I spent Christmas Day with my best friend Anna and her extended family. I love bizarre holiday gatherings, and this one fit the bill perfectly.
Anna's mom is one of those beautiful older ladies who should be on TV commercials with her handsome husband, selling old folks crap like denture creme, motorized, bendable mattresses, Rascal scooters, funeral insurance, fiber, Ensure, the Clapper and long distance phone services. They make old age seem really appealing.
Alas, the mom is apparently starting an early salute to senility. She gave me a bottle of clam juice for Christmas.
You read that right. Clam juice.
Seems to me, that gesture puts her about 2 degrees away from pushing a shopping cart full of crap up Main Street, mumbling to herself about alien abduction.
Anna's daddy is a minister. He'd make the perfect movie minister, like a cross between Charlton Heston and Billy Graham.
Anna's husband Brad has a very sweet brother from Houston named Greg, whose lifestyle has left his mind very similar to Ozzie Osburne's. He's sweet and harmless, but his brain's been fried to a crisp. He was there with his wife and her kids, whom I dubbed Morticia and Wednesday.
Morticia is in 9th grade and totally Goth.
She's about 5'3" and weighs 67 pounds, black eye liner and all. Her skin is the same shade as skim milk, and she wore a casual black ensemble with a skull and assorted satanic runes printed on the shirt. A pair of black, 40-pound Doc Marten jack boots completed the look.
She did not talk. Mostly she stared. For variety, she'd stiffen up and stare at the floor.
The other daughter was a pudgy 6th grader. She's just starting to tiptoe into the Goth look, but her face was still human colored and she sported no obvious satanic or death themed accessories, piercings or tatts. Yet. The juxtaposition of Anna's minister daddy and perfect pastor's wife mom next to the Addam's Family kids in the group photos should be priceless. I want to frame my copy.
Before dinner, Anna's dad read aloud a passage about Mary, Joseph and the archangel Gabriel, and the miracle of the immaculate conception, yadda, yadda, yadda.
The Goth girls listened in shock, like wicked witches from Oz being squirted with a Super Soaker filled with ice water.
Then before dinner, we all formed a circle and prayed.
Alas, my prayerful reverence was distracted by watching the Hell Sisters, standing there twitching like Linda Blair about to spew pea soup.
The grand finale was the cake Anna's mom brought for dessert.
It was a white sheet cake with, "Happy Birthday Jesus" written in chocolate icing on top, with a single white candle stuck in it. Oy vey.
Even I, as a lapsed Catholic, thought the birthday cake for Jesus was over the top, and it's hard to outdo a Catholic in terms of religious schmaltz.
I was sitting across from the Satanic sisters when the candle was lit and we were all prompted to sing, "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.
The Goth tots' reactions were priceless. The pre-Goth pudgy one just sort of giggled, but Morticia stared straight ahead in stunned silence, with ice crystals forming on her aura.
Then we all started eating our 15,000 carbohydrate gram dinner, which was fabulous.
I'm scared to check, but I'd guess my glucose level is about 450 now, four hours later. It was 86 when I left my house to go to Anna's. Hello ketoses, goodbye toes!
After dinner, I felt sorry for Morticia, who was sitting in a catatonic state on the couch, no doubt hearing the voices of Satan and Jesus bickering in her head.
So I asked Anna to find her a book on vampires or other horror so she could entertain herself. Anna found her, "Twelve," a fairly dark, creepy novel written by a young kid out of NYC. Morticia found solace in the pages, and we all felt better for it.
Anna's 7-year-old son, Andrei, was in charge of the video camera. Methinks his youthful cinema verite camera style will lend itself perfectly to the event.
Whew. What a day.
Tomorrow is Christmas in Austin with my family of origin.
My nephews are extremely All American boys with no Gothic tendencies. No clergy will be present. Entertainment will have to center on my 91-year-old mother's sherry inspired running monologues, that skip between 1942 and 2003, sans
This may require a couple of stiff vodka and clam juice cocktails.