Friday, December 21, 2012

The local standard for holiday parties was raised by several notches last night when our hostess, la belle Nonnie, greeted us in a *new* Louise Brooks bob, brandishing twin bottles of Moët Chandon. I admired the new do, and was proudly told that no animals or human hair were slaughtered to produce this wig – it was created entirely from recycled soda bottles.

The cabaret singer hailed from Boise, Idaho and as proof of this exotic provenance, she pointed to her wrist corsage. It had been FedExed that very morning by her mother, still busy conducting the Methodist choir back in Boise. We nodded sagely as if a wrist corsage was proof positive that one’s origins were Northern and/or Midwestern and far from New York. She sang beautifully, and danced irrepressibly. Irrepressible dancing could be found in several nooks and niches.
Did I drink champagne and nibble on Gavin’s delicious smoked salmon? Did I converse with old friends by flickering candlelight and drink more champagne? I did, and it was an excellent counterpoint to a long day that included 57 emails between yours truly and my siblings regarding my father’s hospitalization for: congestive heart failure, pneumonia, water on the lungs (is this the same thing as pneumonia?), anemia, even though he used to have the opposite of anemia (polycythemia vera), and refusal to drink water that does not include scotch. Why, you may ask, does the Aged P’s hospitalization require so many emails on the part of his offspring? Because it takes a minimum of that many emails to organize (browbeat in some cases) siblings to get to the ancestral home and look after Revered Mother, who in her Belgian stubbornness* has thus far refused to get sufficient help in the home…hence the crisis.
The Aged P is improving, but will not,alas, be available for caroling on Christmas Eve.

Not to belabor the point, but this family seems to be developing an unfortunate tendency to medical crises over the holidays, just when they are most inconvenient. It makes one pause. And pause again.

*According to Revered Mother’s younger brother, stubbornness is a specifically Belgian trait for which she cannot be held entirely responsible.

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