I regret to inform my well-wishers that I have been dethroned as supreme Christmas Eve Game Champion at my sister's holiday finger-food festival.
My performance was just not up to snuff. I am suspicious of her motives. Upon gathering at her kitchen-counter smorgasbord, we were informed that she had forgotten to lay in a supply of Sprite. That is a major beverage faux pas for the Thevictorian family. The Pony, you see, is forbidden to consume caffeine. He is very good about refusing such elixirs when his drink of decreed choice is available. And still, he turned down the Mountain Dew which Sis so courteously offered him in lieu of Sprite. I started to suspect a conspiracy when her husband said, "Mountain Dew is okay. It's a clear soda, isn't it?"
Throughout the meal, I kept an eye and an ear on the kids' table. The Pony was quite animated. Like his cousin said, "He appears to be a social drinker." He regaled them with tales of his friend in the trombone section of the eighth grade band hiding Oreos in his unruly halo of hair. He licked his elbow. He clicked his other elbow. Funny how breaking both of them infused him with such super powers. Just before game-playing time, my niece asked, "Can The Pony have some coffee?" Um. NO.
I was a bit distracted during the Christmas card jigsaw puzzle competition. That's how I lost. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. That, and I was too lazy to stand up and grab at puzzle pieces in the center of the oval table. It was like a game of PIT in there. Except we were risking life and limb for pieces of cut-up Christmas cards, not commodity cards for wheat and barley and flax. And even more vicious that a Saturday night game of spoons in off-campus college housing.
So...I lost the individual competition and the prize of noodle soup. It was in a gift bag: a jar of dry noodles and a bouillon cube and a recipe. If that's chicken noodle soup, I'll take mine rare. Pardon me for paraphrasing Kurt Russell as Drew Stephens in Silkwood, in the scene where he learns that Cher's girlfriend, Diana Scarwid as Angela, is a beautician. She has just applied her makeup to Cher, who looks like a corpse. And Drew says, "If that's what a beautician does, I'll take mine rare." To which Meryl Streep as Karen Silkwood replies, "Drew, Angela works at Thayer's." And Kurt says, "Funeral home? Hell, why didn't you say so?" Just before pouring a beer over his head and walking out.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. I lost. But my team won the Unwrap Ten Hershey's Kisses While Wearing Oven Mitts Relay. And everybody won the game of Pass the Gift Bag to the Left and Right During a Reading of the Wright Family's Christmas. We all won a 750-piece jigsaw puzzle. Mine was the Chicago skyline. The Pony had a fruit market. Genius had a trolley. And Hick won a puzzle of a pile of gumballs.
Sis declared that I was in charge of prizes for next year, and I told her that I would buy them throughout the year. She said the cost had to be one dollar or less. I said I thought I could swing it, a dollar a month. Then my mom handed me her puzzle, on top of the Thevictorian stack, giving me five. So I told Sis, "I've already got it covered up through May, for zero dollars."
She was not amused.