Blast! Miserable weather! Here you are again, chilling me through and through.
Drat! Nearly slipped on a patch of ice.
You there. Yes. You. I see that sly grin that you’re trying to suppress. Don’t you dare laugh at me!
Oh, the wind cuts my vision, nearly blows me into a fence.
Bah! Who needs Christmas anyway? Who are all these carolers that sing to the mountains? Old St. Nick can’t hear you!
I’m braving the arctic for what? Allspice. For my pumpkin pie that I’ll eat alone! Again!
I have my cranberry sauce in a can chilling in the refrigerator, and my small Cornish hen baking away in the oven. It’s all I can afford with my Social Security. As much as I’ve worked, $300 a month just won’t do. My husband Mel, who’s dead now, paid off our house of fifty years, yet I still have to pay taxes on it at the end of every year!
America has gone down the drain right along with its values.
Speaking of values, Mel and I raised our three sons right, but they stopped visiting me. They never call. Never leave a message on the answering machine asking, “Hey mom, are you dead yet?” This I’d accept over silence.
Finally, I’ve made it to the neighborhood store on the corner. Neighborhood stores are always on the corner, it’s an unwritten rule. The doors open to receive me as a young lady greets me. Every time I come here, she always has those awful dreads sprawled about her head.
You know, when I was coming along in the thirties, those hairstyles weren’t acceptable, no they were not!
Ah, here we are, Allspice. $5 for this small container! What is the world coming to?
You know back in the thirties, spices were a song and a dance. Gas was 10 cents, bacon with the rind was 25 cents a pound, and oh, the bag of Russets were bought by the bushel. Now those were the glory days of grocery shopping. You never broke the bank.
I make my way to the checkout counter and I wait approximately fifteen seconds. How do I know this? My watch of course!
Back in my day, customer service was at its finest. I never had to wait for service, the employees were always on standby.
I call the attention of the lady with those deplorable dreads. She says, “I’ll be right with you”.
Another fifteen seconds!
Finally, she scans my item; her name tag reads, Shaniqua. What a preposterous name! I can’t even pronounce it.
In my time, Sue, Anna, Mary, May and Jane were popular, more suitable names.
My total amount adds up to $5.75. I hand the cashier a twenty-dollar bill and she retrieves my change and places it in my palm. I slide my change back to her and ask her to count it back to me, I don’t like mishaps. Besides, cashiers in my time always counted back my money with the bills all facing one way. I stand there until she does what I ask, and walked briskly out of the store.
Back out in this wretched weather again. I shrink into my coat and brace myself against the onslaught of this terrible wind that is kicking up fresh snow into my face.
Wiping my feet on the Welcome mat, I fish out my keys, insert it into the lock and let myself inside. The warmth of my fireplace greets me and immediately I feel the need to meld into my favorite leather Lay- Z- Boy chair.
This is what I did with Mel, how I miss him. I sigh and move over to my message box. Empty. Just like the day before.
I matter too! Doesn’t anyone understand that?! Why should I be left alone? Does no one really care about me?
Well, who needs people anyway? They are nothing but a disappointment! They always leave when it’s convenient for themselves.
It was me who bathed them every day, me who lotioned and powdered their behinds. Me who nurtured them and took them to their football, basketball, and hockey tournaments! And what do I get in return? Nothing.
I turn and look through my blurred vision at the wall clock. Five hours until Christmas morning.
Fine, I’ll eat by myself.
I fall asleep in the middle of my bed.
The next morning I wake up to a blaring alarm clock. I slap it until I hear blessed silence. Squinting, I see it’s eight in the morning. Something strange is in the air. Did I leave the bird in the oven?!
I scramble out of bed, shove my feet in purple plush house shoes and scurry toward the kitchen. Something colorful catches the side of my eyes, and I find a perfectly decorated Christmas tree with my three sons standing there looking sheepish.
My mouth falls open and tears slide down my cheeks.
“Merry Christmas mom!” they sing in unison.
They all surround me in a group hug which makes me sob even more.
“Mom, we made breakfast.” the first-born lamented.
“Yeah, we thought you deserved it after raising us. You served us when we were but tykes and it’s time we gave back to you.” the second born said.
“Actually, we’re all here because we’re guilty. We feel guilty about not being here for you. We let our lives get out of control and we’ve neglected the only mother we ever had. We’re sorry, mom.” the third born stated.
“Thank you! Thank you!” I said through hitched sobs.
“And no worries mom, we will all be spending Christmas with you. Our wives and your grandchildren have been busy late into the night preparing Christmas dinner. We’re going to bring everything to you.”