Couplehood has it’s problems always and new relationships in the building phase have added burdens, with some bringing more to the table than others. Robbie and I have jumped some of the more important hurdles early on, family acceptance and such went off so smoothly as not to be believed and only a couple of “friends” have expressed disapproval. My mother adores Robbie, his Dad and I get along famously, my Son knew Robbie already so no issue there. On Thanksgiving I finally met his Mother. Robbie’s family Thanksgiving was at his mom’s now ex-2nd husband’s where we weren’t so sure I was welcomed as the guy is a bit homophobic so I made other plans to occupy my day until it was time to go to my family Thanksgiving.
Robbie was 1st at his former step dad’s place and he was shocked when asked,” Where’s Daniel, I had assumed he’d be with you”. So, before we left for Mom’s we stopped back together for proper introductions and all went quite well. What in the world, this is all just too easy, right? Good, one Holiday down!
As most readers of this column know, I’m Jewish and somewhat observant, Robbie is not Jewish, not particularly religious either, but he just loves Christmas! I mean out and out apeshit for the lights, snow, trees, presents, music, decorations…if it’s Christmas he loves it! One of the first concerns he expressed to me early in our relationship was whether Christmas would be an issue.
Fortunately he is informed enough to know that Hanukkah is NOT the Jewish Christmas, and he knew some of the story behind the celebration so it wasn’t like working with a blank slate. I appreciated his concern about my feelings. Coming from a mixed background and having certainly celebrated my share of Yuletides in my lifetime I’m no stranger to the Holiday, not by any means. Hey, the lights are pretty, and while some of the decorations are a bit much there’s lots of beauty in most of them and Jews wrote the best Christmas music!
Robbie drives a Suburban that he decorates with lights every year. I was teasing him about the lights not being quite enough. One day while he was working I surprised him by attaching pine garland and ornaments to the luggage rack, careful not to obscure the lights. Sneaky me, I created a Chrismanukkah theme with six pointed blue star ornaments. He was pleased with the outcome and loves it whenever someone comments on it, we’ve been stopped by strangers in traffic and a window rolls down, a passenger in the next car calling out,” I love it!”
Hanukkah is next week, eight days of food and lights and gifts. It will be Robbie’s first time experiencing it and I do plan on getting all my decorations and Hanukkyot (9 candle Hanukkah Menorahs) out and up and I’ll introduce him to latkes and sufganyot. And we will do our first Christmas together and with friends and family. It’s all about joy and love and good times with people we care about. It’s also about taking pleasure in the differences between each other, for the things that might otherwise separate us are the very things we should seek as means of understanding and appreciation of that which brings joy to those we love. Not that we’ll make a merger of the two celebrations, they are too distinctly different in nature and history, but there will be times when, due to the differences between the Julian and Lunar calendars, the two will overlap, loving and living under the same roof will demand, compromise isn’t the right word here, strategic thematic planning at times.
It’s love, it’s sharing what we love, it’s seeing the world through our Lover’s eyes. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad approach in viewing others no matter who they are in our lives.
Happy Holidays All!
Written by: Daniel
I never really got this saying before. I always thought I could talk about almost anything around my friends and family until this election year.
Every Holiday I would be witness to one relative or another getting offended by opinion offered which differed from their own. Usually with an alcoholic beverage in hand the yelling would start after the turkey was carved and end as we all got ready to leave. It wasn’t a fight like “I’m never talking to you again” but just a quasi-friendly difference of opinion. When I would ask about the nature of the spatting the Dalai Mama would reply that one should not talk about politics or religion with guests in your home, it’s just a good rule she would say with a smile and a wink. This year I would like to add sexual orientation to that list.
It was absolutely amazing how many people ‘unfriended” or “unliked” or “unfollowed” friends they had for years over this years political subjects: A mormon running for office, a black man as president, the freedom to marry acts introduced by many states, women’s rights and lets not forget how the rich “screw” the rest of us. This election seemed more like a circus act then a choosing of the best person to run the most powerful nation in the world.
I made the mistake of bring up a few of these topics on Thanksgiving. I found out really fast who is a racist and who is a sexist or both for that matter. Which on many levels had me wondering how we all grew up together? I began to ponder whether or not my position in the social service field leaves me a bit more accepting of others? Unlike many other people in this world I allow others to differ in their opinions from my own, I wish I was allowed the same courtesy.
I will tell you lesson learned I will stay clear of politics, religion and sexual orientation at the Christmas table because there are just things you don’t talk about with guests.
Written by: Rachel Sorensen
It’s A Wonderful Life
Okay, I didn’t win the lottery, so maybe life could be more wonderful and since everybody knows this movie, some of us line by line by heart, this is more a personal reminiscence than any kind of review, with apologies Mr. Capra!
I’m just guessing here, but I was probably about eight years old when my parent’s black and white console Zenith first presented me with “It’s A Wonderful Life”. Prior to this my favorite annual viewing was “The Wizard of Oz” usually around Easter and intro’d by none other than grown up Dorothy Gale. This was new, okay…old…but new to me. I was as hooked on Capracorn as Rimbaud was to the Green Goddess!
Just like Oz, my perceptions of IAWL changed with each annual presentation with maturity. As a child, Beulah Bondi scared me about as much as the winged monkey minions of the Wicked Witch of the West. My attitude towards the tramp Violet Bick softened over the years as well. And Mary Bailey, well what was there never to have loved about Donna Reed? (has anyone ever created a drag persona based on her?)
Before Ted Turner got a hold of it, along with other nefarious Cable TV types, IAWL aired annually on Thanksgiving night, CBS. Our family was always together for the Bird Day and watching the film together was part of our tradition, or at least I watched while the family watched me. It seems I’d developed a pattern. The scene that opened the floodgates of my tears concerns the Druggist a young George Bailey worked for as Soda Jerk and delivery boy. A terrible mix up has occurred, poison accidentally put in pills…Mr. Gowan receiving news of his soldier son’s death…confronting George and…here it comes…boxing him on his bad ear…I’m tearing up now just writing about it. THIS IS IT! I start weeping and it morphs into outright sobbing and throttling paroxysms of wailing and I’m out of control, I survey the room and all eyes are on me, have been on me the whole time, I’m pretty sure my Dad and Brother have a wager going, everybody watching me watching IAWL to see if I’ll cry on cue!
Oh and I have tried, how I have tried, even bought a copy to watch in the off-season, but no luck, the aversion therapy a total failure, in fact the psychosis increased, now I begin blubbering from the first, building to the eventual crescendo! So I’ve given up, it is what it is and always will be.
A debt of gratitude to whomever opted out of the Thanksgiving traditional airing of “It’s A Wonderful Life” and a sparing of being an object of mirthful derision for family gatherings.
Happy Holidays All!
Written by: Daniel