Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Inevitable Holiday, Part 1: Sole Food

Note: The newspaper requested holiday themed columns from now through the end of the year. Why not put it in a handy, dandy format? This is the first installment...

Even though the aisles were decked with the hall-decking decorations long before Halloween, it is now -- with the onset of cold weather, snow, and Thanksgiving -- that we officially welcome the holiday season. And so in honor of this wonderful time of year, I would like to take the opportunity to introduce my readers to things they really already know in a little series I like to call “The Inevitable Holiday.”
I personally start feeling the stress of the holidays long before I need to, wondering how we’re going to get it all done, fit it all in, make it all special, and be holly jolly, by golly, all at the same time. My hopes in this next series of columns is to assure people (and mostly myself) that we’re all dealing with the same things this time of year. We’re not alone, and maybe if we realize that and all help out a little, the holidays will be as magical as we could ever hope and I won’t bury myself in wrapping paper and go on a frosted cookie binge around about December 19th…
In all seriousness, we do love the holiday season in this house. Secretly we’ve been listening to Christmas carols and have had a little tree up for a couple of weeks now. Yes, we welcome the season with open arms.
And unfortunately, also with open eyes, noses, mouths, etc.
Around here, we knew it was the holiday season long before the calendar told us because we rung in this jolly time of year with a double whammy of germs, a bunch of holiday gifts that we really didn’t ask for in the form of a weekend of pinkeye and a set of colds to beat the band.
I felt as if my home, my fortress, had been invaded, but I wasn’t surprised. I have a really bad habit of getting sick during the holidays, the best being last Christmas when I was knocked out by a case of strep throat and spent the entire day asleep. Not the merriest of holidays. So when the germs came at us this time I was ready to fight, to do whatever it takes to keep us happy and healthy.
But then the coughs came. And came.
And my daughter coughed all day and all night and no one got any sleep. And where our pink eyes had cleared, they all had dark circles underneath. Any parent with a cougher will know the mayhem that is caused by this single, simple, maddening symptom.
So for the good of the entire family I tried different cough syrups. I tried cough drops. I even tried the doctor, all to no avail. So I called upon the one person who I thought could help.
My grandmother.
At 85, she’s got some tricks up her sleeve and so I asked her for some home-remedy advice.
Naturally her first concoction contained a little something-something from the liquor cabinet, and while the thought did cross my very weary mind, I went with her second suggestion. Vicks Vapor Rub slathered on the bottom of my daughter’s feet.
The suggestion came from my great-grandmother, so I knew this was no new-fangled idea, but still it seemed a little odd. But desperate times call for desperate measures (but not liquor cabinet measures, mind you) and I made her some tea with lemon and honey, slimed up her feet and threw some socks on, and sent her to bed.
And now, after a good night’s rest, I’m not sure what it was that helped. It might have been the tea, the Vicks on her feet, or the blessing and prayers from her great grandmother. Whatever it was, we’ll take it and keep it in our arsenal of defense against the unwanted gifts of this giving season, because we know that no matter how much hand sanitizer we use, the germs will come.
It is, well, inevitable.

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