“But you’ll be home for Christmas, won’t you, darling?”
“No, you’ll be paying for me to go to Cancun with my friends or I’ll never let you see the grandkids — when I have them.” That’s what goes for a tight-knit family now.
There are bars in New York where you can pretend you’re back in Chicago, there are bars in L.A. where you can pretend you’re back in Colorado. There are bars in every state that cater to people who came there from other states. These places aren’t called “Mom’s” or “Dad’s” or even “Just Like Home.” They’re modeled after the bars where they hung out before they moved away.
Stan and Barbara were supposed to fly in from Phoenix, but there was a storm in Atlanta so they missed their connecting flight. They turned around and flew back home, then called to say they would never travel on a holiday again and that if they wanted to have such a miserable experience in the future, they’d just go skinny-dipping in a jellyfish tank, thank you very much. But everyone was welcome to come to their house on the holidays from now on.
Alan and Lindy drove from their second home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they live in the off-season and rent out in the summer.
“That way nobody robs us when we’re not there,” Lindy volunteered.
“But maybe they’re robbing your first house when you’re in your second one,” Fred said.
“It’s in a gated community,” Lindy said.
“Is that to keep you in or them out?” Haywood asked.
Gloria Wintwell came in from the kitchen and set a golden-brown turkey on the table.
“Doesn’t this look just like a Norman Rockwell painting?” she said.
Jim Mullen is the author of “It Takes a Village Idiot: Complicating the Simple Life,” “Baby’s First Tattoo” and “Now in Paperback.” He can be reached at email@example.com.