Home for the Holidays

Rather than myself, I would like to share my sister Carrie’s point of view of our family Christmas. Enjoy the read and some photos of the decorations throughout my home; all this is done for my nephews.

From Carrie:

All of my good friends, at one time or another, have experienced it. They all still speak of their experience with a misty-eyed reverence, hoping with eager intent to be invited back. But this event is not for the weak of the heart or for the rigid waistline. Yes, folks, it is time to put on the elastic waistband, for I give you now a guide to surviving . . . (pause of exalted apprehension) the Czajkowski Holiday Dinner.

Mom and Dad’s holiday dinners are rivaled by none! The display of food, warmth, and entertainment (mostly, this is where Dad comes in) is almost frightening in its magnitude.

The day starts (well, our day starts; Mom’s day started weeks before) with a wonderful assault of enticing, smelling, roasting beast. You are greeted with a hug and kiss and are directed to some type of appetizer; this could be chips, it could be a cheese ball, but the thing to keep in mind here is to be moderate and save room. Trust me; this will come in handy later. Dad has you covered with the offer of a beverage and a point to the fridge in the garage (and usually a ‘and grab me one while you are out there’). If you are lucky, he will beguile you with a joke or two early on, but usually, he saves his best material for dinner.

At this point, the family is catching up on the events of our lives. Each is trying to inject some dry or not-so-dry humor into their passages. The sound of some type of game will feed the background. The occasional question will be thrown Mom’s way about the seasonal specialty, lam cake, chocolate balls, or what have you.

The anticipation builds as Dad carves the main course. Some try to sneak a bite, but their swindle doesn’t affect the bounty. Then it truly begins. The dishes of delight seem to appear out of every orifice of the kitchen. They roll forward onto the dining table and unfold into a splendor like you have never seen. It is like magic.

Everyone joins the table. Trust me. You don’t need to be asked twice. Dad says grace, and everyone starts digging and passing, passing and digging. Mayhem ensues. Eventually, everyone settles into his or her plate of goodness. Not much talking happens here; just lots of eating, seconds, thirds, and just one more bite. Slowly, the talking starts again, and usually lots of laughing. Talk about a food buzz; look out. About this time, Dad rolls out the jokes. Whether the jokes are in good taste or bad, Dad’s delivery is impeccable. I couldn’t remember a joke to save my life, but Dad has a million of ’em.

By now, the pants start to feel tight, and a nap sounds delicious. Then it begins again. The desert. Not one, not two; about eight hundred different deserts are usually delivered to the table. You think I exaggerate, but nay, I do not. Everything you could have dreamed of in the realm of sugary goodness is displayed before you. I ask you, how do you stop? You give into it. Finally, you hurt, the floor calls, and you go to it.

In about ten minutes, Mom will ask if you want anything else. Maybe a Twinkie? It is painful, but for a minute, you consider another pecan Sandie; they are so light and airy.

The day winds down in a number of ways, including going to a movie or renting a good family video, like Basket Case or the Dawn of the Dead trilogy. But one thing is certain: you will leave full, happy, and with a plate of wonderful leftovers (and maybe a little disturbed, depending).

Why do I share this story? The analogies are simple: every bit of food and humor here is the love and strength of my family, and it is presented freely and in abundance from my parents to us all. My friends were lucky enough to have enjoyed this splendor once or twice in their lives. I have enjoyed these events my entire life.

I know how lucky I am.

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