The man with no hair who you see in the freeze frame of this YouTube video is my sister Heelya’s boyfriend Brian. He buzzed his head last week. He says it’s his new Chris Daughtry look. Joe filmed this little segment, among others, on Christmas day as we milled about our house cooking dinner and opening presents before Joe’s parents and siblings arrived for what would be a grand feast in the backyard. (To my family and friends back home in New York: yes we ate dinner outside under the carport in our backyard. It was warm and even a bit humid. Yes, I said humid.)
Before I explain the significance of this video, I should first point out the significance of yesterday.
Yesterday was my first Christmas together with Joe. Sure, it was our first Christmas as husband and wife, but it was also our first Christmas together, logistically speaking. I’m always in Western New York with my family and he’s always in Tampa with his, so the fact that we could celebrate under the same roof, much less the same state, was pretty awesome. I was so grateful for that.
Now, add PK, who also lives in St. Pete, and Heelya and Brian, who live in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and you’ve got a whole bunch of Kurps together for Christmas who might otherwise be scattered up and down the east coast. It was wonderful. Our house was loud and crowded. When Joe’s siblings arrived, followed by his parents and grandfather, it got even louder and more crowded in that colorful bustling warm-energy way. I loved it. Ain’t no Christmas without a ruckus. As I shimmied past pairings of people in the hallway and the living room, carrying trays topped with cheese and veggies, guacamole and hummus, I couldn’t help but think of my Nana and Papa’s Christmas Eve gatherings back home in New York.
(I should also mention that this was the first time ever that my mom didn’t spend Christmas with her parents. Nana: I know you’re reading this. I thought of you the entire night, and now that I have one Christmas dinner under my apron I can finally fully appreciate all those years you hosted Christmas Eve at your house.)
Anyway. Joe and I decided to set up a long table Last Supper-style under the carport in our backyard, which turned out to be a genius idea. My dad strung lights and my mom and I crafted pine and berry napkin ring holders out of garland. Joe fired up the deep fryer and from scratch made better mozzarella sticks and chicken wings than any bar and grill I’ve ever been to.
With my mom’s help, we cooked turkey and ham, mashed sweet potato yams and set out a salad bar. Rosey made corn casserole and Joe’s mom made lasagna. Oma supplied her signature chocolate butter cream cake and so many cookies the tray collapsed when we cleared the table. Three pugs attended the celebration: Cubbie of course, Uncle Homer (my parent’s pug) and Owen (Heelya’s pug), who sadly was suffering from a ruptured ear drum and spent the night with his head cocked lamely to one side.
But what about the video you ask! Surely you don’t care about my sweet potato yams and Joe’s divine mozzarella sticks. Well, if you haven’t played it already, you will see that earlier in the afternoon, when only my family was around, UPS pulled up to the house delivering a small square box while I was in the kitchen helping Brian mend his bleeding head. Joe, as usual, was running around filming random moments, so he happened to catch this one exactly as it unrolled.
Without knowing it would be delivered on Christmas day, Sara, who writes this blog, and who works for the Canadian lottery and who I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, mailed me a mug of Tim Horton’s coffee (my favorite and what I’m drinking right now) plus a handful of candy, including Joe’s favorite Smarties.
When I wrote Sara an email last night to thank her, she said she didn’t plan to have it delivered yesterday and that despite having to work a 12-hour shift on Christmas day, she did get to tell a dude he won a million dollars in the Canadian lottery.
“He HAD NO IDEA,” she wrote. “How awesome is that on Christmas???”
Funny thing is, as I’m typing this right now, I get ANOTHER knock on the front door. It’s the mailman dropping off a package from my beloved pen pal Lauren, who also lives in Canada and shares the same April birthday as me and who warrants an entire post that I plan to write soon. Oh, how I love my friends north of the border. I really, truly love them.
Lauren, I know you’re reading this. I’m signing off right now to tear into your padded envelope. And Sara, I know you’re reading this too. THANK YOU. To all my brethren who take joy in communicating via letters and packages shipped across thousands of miles: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and keep it up.
To those of who who don’t frequent post offices because you think stamps are outrageous and postal workers are disgruntled: Don’t bitch about the cost of stamps. Take pleasure in the fact that these services exist and that in spite of technological advances –– and Twitter and Facebook –– a good ‘ol fashioned piece of mail is as delightful and thoughtful as it was 100 years ago.