The holidays at our cabin by the sea is usually a primo time to kick it back, reinforce family bonds and strengthen ties with friends even if it means I have to share some seriously delicious cuisine whipped up by my bride.
I’m extremely lucky because the only thing she requires of me is that I stay out of the way while she bakes, fries, boils, chops and stirs with one hand whilst wrapping packages with the other.
Do I contribute more than placing a manly digit directly on target when she requests backup for bow tying? You bet.
I am tasked to make sure that the dogs get time to do their outside “delicates” and give each other proper recognition sniffs since they haven’t seen each other for 10 seconds.
This is way tougher that it sounds. Have you ever tried to stage vital doggie bladder expulsion exercises to coincide with the half-time of critical NFL showdowns?
How about four, same day, playoffs with two of them coinciding broadcasts?
Every stud couch referee knows that the furious punching of the remote control to keep up with the scores and highlights during commercial breaks is a grueling challenge. Add neurotic mutts to the equation and a guy could get so spaced that he could start missing the garlic/French onion/nacho cheese dip by hurrying his scoop moves just to accommodate the curs.
It doesn’t help much either when two of the curs are human.
Last season I made a minor miscalculation and figured Willie and Turk had finally let their opinions cool over their political differences and candidates. So after an intense pre-visit briefing and somber vow to behave I invited them over for some screen time.
To say the least, it didn’t go well.
Jane has a very strict rule when W.W. and Turk are fussing at each other. She doesn’t want them in the same state, much less anywhere near our property line. I can’t blame her because when those two old boys work up a snit, the Hatfield and McCoy feuds seem like a finger pointing pout session between Alvin and the Chipmunks.
The boys didn’t make it to the end of the first quarter.
This time around we stayed with the our tradition of spending the day together enjoying an old fashioned homemade feast and calling family members from coast to coast to share updates and family gossip.
It was a primo event mainly because Turk and Willie were unexpectedly called out of state for a short job.
I should have let sleeping idiots lie. Did I? Nope. I figured that since there were some important games during December and we had a superfluity of frozen leftovers, I’d give the guys a call and see how things were going.
Turk was back in Homer and had just finished repairing and winterizing his boat and was ready for some time off.
Willie had also returned to his cabin but was still snorting fire over having to settle for a bowl of Grape Nuts and skim milk on T-day in North Dakota.
When I broached the possibility of warmed up goodies, football, and some adult libations at our ‘stead, both somberly avowed that they would put their political differences in a deep freeze over the Yuletide and looked forward to hanging at our cozy abode.
I gravely recapped the commander-in-chiefette’s attitude toward squabbling and both repeated a blood oath to acquit themselves with decorum.
I advised them that blood wouldn’t be a problem. Stopping its flow might be if they shot their mouths off. They assured me that they’d raise hell only if my dog Howard passed gas when the food was served.
I reminded them that we tracked the last incident to Willie.
They reiterated their pledge of peace.
There was only one more hurdle.
I opened the valve on a box of fine wine and ran the proposition and pledges by my wary spouse.
Her response was to the point.
“Nick, if either one of those two testosterone-soaked cretins start a political, in fact, any kind of argument in this house, I’m going to make sure the only thing they’ll be good for will be singing off key high soprano during welcoming ceremonies at remote tourist atolls. Easter Island would be a good start. Are you feeling me?”
I gave them her answer.
Women are wise. December has been peaceful so far. My buds have decided to watch the games at separate adult emporiums to ensure their baritone.
Of course, if they need me, I’ll be their stand-by designated driver unless it is Christmas Eve then all bets are off.
It’s our anniversary. I’m a baritone. I want to keep it that way.
Besides, after sharing 38 years of the purest love and devotion a man could wish for, where else would I want to be?
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org where he is relishing a political free zone for the holidays.