December 17, 2010

A different kind of holiday bird

I'm participating in The Red Dress Club writing meme this week! It's an easy one. We were given a word - tradition - or the following photo to use as our inspiration. I chose to go with both.

My family had a lot of wonderful holiday traditions. Many of which I am carrying on with my husband and daughter. And with my parents nearby, I look forward to our new expanded family being together for Christmas. I have so many happy memories; I love this time of year.

But for some reason, the annual decking of the halls always seemed to cause extremely un-holiday-like behavior in my parents when I was growing up. Dad would be tense, Mom would be on edge. It was a recipe for trouble. Putting up the outdoor lights in particular was guaranteed to result in an argument. It almost never failed.

One year, my parents were out in the front yard putting up the lights, and things were getting pretty heated. (Can you say, "Howdy, neighbors?") Their voices were becoming louder and louder. Some Rated "M" for mature language was being used. It was building to a ugly crescendo. And then, suddenly, there was silence.

It was followed shortly by howling laughter. And while I was upstairs in my room and did not see a thing, I knew exactly what had happened. My parents had flipped each other off. I went downstairs to investigate and sure enough, they had indeed exchanged the International Sign of Friendship. Which they both found hysterical.

That was the end of the disagreement. The mood instantly improved. They finished hanging the lights, plugged them in and we all walked out to the street to oooh and aaah. Then we went inside and spent a lovely evening by the fire listening to Christmas music and getting in to the holiday spirit in our newly-decorated abode.

My parents will soon celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They have been through lots of good times, and plenty of not-so-good. Through it all, one valuable lesson they taught me is you always have to be able to laugh together. No matter what life throws your way. They were the shining example of that, and the different kind of holiday bird moment is one of my all-time favorite memories.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!


  1. I love this memory because it is real - not sugar coated and phoney. I think untangling Christmas lights and pulling out all those Christmas boxes is enough to put most of us in a bad mood. It's nice when it's done. Congratualations to your parents! 50 years is quite an accomplishment!!

  2. LOL! Love that story. Laughter is the best "marriage glue" there is. :)

  3. Oh that's too funny! I have to agree, too. I think that our ability to laugh with each other has gotten my husband and I through a lot.

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story. :)
    Stopped in from TRDC.

  4. Great story, and one that should be told to every new married couple-thanks for sharing it!

  5. bwhahahahaha! I love how real this memory is too! I love that the gave each other the finger! that is SOO something my hubs and I would do! and I LOVE that they found it funny. This is outstanding! :)

  6. We had an argument or two around the outdoor Xmas lights in our family. Great story.

    Stopping by from the red dress club.

  7. I adore this story, Elizabeth!
    You have painted such an honest family portrait.
    Love it.
    My favorite line is this one, "Some Rated "M" for mature language was being used."
    I am still giggling.

  8. I absolutely LOVE this story! I can totally picture your parentals doing that. LOL!!!

  9. "the different kind of holiday bird" priceless.

  10. Ha! The holiday bird! So true about laughter.

  11. LOL, that is so me and my husband. Your story has encouraged me to think we actually might make it ;)

  12. Dadgummit I just lost my entire comment.

    AS I WAS SAYING! So true - I can remember maybe days such as this growing up AND in my own household! Funny and real, but I always enjoy your writing!

  13. Cute story! Congratulations to your parents fro 50 years, you just don't hear that often enough these days.

  14. Oh Elizabeth, this was a fantastic, funny and unexpected read! We could all learn a thing or two from your folks! I'm still smiling at the "International sign of friendship." LOL :)

  15. I love this AND your parents ability to laugh at each other. I was standing out there with y'all ohh and ahh ing too.


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