Home for the Holidays

Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Bill Earngey

Dec. 27, 2007. Packed yet? Okay, then how about a checklist? Really? And your dogs have vet reservations? Sorry. Yeah, but it does sound like your folks' new house is awfully, very big.

  Oh, this year you all, all of you all, are going over the hill and through the woods to grandma's ... uh, your brother's in-laws, parents' house?

  Aren't they the ones who came for your brother's wedding but not to it? Yeah, the ones who got so hammered at the reception they ate dry cat food off the counter, thinking it was trail mix. Sure, it did say Meow Mix. Hmm, And colorful?

  Well, good luck. Truly. Easy now, it's just an expression. Twelve hundred miles? Both cousins? And your mother? Of course she's his mother, too, also. Got it.

  At least you'll be going south. Oh. North. To Minnesota. The North Star State -- in Hibbing, Bob Dylan's birthplace. On Lake Superior? Alright, at Lake Superior. Yep, that would be near Canada.

  Hey, here's a joke about Minnesota: Two guys are shoveling knee-high snow in December. (Lemme finish.) One guy asks the other. What are you doing this summer? The other says, if it falls on a weekend, picnic.

  Yeah, real nice talking to you, too. Wait a minute, look at the bright side, it's just two, 600-mile days. Seriously, that means 12-hours-a-day of driving, leaving you eight hours to sleep, and four hours, ouch, not so loud, please. Couldn't she just use a big cup?

  Hello? Hello? Good, you're still there. No harm intended here. It's the picture forming, that's all: like Dylan says, "you're gonna be in trouble before you set your suitcase down."

  Talking crazy? And you won't be, after driving 1,200 miles with your nerve-twisting family, just to walk into a nest of cat food snackers?

  And your uncle Tex? Ah, Mr. All Hat And No Cattle? You're kidding -- and his son Bobbie, the cross-dressing, aging high school football star? With his third wife. Nice name, Zelda. A professional. Okay, no polite question there.

  Change of subject. Okay, okay, a quick one. All of you, dogs included, Tex, Bobbie, mother, cousins and Zelda, in your '96 Chevy Suburban?

  Sorry. Sorry. Chieu Hoi. Really? Yeah, you're right, kind'a. It's sort of Vietnamese for "I surrender," but literally it's "welcome return."

  Sweet? Ooh. Even though we're divorced? Only for 10 months. Okay, but I'm flying there. Bye.

  Oops. Hang on, let's hear from Dylan one more time: "stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow, things should start to get interesting right about now."