There is no denying that holidays are social occasions. From New Year’s to St. Pat’s to Fourth of July to Christmas—folks get together to eat and drink entirely too much. Parties, parties, parties! In order to throw the aforementioned “parties, parties, parties!” one’s house must be decorated to the nines for said occasion.
Not only is a Southern Belle required to rise to the challenge of any and every social event, she should delight in the opportunity. There is a house in my neighborhood with a very large bay window and the lady that lives in the house decorates the window for every single holiday. Every. Single. Holiday. I have no doubt that, if I actually went inside the house, I would have feelings of inadequacy so crushing that I would be forced to my knees to genuflect before Oleander Estates’ very own Martha Stewart.
As you well know, I am a Southern Belle, but I have issues. To be perfectly frank, I have more issues than National Geographic, but I muddle along as best I can. I am an introvert and, although I may appear to be a witty conversationalist on paper, I choke in person. I also don’t like clutter and I don’t particularly like making work for myself, so hauling out a bunch of seasonally appropriate stuff to strew across the house only to have to pack it all up a short time later is not my idea of a good time, but I have children and I do the best I can.
I am also slack as hell as I will illustrate in this little story:
In January of this year, I was sitting in the den and coloring with the Baby Belles. I happened to look up at the mantel and lo and behold there was a jack o’ lantern staring down at me. It was a decorative pottery thingamajig that was about the size of a softball. I wasn’t as surprised that I missed it when taking down Halloween decorations as I was that I missed it when putting up and taking down Christmas decorations. I was furthermore surprised that my mechanical engineer husband—who has an attention for detail so sharp that it can completely drive me up the wall at times—missed it as well (actually, that part was a little gratifying).
Huh, I thought to myself, I’ll grab it and shove it in the closet later. I don’t feel like messing with it right now.
In March of this year, I was sitting in the den and holding a pitifully feverish Baby Belle 2. We were watching Barney for about the 4,637th time and I was looking around for things to either occupy myself or stab myself in the eyes. I happened to look up at the mantel and lo and behold there was a jack o’ lantern staring down at me.
Huh, I thought to myself, well I certainly can’t get it right now. If I get Punkin down for a nap, I’ll grab it and put it up.
In June of this year, we were getting ready to go to the beach and I was looking for my sunglasses. When I am looking for something, it is not a small undertaking: I have found my cell phone in the refrigerator, my car keys in the dog bed and one of a pair of extraordinarily expensive shoes in the garage (the little hands around my house can be so helpful). I ran into the den, happened to look over at the mantel and lo and behold there was a jack o’ lantern staring down at me.
Oh for Heaven’s sake, I thought to myself, this is getting plum ridiculous, but Scott and the kids are waiting in the car and I don’t have time to mess with the damned thing right now.
I will admit that, when I got in the car to go to the beach, I mentioned our little “Pumpkin Situation” to Scott and he snorted.
In August of this year, I was sprawled out in the den sweating like a turkey before Thanksgiving. We had actually just come back from another beach trip and I was taking a moment before hauling my butt upstairs to get in the shower. I happened to glance up and the mantel and lo and behold there was a jack o’ lantern staring down at me.
Christ Almighty, I thought to myself, I am the slackest person in the history of the world. I actually moved one leg off of the ottoman as if to stand up when a thought occurred to me. It wasn’t a thought that I am particularly proud of, but it was a thought nonetheless: Well hell, I’ve left the thing up all year, it’s practically October now.
So there I was: It was the end of September and I was standing with a group of moms at Baby Belle 1’s school, commiserating about the suddenness of the impending holidays. Some of the ladies were saying that it felt as though they’d just taken their Christmas decorations down and it was nearly time to put them up already!
I couldn’t help it. It was terrible, but I never, ever get to be the one to say it. I smiled (maybe a little bit smugly) and said, “At least I’m decorated for Halloween!”