Keith’s Christmas: Part 1. 

The pitter-patter on the roof was not that of reindeer hooves nor the sounds of branches bouncing off the shingles during the late December wind-storm. No, it was the sound of Uncle Keith drunkenly adjusting the satellite dish because, “I’ll Be God damned if I’m gonna sit here and listen to my fag Nephew go on about Bernie Sanders without the Game on!”. The subjects may have changed, but the prose remains the same: Copious amounts of alcohol lubing the the gears of a close minded cursing machine. Uncle Keith was famous for it.

Aunt Nancy was in the Kitchen cooking and nibbling on a Port wine cheeseball. Meemaw wouldn’t touch it because drinking is a sin. “All the alcohol is cooked out, Ma!” Aunt Nancy yelled, obviously fiendin’ for a cigarette. Meemaw quickly yelled back, “You can’t cook the devil out… it don’t work that way!!”

Mee maw continued to mash the potatoes while Aunt Nancy checked the oven for the rolls and wondered what has been stopping her from sticking her head in there. Was it the kids? “Hell  no.” she thought,  “If I was dead all that would mean to them is they would have to cook their own Sunday dinner. The only time they come to see me is when there is Food involved or when one of the cousins gets drunk and winds up up T-boning a guard rail somewhere in Alabama.”. Was it her faith? Maybe. That makes as much sense as anything I guess. I’ve always found that to be weird-God wants you in Heaven but not a second sooner than he intends. Whatever, if it keeps Aunt Nancy around I’m fine with it. She has been my favorite since I was a kid because she let me cuss in front of her. She’s the reason that the smell of cigarettes mixed with White Diamonds perfume comforts me and should be made in to a candle.

The men are all in the living room at this point watching the game. Keith, the one who wanted to watch the game more than anything is passed out drunk in front of the fire-Or he’s dead. No one knows, no one cares. Aunt Joyce walks in carrying a plate of sausage balls.. her “World Famous” sausage balls. Yeah, Joyce-World Famous!. You haven’t gone farther than the God damn grocery store in 30 years but I’m certain that some Sheikh from the Arabian Peninsula is rock hard for your dry ass sausage balls. The men wash them down-some with beer, and the worst of the bunch with Sweet Tea. That’s how it tends to go for southern families: You are either a RAGING DRUNK, or a Boring-ass Tee-Totaling bitch. “If you’re having a good time, wouldn’t you want to remember it?”,” It tastes nasty!”, “Jesus is always watching “, “I used to blackout and try to drown cats” are excuses these people will make. I just don’t understand it. I don’t think I have a substance abuse problem per-se, but growing up in this environment and living in the Bible belt.. I mean, it’s either developing an affinity for a buzz or having to experience all of this with complete lucidity. I choose the former. Every single time.

The younger cousins are running around the house fighting over who gets to be what wrestler in the Bedroom cage match they are about to have. One that will most assuredly end up with several of the kids crying. If not from a suplex gone wrong, then definitely from the ass whipping they will receive for knocking all of the jackets off the bed and exposing the pack of Cigarettes 15 year old Kimmy had hidden in her pea-coat. You’d think no one would’ve known who’s cigarettes they were seeing as the entire family could buy a Villa on Mars with Marlboro points, but unfortunately for Kimmy, they were menthols. No one from the family had smoked menthol cigarettes since Uncle Keith got back from a business trip to Atlanta and informed everyone that Black folk smoked them. Per this logic, Uncle Keith must have seen a black man take a shower too.

Dinner was then served buffet-style and the women took turns complimenting the presentation and assuming the quality of their respective dish which held up the line to the dismay of all the men-especially the drunk ones. Once everyone had fixed their plate and found their seat, Aunt Joyce noticed that no one had put a dent in her Cherry Fluff (Pink Stuff) dessert. The logical explanation was that people were waiting until after their meal.. the Pink Blob took up a lot of room on the plate and wasn’t so appetizing when accidentally mixed with the mashed potatoes. I wish that’s how Joyce interpreted it.

If she did, maybe Uncle Keith would still have Both of his eyes.

To be continued……



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