31. Yuletide in Florida

31. Yuletide in Florida

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!

Yuletide in Florida

There’s nothing that makes you more insane than family. Or more happy. Or more exasperated. Or more… secure.

~Jim Butcher

’Twas the week before Christmas, and at JFK

My sisters and I flew off to Del Ray.

We’ve traveled each year since two thousand and one

To visit our aunt and sit in her sun.

We tell her each time “We want nothing to do

But sit by the pool and hang out with you.”

And yet on arrival, agenda in hand,

Our aunt told us all of the fun she had planned.

Monday we visited her friends to play cards,

Their condo was gated, the entrance had guards.

They’re serious players, we anted up nickels

They served us egg salad on rye with some pickles.

On Tuesday a bird walk where we saw a flamingo,

On Wednesday a free film, On Thursday, yes! Bingo!

But Friday’s the night that my aunt liked the most

A party for forty where she starred as the host.

She hired some helpers who knew what to do,

The house looked like Christmas when they were all through.

And what to our wondering eyes did appear,

But a wet bar set up with wine, scotch and beer.

The hors d’oeuvres were plated and the room was all set,

Guests were arriving, all people we’ve met.

The Kellys, the Weinsteins, the Dailys, of course,

And Patty, the neighbor, who just got divorced.

Then Morris, who had to replace his left knee

Topped by Henry who just replaced hip number three.

Enter Myrna and Hilda and Rosie and Gwen,

There seemed to be far more women than men.

The men had on shorts and a Polo or Tee,

But the ladies were dressed as if diamonds were free.

Their eyes how they twinkled, ’tis Botox for many,

While others had crow’s feet and wrinkles aplenty.

The bedroom TV was playing the game,

So we lost half the men, which was kind of a shame.

But there was a piano and this guy, Tommy Farrell,

He played all night long and taught us to carol.

There were cheese balls and salsa and hummus and dips,

Scallops surrounded by sweet bacon strips.

Chicken piccata, roast beef au jus,

Cheesecake and cookies and tiramisu.

Strawberry daiquiris and wine, white and red,

Went into my stomach and straight to my head.

By now the clock said it was way past eleven,

Going to bed became my kind of heaven.

Those octogenarians sure knew how to party!

I started to dance with this old guy named Marty.

He cha-cha’d away as the music grew loud

While I quietly slipped away from the crowd.

In all it was such a successful affair,

But as I fell asleep I whispered this prayer:

Auntie, at eighty you’re still pretty cool,

But next year can’t we sit by the pool?

~Eileen Melia Hession

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