1. My Nana's Cooking & a Dog Named, Duffy
My Nana is an "okay" cook, but the holiday tradition wasn't in the over-cooked lamb and mint jelly that she made, but rather in the fact that no one on this damn planet should ever be subjected to that nastiness.
We all had a way of staring at it before we took a slice of burnt, stinky meat and gelatinous, green sludge and placing it on our plates. The only saving grace for us cousins was Duffy, our grandmother's, sister's overweight German Shepherd. You see, our Aunt Shirley fed this dog everything, including ice cream. He was the type of dog that stepped into a room and you noticed. Not because he was so stinking cute, but because of a deep-seated fear. Not the fear of having a large dog around small children, but the fear that if he got close enough, if he touched you, even if for just a bit, you'd be "forever unclean."
Either way, Duffy's ass was our disgusting lamb savior. We took turns stuffing that shit into napkins and tossing it to him under the table, and all I can think of now is, "Oh man, I miss the hell out of that crazy moment!"
2. My Aunt Carol's Cooking
Speaking about the bad food makes me think of the opposite. I don't know what kind of special magical food crack my Aunt Carol adds to any dish she cooks, but her potato dishes will make you lose your ever loving mind.
Leftovers? No such thing when she cooks. We will eat until our stomachs want to burst from the food baby that is ready to hatch. Imagine a bunch of people rolling around on the floor because it hurts so good. Yeah, makes me consider moving home. What's on the menu, Carol?
3. The Weather
I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss the snow. Having snow days, snowball fights (even though they hurt like a bitc... well you know), building snowmen, snow angels, sledding, ice skating, or even just watching it from the warmth of your house through a window.
All the people that deal with snow every winter are probably rolling their eyes and I get it, because trust when I say I don't forget how snow can suck, too. How dangerous ice can be, or how gross it can get when it turns dirty, dark grey from cars, or waking up earlier to defrost, scrape, or dig out your car can ruin any sane person's day, but when you don't have it, you do wish for it, just once.
4. Wacky Nana Gifts
That's right. Nana makes the list twice because she was utterly ridiculous when it came to gift giving in the past. While it annoyed us when it was happening, I miss it. Strangely, over the years, she has somehow gotten slightly better with present purchasing. I give the internet all the credit, but as a kid, two years in a row, mind you, she gifted me a bright neon orange, crocheted poncho, you know, because one is never enough.
And, I swear to you, it looked exactly like this Barbie's version, except my fridge was made up of acrylic fluff that was multi-colored like the sprinkles on a cupcake. Also, I'm sure that same version of this hat was gifted to many of my cousins over the years. Just ask Allyssa, Lauren, Gianna, and Crystal. Now that she is getting older, and her arthritis is slowing her crocheting crazy speedy fingers down, a small, very small part of me misses the hilarity in her creations, and I miss so much of Christmas pasts.
5. My Family & Friends
But most of all, I miss my family and friends. Most that know me know that I was born in Washington, D.C., but raised in Maryland. I don't regret moving to Los Angeles, but the flip side of that is that I miss everyone daily, but more so during the Holidays. To my sister, Tameka, niece, and nephew, all my aunts, uncles, and cousins on both my Mom and Dad's side, and elementary, middle, high school and college friends in D.C. and Maryland, and even more family in Ohio, my Nana in North Carolina, my aunt and uncle in Qatar, my Dad, Anne, Isabelle, and my very missed younger brothers, Munzer, Elisée, and sister, Ophélie that live in France. And to my Odyssey Team/Family who lives in just about every state. Merry Christmas. I miss you. I love you, and I feel so mushy I could burst into song at any minute...Oh wait, I already that!