For September Teresa Royer


Dear Meg,

Sorry to complain, but I really need to vent. Every year, this makes me so depressed. I used to love everything about the holiday season! Now, it’s a time when I find myself hoping to become sick so I won’t have to attend Matt’s family’s Christmas. I get nauseous just thinking about it.

We haven’t spent Christmas at home in ten years! His parents insist on keeping their traditional, Christmas, morning, breakfast and won’t consider a different day. The rest of his family live close by, so it’s no problem for them. Our kids can’t ever have their own traditions here or be in our own church’s Christmas program with their friends.

When Matt’s family’s celebration is over, we have a five-hour drive home to look forward to. The only places open on Christmas are gas stations. I can tell you from experience that canned spaghetti and chips make a poor Christmas dinner!

I love Matt to death, as you well know, but his family drives me insane! Have I ever told you about his Uncle Waldo? Imagine he is a walrus, and you won’t have far to go. He is massive with brown, wrinkled skin, a small, bald head, a broad, flat nose, beady, wide-set eyes, and a thick, bristly mustache.

As soon as he sees us he bellows, “Hey, sweet thing! Come and give Uncle Waldo a big hug!” He always hugs me too tight, for too long, and asks embarrassing personal questions. And he always parks a tin can nearby in which he spits tobacco continuously during our entire visit. Once, while he was off filling his plate, Matt sat in his chair, absentmindedly reached for the remote, and stuck his hand right into the can!!!!

And there’s Aunt Penelope, who has big orange hair and whose Christmas outfit consists of a skintight, lime green, polyester jumpsuit, tacky, sequined, palm tree earrings, and so much makeup that she must use furniture stripper and a putty knife to scrape it off with.

No matter what the topic of conversation is, she knows a way to do it better and doesn’t stop talking until she has explained in painful detail just how to go about it.

I mustn’t forget Matt’s Sister Jay. She hates me. One Christmas morning, I was sitting on an end of the sofa; her husband was at the other. She carefully sat her hot drink down on the coffee table and slowly backed onto the couch between us. When she realized I was sitting beside her, she jumped up, as if hot coals had burned her bottom, snatched up her drink, and sped into another room.

Speaking of burning coals reminds me of Jay’s demonic children. They’re always whining or throwing fits, and they love to kick you in the shins or pinch whatever part of you is within range.

Last year, “Angel” deliberately poured maple syrup onto my lap and ruined my new dress. Jay just smiled and said, “She’s learning to express herself. Isn’t that sweet?”

I wanted to give her a sweet slap…

I have to go, Meg, can’t even stand to write about it anymore.

Pray that I get sick.

Your desperate friend,




About Jim Hilton

Just having a good time writing about our little adventures.
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