So we went over, sang our "new Christmas carol" to irrationalrobot when he greeted us, then ... had a very nice ham dinner, opened presents, ate dessert (homemade black walnut icecream and 100% from scratch pumpkin pie), and played Bohnanza. We enjoyed lowbrow family humor (talking about Zoo Doo lawn ornaments and the mystery of who makes them over dinner, laughing heartily at the incredible crudeness of a Mad Lib parodying "The Night Before Christmas" that involved the children "snug in their chairs/While visions of pasta mixed in their butts"), the four of us restrained ourselves when Papa "prayed for the souls of our boys in Iraq" (okay, I admit I did say, "And we should pray for the White House, since no one in there has a soul," but I thought that was restrained), we all agreed that nothing said Merry Christmas like Ming the Merciless, Ruler of Mongo (when Papa got old Flash Gordon serials on DVD), and we all pretty much ... got along.
When Papa left the room for a smoke, my brother and I quickly rehashed how we thought the night was going, and judged in a success. Thank God. I really want to not be entirely estranged from him, but it's difficult to try to establish a basis for interacting with each other when he lives a thousand miles away, never visits and never calls. He did get me my favorite Christmas present of all, though - a teakettle with a harmonica instead of a whistle in the spout - an incredibly thoughtful gift I presume was prompted by my brother but which I'm very happy about nonetheless (silly picture coming tomorrow).
And it's over now, and I'm glad. I told my brother and his wife how I felt like we were all actually functioning as part of a team during this visit, and he said I'd really been on good behavior, that he could see that I was really trying to get along with Papa ... and, um, we "kids" had kind of a warm fuzzy moment that was really nice if you consider that 10 years ago we were strangers to each other and everything we have with each other has been built up over the last five years.
There was one other really good bit about today, that happened while we were eating breakfast at Glo's. A youngish woman was reading to her friend out of a tiny book called Why I Like You, kind of one of those cornball little books you get as last-minute gifts. I sat there eating my breakfast, listening to her read almost the whole book, and it was pretty damn great. I especially liked this line: "I like you because when you're mad at me, I'm mad at you, too." Wish I could remember more of it ... I'll be looking for it at Anthropologie on Sunday.
Chipped ham and gravy on cheese biscuits for breakfast tomorrow. Games at 6, I'll be serving pot roast. See whoever shows up when you get here ... I've got a copy of Tigris to break in *shriek!* so don't be late!