Monday, December 27, 2004


Last night I returned home from what had to have been one of my best holiday trips to Cleveland in several years. I had been apprehensive about going home because I thought my family would in some way bother me like they normally do at least once every visit. I have to admit my apprehensiveness was for nothing. I had a wonderful visit. The best day of the trip was Christmas.

Gifts: I know the day isn’t about getting gifts but I got everything I asked for – socks, underwear and a new white button down shirt, you can never have too many of any of those things. This year my uncle surprised me with a gift as well, a margarita mix set. He got my sister a pina colada mix set and my brother a margarita mix set also. The fact that my uncle is a recovering alcoholic and has been in AA for the past 12 years made me question his gift choices but who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth. Though my mother did ask if he thought all of her children were boozers because he got us all something alcohol related. He just laughed. That meant yes.

Perhaps the most interesting part of our family gift exchange came when my brother Jimmy Jam gave my uncle his gift. First, everyone was very impressed that my brother presented my uncle with a gift in real wrapping paper. Apparently Jimmy Jam, age 29, wrapped the gifts for his work Christmas party in the Sunday comics paper last week. We were all were pleased he had taken it up a notch with the wrapping paper. As my uncle began to take the wrapping paper off the gift we all laughed. It was a box of Honey Smacks. We all thought it was a gag gift because my uncle often eats cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner (like me he can’t cook). But no, my brother told him to open the box. There was no cereal in it. Instead there was plastic bag with a very nice white sweater in it. Jimmy Jam explained he had run out of gift boxes so he figured the cereal box would do.

Food: Every family has traditions of their own. Way back when I was in fifth or sixth grade my mother gathered her three children around and asked us what we wanted for Christmas dinner. No one was really interested in turkey, dressing and traditional holiday fare. We wanted barbecue ribs. Since then we have always barbecued outdoors in the cold of Cleveland on Christmas day. This year I don’t know what my brother did to that grille but he put his foot in those ribs and my mommas’ macaroni and cheese, potato salad, baked beans and greens left nothing to be desired.

Conversation: Christmas at my house is full of more jokes (and sometimes very raunchy ones) than a marathon of Def Comedy Jam – the first two seasons. This years highlighted topics of humor included my mothers weight gain, my sisters hair, or rather her need for it to be done, my brothers girlfriend who is the same age as my mother, my uncle now being rationed on how much food he can take home and my lack of a boyfriend. My uncles words, “if you don’t bring a man home soon we gonna think you perpetrating.” A faux gay - *clutch the pearls.* I am the only one of my mothers three children who has never seriously dated anyone and never brought anyone home for a holiday. I reflected on that several times during the day. I actually have a family that would be welcoming and embrace myself and a lover but I can’t seem to get one or keep one.

Jesus Christ: I suppose it was his birthday but there wasn’t very much mention of him. For the first time I felt so very strange all week long watching the news, going to malls and whatnot and hearing so much talk about Christmas and Christmas shopping but hardly if ever heard anyone mention Christ. For all the morals and values this country seems to want to emphasize as of late, I didn’t feel anyone anywhere truly put an emphasis on the birth of Christ this year. I know in my heart though that Jesus is the reason for the season.

Yesterday I sat on the couch with my mom before I left and we had a great talk. I told her how happy I was that I came home and how I enjoyed spending time with my brother and sister. Not once did we bicker. She said her kids were all finally growing up and I’m still her baby. Yep, I’m still my mommas’ baby.

Next stop on the holiday tour - Starr returns to the City for New Year's Eve!