First, play that video above as you read this. Who doesn’t love a soundtrack?
Ahh…that piano beginning.
My holidays used to be super Italian, just household to household parties packed with relatives. Cousins and second cousins and godparents and zios and zias and nonnos and nanas and great aunts and great uncles and people I don’t know if I’m related to but they were always there. It was a lot (LOT) of food, hours of kid table Mafia card games as the adults yelled around long dinner tables. It was dishes upon dishes upon dishes, hours of curling ribbon, the constant (and annoying) blasting of holiday music and then there was goddamn Bob Seger.
Bob appeared around December 27th, the time my folks packed me and my brother in our car to go to our usual holiday week in Tahoe. Bob and his greatest hits would play the entire way there. (This might be hyberbole, yes. But he played at least 3 times each way. That is approximately 6 hours of goddamn Seger. Hyperbole earned.)
My brother and I would be in the backseat staring at desolate views of the Seirra Nevadas as good ol’ Bob sang about himself as a rock, all this stuff about nights, etc etc. And of course it wasn’t just Bob singing, it was my Mom with Bob. My brother and I would complain and Dad would slam his fist against the stick shift to the beat of whatever goddamn song was playing. And when my brother and I would be on the verge of losing our minds, Dad would nudge Mom in triumph, like annoying us was the goal of this entire vacation. And then my life would flash before my eyes as Dad slammed on the accelerator to pass cars on the two lane highway. It was hell in a white Jeep only made better by walkmans and jerky.
I haven’t been to Tahoe in probably thirteen years. Over the last couple of years, holidays have shrunk as cousins move, babies get made and relatives pass away. Nothing is the same but yet it’s the same old thing. In a couple days I will be at home with my mom making the same batch of cuccidati, an Italian cookie that makes my life worth living. I have been in sprinkle training since I was a pre-pubescent so when I go home, I am on duty. As always.
You know when you get to that age where you realize nothing is permanent and that your family will never stay the same? That right there is adulthood clocking you right in the face. Do I love the holidays nowadays? Not in the garland hugging, carol obsessed way. Am I excited to get on a plane tomorrow to go home for the holidays? You bet your right arm. I will clean every dish, unfold every metal chair, I will even shop at Costco if it means I get to sit across the table from my family for an evening. Cause that right there is what it all means.
The other terrifying thing about getting older is that you suddenly love Bob Seger. I understand “We’ve Got Tonight” on a cellular level. Give me a couple years and I will probably cry along to “Like a Rock.” And it’s all okay. Cause like Bob, family and even myself, age is like a fine wine** and nothing appreciates things more than time.
Happy holidays to everyone. Love and peace.
**Full disclosure: I actually don’t like wine. I know. I KNOW. An Italian girl who doesn’t like wine. Someone call my ancestors and while you’re at it, pass me a beer.