Manolo says, it is Monday and you are back at your desk, five pounds heavier, badly bruised, sick of “Jingle Bells”, and thoroughly and completely unfilled with the “Spirit of the Season”. Needless to say, you are just one more victim of the combined Thanksgiving & Black Friday Festival of Turkey and Combat Shopping.
Oy, but this is the time of the year where you wish you lived in the cave, on the deserted island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And so while others fretted and fought, you could relax with the fruity mango drink and lie in the sun.
Except, that we know you could never really do that.
With the approach of Thanksgiving, you would undoubtedly feel the need to make the giant roasted sooty albatross meal, with coconut and banana stuffing, and all of the fixings. (Much as the Manolo felt mysteriously impelled to seek out the traditional American Thanksgiving meal, here in Buenos Aires, at the restaurant called Kansas.)
The next day, following your traditional roasted albatross, some irresistible urge would force you to the beach, where you would instinctively fight the mobs of fiddler crabs to secure the best gifts for your family and friends.
“Ooooh, look, Aunt Betty would love this tawny conch,” you say, holding the shell aloft, while pushing back the thousands of snapping crustaceans.
“I’ll take it! Do you do gift-wrapping?” You ask of no one in particular.
Yes, how we long to be in the cave on the deserted island, and yet, even that would not be enough to prevent us from drawing up the list of people to whom we owed the Christmas cards, followed by the frantic searching of the beaches for enough seaworthy bottles in which to stuff your homemade newsletter (written on the banana leaf with squid ink you have painfully harvested.)
“It was a momentous year for the Greblefarb Family, here on what we like to call “Paradise Island”.
“Rob’s copra business set a new record this year (luckily we’re not much affected by the global economic downturn) and our warehouses in the caves up behind Skull Mountain are full of product, despite the losses suffered in June during the monkey invasions.
“Jimmy and Suzy (who are growing up so fast) sailed off to college in September, on a raft we had fashioned out of styrofoam packing material–recovered from a LandSea container that washed ashore– and coconuts lashed together with vines. I know they’re doing great in whatever school they landed at, although I haven’t had a message in a bottle from them for weeks.
“It took a few days to adjust, but Rob and I were sure happy being empty-nesters. Although, sadly, we didn’t have long to enjoy our new found freedom, as in late October, Rob was eaten by sharks while diving for rock fish off of Pirate Point.
“Meanwhile, I’ve found that with the kids gone and Rob eaten, I’ve had more time than ever for my hobbies!”
And so you muddle on, here in the real world, secure in the knowledge that it is these immutable, if painful, traditions (sometimes of very recent vintage) that make your holidays feel like home, no matter where the home may be.