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.