Chapter Eighty-Five: Ma’am and Auld Lang Syne…

                                          Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
                                          And never brought to mind?
                                         Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
                                         And auld lang syne.
We have heard these words every New Year’s Eve for most of our lives. We sing them or mouth them and most don’t know what they mean. We pop the bubbly at the stroke of midnight and blow into those OBNOXIOUS party horns whilst wearing a silly hat or tiara on our heads.
In the background plays the familiar song. Depending upon where you are celebrating, a band plays it, the radio,  or TV, all play it as well. It is the national anthem for New Year’s. A traditional sound that everyone around the world has heard at one time or another. Auld Lang Syne.
                                     For auld lang syne, my jo,
                                     For auld lang syne.
                                   We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
                                   For auld lang syne.
                                  And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
                                 And surely I’ll be mine!
                                And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
                               For auld lang syne.
Most of us only know the first verse and those who may have had a few add their own lyrics. If you see the original lyrics, it looks like a drunk person wrote it.
But once dissected and studied it takes on a whole new meaning. I watch Confused Husband with his crooked party hat askew on his head, singing Old Lame Guy as he thinks the song is called. After all of these years of hearing him sing with such gusto: For Old Lame Guy, I don’t have the heart to tell him.
Eyes closed he belts it out: “For Old Lame Guy, for Old Lame Guy… His words are jumbled but not due to alcohol consumption. The song is of Scottish descent, the words are difficult to decipher, to begin with.
                                         We twa hae run about the braes
                                        And pu’d the gowans fine
                                       But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot
                                      Sin auld lang syne.
                                    We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn
                                    Frae mornin’ sun till dine.
                                   But seas between us braid hae roar’d
                                 Sin auld lang syne.
                                And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
                              And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
                           And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
                          For auld lang syne.
                        Should old acquaintance be forgot
                        And never brought to mind?
                      Should old acquaintance be forgot,
                     And long, long ago.
                   We two have run about the hills
                  And pulled the daisies fine;
                 But we’ve wandered manys the weary foot
                Since long, long ago.
               We two have paddled in the stream,
              From morning sun till dine;
             But seas between us broad have roared
           Since long, long ago.
          And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
         And give us a hand of yours!
       And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
      For long, long ago.
I listen as others mess up the lyrics as well. But the meaning is clear. Everyone is wishing happiness, health, to those near and far. Celebrating and honoring the past, looking forward to the future. Depending on your year, some are happy to see the New Year, while others are bittersweet and melancholy.
Auld Lang Syne is Scottish for: “Times gone by”. No matter where you are from, or where you reside, whether you are out at a fete, or alone eating Chinese food and watching Ryan Seacrest who replaced another tradition, Dick Clark.  We are celebrating and honoring “Times gone by.” Hoping for peace, love, happiness, and health for the coming year.
Happy New Year to you and yours…

Chapter Eighty-Four: Ma’am and Fa La La La La…

The holiday season is upon us once again. Literally the day after Halloween the Christmas commercials start. Thanksgiving is like the ugly middle child, pretty much ignored by the fanfare and sparkle of its elder and younger sisters. Halloween and  Christmas respectively.  Overnight, the shops have holiday decorations and items in their store windows. Christmas Tree lots appear out of nowhere. There is definitely a shift in the atmosphere. Parents begin threatening their children with: “Do you want me to tell Santa?” “Santa is watching if you’re naughty or nice!”.  Choirs practice their Christmas “extravaganza” shows. There are live manger plays, Hanukkah celebrations, Kwanza celebrations you name it. We become inundated with holiday “STUFF”
There is also a lot of pressure on us to continue traditions such as; baking, decorating, cooking, shopping, etc…. Everyone attempting to recreate a Norman Rockwell holiday. Ours looks more like Christmas Vacation.

As the years’ progress and more and more chicks fly the coop, I decorate less and less. I bake fewer amounts and find the holidays bittersweet. There are no more children all nestled snug in their beds, while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads. Instead, there is a surly teen who grunts and only has visions of video games, and his next meal. He only speaks when he wants food or money. Long gone are the days of threatening with: “You’re on Santa’s naughty list! You’re only getting coal in your stocking!” Now the threats are: “I will disconnect your Play Station!” I will block the internet!” of course there are empty threats just like the ones with Santa and he knows this.
I force said moody teen to go Christmas shopping with me, with the promise of food.  He walks in front of me like a hostage and I am his kidnapper. Out and about, everyone is in a hurry. I watch parents with sweethearts in strollers and envy that bygone time-until the angelic quiet child in the stroller, turns into Linda Blair spinning head and all, begins screaming bloody murder. For a brief moment, I am grateful for a quiet sullen teen, albeit he has the facial expression resembling that of a dental patient receiving a root canal. For now, I will cherish the silence.
With bags in hand and the promise of food, we quickly make our way to a little café. On our journey, we meet an angry elf on break from Santa’s workshop. Apparently, he is having a bad day! He is hard to take seriously between his pointy ears and shoes, not to mention he is puffing away furiously on a cigarette and screaming into his cell phone about his in-laws coming into town a week early. No, he is not the posterchild of merriment one thinks of at  Christmas.

We sit in the crowded café with all of our bags and all of the holiday stress. Of course, the Angry Elf sits right next to us, practically in my lap. He looks our way,  and over at the grouchy teen, then nods to me one parent to another. Yes, the Angry Elf is “woke” to the situation. I watch Mr. Moody sitting across from me,  inhale his burger like he has been lost in the jungle and hasn’t had a solid meal in months when realistically he ate about two and a half hours ago. I realize he is about to speak and wait with bated breath for this  Christmas miracle. For a fleeting moment, I compare it to how the Three Wisemen must have felt before the grand announcement of Jesus’ birth. I hold my breath, the anticipation building. He points to my plate and asks if “I am done with my fries?” I slide my plate across the table and sigh.

The Angry Elf is now joined by what seems to be a reindeer or moose. This unidentifiable animal also seems to be intoxicated. He is hiccupping loudly,  his antlers are askew on his head, he flips his tail to the side as he plops down in the chair across from the Angry Elf. His hooves are touching my shoes. He reeks of alcohol.

The two characters from Santa’s workshop are commiserating about the little brats and rude parents they have to deal with. They are also talking smack about Santa and his attitude. Yes, even Santa’s family has issues. The Reindeer/Moose orders a beer and I chuckle at the absurdity of this! Angry Elf is cramming nachos into his mouth like there is no tomorrow. I hear bits of: “Santa, lazy, Mrs. Claus is a ho did you see how short her dress was?” From the description, it sounds as though its a version of North Pole Gone Wild! or The Jerry Springer show travels to The North Pole!

We sit and eavesdrop on the Claus family problems. I see a smile begin to form on my son’s face. He looks at me and I look at him and smile back. Now Angry Elf is talking about Jingles the Elf who I assume is his sidekick. According to Angry Elf, Jingles ate all of the candy canes that were for the children who came to visit Santa. They had to send  The Gingerbread Man to CVS to buy more. I want to add: “Because he can run, run, run that Gingerbread Man!” But for the sake of teen will not.

Reindeer/Moose comments on how fat Jingles has gotten during this gig.  He also talks about, during the company Christmas party, Jingles ate most of the buffet items even the garnish, which according to Reindeer/Moose, the garnish should have been Rudolphs. (I am assuming that Rudolph is a live animal because who else would eat garnish?). Angry Elf’s mouth, full of nachos nods vigorously at this declaration. Now on his second beer, Reindeer/Moose talks about what a “Loosey Goosey” Mrs. Claus is. He whispers about a tryst between her and The Abdominal Snowman. I feel like we are listening in on a Christmas soap opera.

A group of carolers enters the café, they are dressed in Victorian garb. They are “fa, la, la,la-ing” between the tables. Angry Elf tells them to: “Beat it!” They scurry away. Finally, Angry Elf and Reindeer/Moose head out. My son and I burst into giggles. We discuss the ridiculous dialogue that we overheard and laugh. If it took an Angry Elf and a drunk Reindeer/Moose to get my kid to have a conversation with me, I will take it!

Moments later, a chubby elf (who based on his description, I assume is Jingles) bursts into the café, he announces:  ”Somebody call security! Santa just punched Frosty the Snowman!”





Chapter Eighty-Three: The Earl of Confusion…

Whilst sipping his cup of Earl Grey, Confused Husband decides that perhaps he would like to have been an Earl or Duke. I tell him the only chance he has, is to perhaps become the Earl of  The Big Sandwich or the Earl of Confusion. He is sitting next to me suffering(as he says)  through one of my British shows. Yes, I am an Anglophile. With the worst British accent I have ever heard, he tells me that he likes the fanfare and how everyone is waiting hand and foot on the  Dukes and Earls. He stares longingly at the t.v. as though he is remembering bygone days of yore when he was an Earl. In a melancholy manner, he sighs.

I inform him that perhaps in his next life, certainly not this one! I also share that these titles are to be passed down through heritage. True, he could be knighted by the Queen, but he would have had to do something really fabulous for that to happen. Now he is sulking, as though it is all my fault! I say: “Don’t you  think I would have loved to be a princess, countess, or duchess?!”

The Earl of Confusion continues with his diatribe of all of the reasons he should be an Earl. He feels that a title like this suits him. I tell him that I highly doubt a true Earl sits upon his couch in his boxers sipping out of a Farter of the year mug. (No, I do not find this mug at all humourous!). As though he is now an Earl connoisseur, he informs me that Earls are more down to earth than one may think. They too may be sitting upon their throne in their knickers, drinking out of their favorite goblet. I highly doubt this, but just let him continue with his pipedream. After all, who am I to burst his bubble?

I suggest that he now be dubbed Earl Grey. He ponders this, and then says: “I don’t want to be named after a tea bag!” I am trying to watch my show and deal with this. I am about to commit a crime. I suggest that he is about to become the Earl of Missing…