Sunday, December 26, 2004

"Thy Candles Shine So Brightly..."

Humor: binding us together, a stronger adhesive than love, perhaps, if only for a brief moment; bringing social civility, in a normative sense, to a family so often consumed by emotional altercations--never physical, always painful, dim.

Tonight, like in Christmases past, distress took a holiday. For some years now, Christmas, one of two times during the 365, has acted as a catalyst of peace, a time when my family, acting almost as a single entity, functions--well.

We arrived at my aunt & uncle's semi-new home, a magnificent grey in the pale full moon. The lights inside tried desperately to penetrate the night, making their mark only feet from the window, the darkness being entirely too strong for the likes of mere electricity.

After the pleasantries (how is life/school/health/family/etc.?), we exchanged gifts--our material attempts to prove who loves who more--and quickly went to work on the hor d'oeuvres, quickly devouring the shrimp and pizza dip. Most of us ate so much pre-dinner, trying to eat meal was a joke, a sick, sadistic joke.

Post dinner, after conversation & wine (neither of which sparked my interest), the group attempted Trivial Pursuit: 90s. Apparently, none of us lived through that particular century, or, if we did, no one bothered to pay attention. Interest soon dwindled, the team in first voicing complaints against our hasty retreat. To their chagrin, the 90s went back to it's metal box, carefully folded in six, to be examined again at a later date--after the decade makes our textbooks, perhaps?

The can lights in the infinately high ceiling flickered in and out at random.

The "adults," of which I dare not include myself, had their coffee, a feeble attempt to mask the taste of the wine in my opinion. My cousin, whose attention span lasts long enough to be expensive (God, do I love the kid), introduced the table to Catchphrase, an electronic "password"-esque game in which you attempt to get your teammates, i.e. men versus women, to say the work on the tiny LCD screen. (Saying any form of the word is, of course, grounds for a beating.)

The highlights of our Catchphrase game:

My mother: "You know, the thing you cut meat with...the meat knife..."

Answer: steak

My grandfather, whom you have to know to get this joke: "The little things that I hate the most..."

My cousin: "Blacks?"

Answer: mushrooms

My mother: "The thing that runs your computer..."

'aunt-in-law': "Modem."

Answer: modem

My grandfather, looking sly: "Queers put these in their butts."

All of us: "..."

My mother, laughing: "Gerbils!"

All of us: *laughing*

Answer: gerbils


Our laughter, beaming from one and all, must have been audible to the neighbors, the state, the universe, God. Points became extinct; who could lose?

When the game ended, due in large part to fatigue, gifts and food were packed, coats retrieved, and parting pleasantries exchanged (be safe/say "hi" to X for me/be good/etc.), a simple, solemn hush briefly overtaking the crowd.

My aunt turned out the kitchen light; the can lights flickered.

Annie Proulx once wrote that "love [sometimes] occurs without pain or misery." And sometimes a family, whose normal state is disarray, can laugh and forget their quarrels, pains. And sometimes their light, the glow of their laughter & love, can defeat the night, shining brightly--a beacon of hope--out the window, down the drive way, and into the darkness. Brilliant. focused. eternal

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?