#357 Christmas Eve.

Can you believe it’s Christmas? We wait and wait for months for this, and then it comes and it doesn’t feel like it’s supposed to be here. And yet, here we are.

Mama’s side of the family came over to their house tonight for dinner and dominoes. Before they arrived, True Grit inspired Ben and Daddy to go out and shoot his pistol. I’m proud to report that after a few tries, my husband shot the roach spray can off of a stump. He’s the champion of my heart.

How freakish is this? Aunt Beck is little, but not an elf.

Growing up, everyone gathered at Meemaw and Peepaw’s, mama’s parents, and there would be these hours-long domino tournaments that involved intense concentration. Every man present was expected to participate, whether they were any good or not. Peepaw had souvenir back scratchers from almost every state in the U.S. all around the walls of his game room, and a little bitty bird statue made out of petrified poop. It was called a ‘turd bird’. It’s true. They would shut the door and holler and laugh, and my grandfather or Uncle Charles most always won. Tonight, Daddy, Ben, and Uncle Charles let Aunt Beck in on the usually men-only tourney. She and Daddy won (though Ben accused Aunt Beck of cheating).

MaeMae is very serious about healthy eating, so she brought her own laundry basket full of health food (lettuce, walnuts, cantaloupe) in case mama didn’t make anything suitable for her diet. She saw the photo mama keeps of Elvis on the refrigerator next to the Christmas cards and exclaimed “What beautiful eyes! That hair! Those lips!” — if you knew these women, nothing about the picture on the fridge or MaeMae’s admiration would be out of place.

Afterward, we took a cruise around Glade, down Dog Leg Road and past Mr. Tew’s to see his very inspiring Christmas light display. We got my reluctant father to sit tight while we drove through town to see the Mason Park lights—the very best in town.

We’re home now and it’s bed time. Ben and I are going to be sleeping in my brother’s room since I never merited a queen size bed in my tenure here. I can hear Santa on the rooftop. Better go. Merry Christmas, friends!