Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wrap stars and collard greens.

Well. Merry Christmas, y'all. Hope it's been a grand one for everyone. You can define "grand" however you want. Relatives talking way too close, high school kids looking bored and pleading under their breaths with throaty growls to be released from familial captivity, and grandparents taking an obscene amount of photos all count as parts of a grand ol' holiday. At least that's what I think.

So. Let's just roll real random, shall we? Don't mind if I do.

First, this:

My Small Group Delta med students sent me this sweet gift from Harry and David. I was super touched when I picked the box up from my porch. I received tons of well wishes from students current and former. And that was great. It was.

Yesterday the fun started with JoLai and Poopdeck coming in from L.A. and joining us at my house on Christmas eve. I just realized that the last three Christmases have included Grandpa and Auntie JoLai on Christmas eve. The kids now look for them which is kind of awesome. I'm super glad that they were able to come especially since last year Poopdeck insisted that he wasn't coming at all. This year there were no surprises--I knew my baby sis and Dad would be right here with us.


Wrapping gifts this year was easier than it was in 2012. Most of you know that Deanna was the designated gift wrapper in our family. Her craftiness made her like an expert gunman with a roll of paper and some tape. The edges were always smooth and the tape hidden. And so. I never learned to wrap presents. Why when I had Deanna?

Man. Last year wrapping gifts involved a lot of tears. Not just for me but also for my sister-in-law Francoise. She's wrap star, too, but still. The whole process just reminded us all so much of Deanna. It was hard to do it without her.

My lumpy, fat wrapping paper was hilarious last year. And what made it even better was that JoLai was with me. We cackled at our crappily aligned edges and patchwork saves for too-small pieces of wrapping paper. Lawd. I couldn't wait to pour us some bubbly wine and do it all over again this year. I even made up my mind that we'd wrap the gifts as horribly as possible just to get a good laugh and to prove that we're a hot mess without Deanna to rescue our gifts.

Y'all! You won't believe what happened. I held up my end of the bargain, man. I had the prosecco and the silliness. I made sure to do not one thing to improve in my gift wrapping techniques to add to the experience. Yes. I did my part. But that JoLai. Guess what she did? She shows up acting all regular. And THEN wraps the first gift.

What the . . . ?

Then she does this.

Hold the phone, man. These edges were clean. Rulers were involved to smooth out bumps. Dude. This was a Deanna-level wrap job I was witnessing. 

"What the heck! What's with this legit wrapping?" 

"I decided to step my game up and learn how to wrap gifts like Deanna." 

"Say whaaaat?"


"So does this mean. . . you're the wrap star now? And that you're stepping in for Deanna?"


My eyes widened. "Aww man. Well you know what that means. Ha ha ha ha." 

JoLai did know. She pointed to the couch where I happily leaped. Because when Deanna's legit wrapping operations were underway, I was relegated to labels and that's it. So up until that time I'd just curl up on the couch watching animated Christmas cartoons and sipping bubbly. 

Woo hoo!

And so. Gifts got wrapped perfectly and kids were delighted upon waking. It was all good.

Which reminds me. I am wondering how much longer the Santa dream will last. My explanations are gaining less and less steam.

Case in point:

Isaiah's Christmas list:  1.  WiiU game console. or Xbox One game console.

"You're not going to get either of those since you just got the Wii last year."

"Yes I can. If it's number one on my list I will get it from Santa Claus."

"That's not true. Santa checks with the parents to see if it's okay."


"Yeah. Like what if a kid asks for a grand piano and they live in a studio apartment?"

"What's a studio apartment?"

"Something too small for a big ol' piano. So yeah. Santa checks with the parents to see if the gifts work in the homes. So like Moms and Dads tell Santa, 'Oh, we already have a new Wii. Don't bring another console here.'"

"Well I know a lot of kids who get another game console even though they have one already."

"That's because their moms didn't speak with the North Pole when they called."

"So you told him about the Wii?"

"Yes, sir."

Erases #1 on list and replaces it with something else. And less expensive.

5 points for Gryffyndor, dude.

Overheard today:

Zachary:  "Why are the gifts from Mom and Dad wrapped with the same paper as the ones from Santa?"

Isaiah:  "Oh that's because Santa is so busy that a lot of the presents they just leave at your house without even wrapping them. It's up to your Mom and Dad to to decide if they wanna wrap them."

Zachary:  "Oh! So the Santa gifts are getting wrapped with the Mommy and Daddy gifts?"

Isaiah:  "Yep."

Zachary:  "Okay. That makes sense."


Maybe I did or did not say that to Isaiah last year when he asked me. Mmmm hmmm.


Dinner was at my brother's home and that was great. All the cousins. Laughter. Good food. All that.

Oh! And JoLai's new beau joined us. Yes! And he fit right in when Daddy and Harry started trashtalking about basketball. And he also seems really in to my sister in the best way which is really good.


And before you think I'm a complete loser, just know that what I didn't do in wrapping I made up for in other areas. Like making collard greens and macaroni and cheese.

JoLai was happy to pay me back for my lounging the night before. She lounged around and acted silly during my collard picking expedition. And was in her second or third post-breakfast nap by the time I moved on to the mac and cheese. Mmmm hmmm.

Hey! We even had both kinds of cranberry sauce. Ha.

Ha. Writing that just made me think about the top ten post on how my people "do" Christmas. Ha ha ha. If you never read that one, check it out for a chuckle. That was when I learned that a lot of things that I attribute to black culture are just Southern things. But then again, a lot of things are uniquely bits of African-American traditions.

Mmm hmmm.  Read that one.

Yeah. So the day was good. Tounces and Poopdeck did well and had only a few fleeting sunshowers. We welcome those because it keeps Deanna as a forethought and never an afterthought.

It was a happy day. I hope yours was good, too.

 Merry Christmas to all. And to all a good night.

Peace on earth, good will toward all o'y'all.


  1. Merry Christmas Team Manning! I'm happy to come here and bask in such loving and joyous family connection. Where she is, Deanna is smiling. Love.

  2. I re-read your top ten post. It made me laugh so hard it scared my daughter's dog. I made the real cranberry sauce about a dozen times this year. I have a can of sauce. I think I bought it while I was still married...a million years ago. There is dust on the can. I probably should throw it away. Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas. Have a wonderful new year too.

  3. I love reading all of this goodness. Yay for JoLai stepping up to become the wrap star and also for finding a gentleman with enough bone fides to bring home. Keeping up with that Santa myth is a chore, isn't it? It's sort of a relief when all is revealed although there is less magic.
    Thanks for sharing, sweet Kimberly and love from Lloyd.

  4. Love seeing all this. Keep well dear doctor.
    Love and merry

  5. Merry Christmas to you and yours. (And I have a fond spot for the canned cranberry jelly).

  6. I just re-read your 10 Ten Post. I am just happened to have Chow-Chow for the first time yesterday and I LOVED IT!!! Courtesy of my father-in-law from Memphis, TN.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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