December. This brother-in-law is the one who always asked the younger children to pull his finger. You know exactly the one I’m talking about.
Then there’s the nephew who perpetually has his hand out. He always “forgets his wallet” or is running just a bit short. He has the art of mooching down to a science.
Oh, and let’s not forget my aunt, the one who has taken it upon herself to show me the error of my ways ever since my mother died. She’ll drop comments like, “Goodness, you are so brave to wear that color. In my day, large women usually stuck to black,” or “you really should tell your daughter that it gives boys the wrong idea when she’s allowed to stay out that late.” I have had fantasies about stabbing this one with a fork, too.
So here’s to the THE HOLIDAYS, friends. Love your family, try to tune them out, and have plenty of wine on hand. Just to be safe this year, I think I’ll provide plastic utensils only.
First, I am a mom and a wife. I have two great children, two awesome stepdaughters, a remarkable husband and two goofy, adorable dogs. All rolled together we make one big, messy family. It was a tough road getting here, but the blood, sweat and tears were worth it. We somehow all fit.
Having said all that, I am a writer. I love words. I love how they mean one thing to me and another to you. I love playing with them and, sometimes, aiming them at people and situations. Why? No, not to be mean, but to highlight the humorous side of pretty much anything. As long as you can laugh, you’re OK. When you lose that ability, life becomes something to be endured, not a joy to be devoured. I have been a freelance writer/reporter for the Gwinnett Daily Post for over 7 years.
I love to look at everyday situations, things we all know and have experienced, and point out the humorous side. That’s what I do in my blog, and that’s what I do in my book – Southern Fried White Trash – which will be published this year by hook or by crook. A publisher based right here in the South is looking at it now, and I hope and pray they dig the same humor that I do. If they don’t, that’s OK too, because writing is what I was born to do. This first book takes an irreverent look at how people come unglued and go absolutely crazy under stress, and by stress I mean weddings, funerals, family gatherings. Yeah, you know what I mean.
When you’re born in the South, you’re raised to expect certain things. You expect white shoes after the Kentucky Derby and before Labor Day, and that’s it. You expect “please” and “thank you” and “ma’am” and “sir.” You expect civility, dignity and propriety. What you get, on the other hand, is reality. Southern Fried White Trash takes a brutally honest look at real life vs. Southern expectations. If you live here, you’re gonna laugh. If you don’t you’ll probably still laugh, though you won’t always know why.
I was raised right here in Georgia, then went to David Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. After graduating from there, I wandered into the Vanderbilt elite before taking my sheepskin out into the world to conquer it with my wise-a** attitude and Southern spin on things. I enjoyed a successful career as a marketer for many years, and when I hit 40, I decided to throw all my energy into writing. At the pleasantly ripe age of 50, who I am now is the result.
I hope you enjoy a good laugh or even a pleasant chuckle. If you do, we’ll be great friends. Stay tuned on the progress of the book’s publication! I love your input, comments and observations. They make me better at what I do.