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Farr: Entertaining Holiday Moments

12/22/09 7:55AM By Bruce Farr
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(HOST) Commentator Bruce Farr observes that when holiday expectations meet holiday realities, the unintended consequences can be highly entertaining.    

(FARR) Well, the holidays are upon us again and - especially here in New England - we all like to imagine them as a joyous time, filled with mirth, merriment and boundless goodwill.  After all, there are turkeys to roast, trees to trim, gifts to wrap and open - the whole gamut of festivities. In my experience though, I could probably count on the fingers of one hand how many holidays have actually turned out the way they were planned.  

Down in the Berkshires, where I grew up, there was that memorable Thanksgiving when my sister called from college to say that she'd be arriving home with her new boyfriend, Harvey, in tow.  

As she informed us, Harvey - who was a PhD candidate in Philosophy - was also a sometime vegetarian.  As sis explained, that meant that good old Harv would be perfectly happy to make a dietary exception and gorge himself on the family turkey.  But, because he was a bit squeamish about animal carcasses, she wondered if Dad could possibly carve the bird away from the table.

Needless to say, the family muttering that went on prior to their arrival rumbled through our old New England homestead like distant thunder.

When turkey day arrived, however, and we were seated at table, Dad had us all roaring with laughter when he announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm about to carve the turkey so, Harvey, if you don't mind, please avert your eyes!"

And then there was the Christmas Eve my parents decided to host a gala party at the house and urged us kids to invite several of our friends over to mingle with the family.  

I think my folks envisioned it as a merry group standing around the fireplace singing carols, sipping mulled cider and noshing on Swedish meatballs.  Things quickly headed south, however, when my high-school pal, Roger, who'd had a few too many eggnogs, began reciting from his trove of bawdy limericks. After several verses detailing the misadventures of that well-known lass from Cape Cod, my father suggested it perhaps might be time for Roger to head home for a long winter's nap.

Poor Roger donned his coat and scarf to leave when my father noticed that he was making his way to the front door cradling a bottle of 15-year-old scotch that he'd snatched from my dad's liquor cabinet.  I have to admit I would never have dreamed Dad could move as quickly as he did, springing to the threshold like a football running back and inserting himself between Roger and the snowy, snowy night.  

What followed from that point can only be described as a good old-fashioned tug-o'-war, with dad straining and pulling the bottle on one side and Roger yanking it back on the other.  My mother stood by in disbelief, when, after a few to's and fro's, the combatants tumbled through the door and off the steps, planting themselves neatly in a snow bank.

As my mother dusted off my sputtering dad with a whisk broom, she vowed, "Next year, we're going to midnight mass!"

So, all that said, the question is: am I still looking forward to a wonderful holiday season?  You bet, and I hope you are too.


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