A porcelain bowl to my uncle and aunt in Canada, and a large ceramic plate to my second-cousin who got married this past year. There was, of course, a holiday-inspired reason.
I’ve never seen my second cousin (I think the correct term is actually first-cousin-and-a-half; he’s the son of my uncle's daughter the brilliant mediaeval scholar). Though I was invited to the wedding, making the long trek from California to Martha's Vineyard to be among three hundred well-bred strangers was too daunting a prospect. We know each other, and we know of each other. He is a Harvard chap, film maker, super intelligent. Facebook friend.
Just no real-world contact yet.
But I have actually met my uncle and aunt in Canada.
OUT ON THE FRONT LAWN HOWLING AT THE MOON
Every year they call and ask when Savage Kitten and I will visit for the holidays, or visit them in Massachusetts for summer. They are yearningly sincere in their invitations.
But it will probably never happen; each year it is more unlikely than the last.
Not because of the split between Savage Kitten and myself (even though that would necessitate two separate rooms), nor that the Christian hue to the feast conflicts with my own personal hashkofo, but primarily because right around the holidays I turn into a werewolf.
I am not holidayish.
In the slightest.
Bah humbug .
It’s about the kids.
My cousins are all happily married producers of offspring. Children ranging in age from shrieking infant to young adult. Multiple young adults.
I am their parents' age. Technically that makes me an old fart.
The prospect of being introduced to several younger persons as 'uncle Atboth' frightens the crap out of me.
I do not think of myself as 'avuncular' in the slightest, and would vastly prefer to be the disreputable male relative whom we never talk about in front of the little ones.
Not the kindly and respectable kinsman whom we are glad to include in our warm family gathering this joyous season, but the rowdy eccentric who jacked a police-cruiser and spun wheelies in the town square, the bad man who invited a bunch of cheerful strippers over on Christmas night to drink egg-nog out of your finest crystal and sleep in your living room.
Really, I'm just not uncle material.
I don't feel like it.
Please hide your teenagers - they are a bad influence.
Dogs and cats like me. Either they recognize a kindred spirit, or they are just being patronizing. Children are the same way.
It's probably the smell.
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Labels: Bah humbug