SO! It’s been a few years, more than a few really, since I’ve put up a Christmas tree, decorated the house, etc. A short summary of barriers to my personal cheer.

2004: Two destructive hurricanes within three weeks of each other in September/October. Even by Christmas we were still cleaning up, and my house had boarded windows, doors while the office was still being rebuilt. We were working out of our kitchens.

Mom had her invalid husband (my Dad) plus her mostly blind mother (my grandmother ) living cheek by surly jowl in her house. Nevertheless, she still made a valiant stab at making merry. I just couldn’t muster the energy, especially since Gloria Estefan had made me persona non grata in my own hometown. Long story, but suffice to say she wanted “cooperation” on building her hotel and me being on the City Council led to a sort of Trump-Comey pas de deux. No cheer in Lynneville.

2005 – 2008: God bless serving your community, the developer kingpins in Florida set upon Vero Beach government in their continuing effort to elect compliant, loyal-to-the-$$$ candidates. They were successful! So I spent these years pouring money and energy into legal efforts to clear the refuse they’d dumped in my life.

By 2008 even dear Mom had only feeble interest in holiday cheer. Unbeknownst to all of us, including her, she was very sick but was focused primarily on her son (my brother) who had some pretty serious health problems himself. We barely waved a weak pine bough at Christmas and prayed for a better year to come.

2009: Jeff dies, Mom dies, Wells Fargo comes after my house in spite of my being paid up on mortgage payments. Merely remaining vertical was an effort.

2010 – 2014: Caretaking my father who is moved from one senior living facility to the next because he 1) won’t stop drinking to excess & making angry scenes at meals, and 2) won’t stop physically molesting his female caretakers. Yay. He blames me, as one would do. None of my extended family will speak to me, as they believe I’m abusing my father. Because we can’t sell his house, and because he mindlessly spends all his money, I’m using my own funds to pay for his care, but how do you explain that to anyone? Quite simply, you don’t.

2015 & 2016: Exhausted.

This year, determined, I pull out Mom’s Christmas boxes along with my lights, tree and bows. I worry that the cat will bat the delicate antique, fragile glass ornaments so lay the most treasured beneath the tree. On Christmas morning, I plug in the tree lights. No go. I switch sockets. Nope. Determined, I make hot cocoa with marshmallows and try to change the dead string of lights. A crimson and gold drum drops, bounces and crashes into the white and turquoise fake-snow covered antique ornament, hitting squarely on it’s “Merry Christmas” script.

You know what I do? I laugh. Out loud and kind of crazy, but really, it’s just funny.

Life always throws shit everywhere, but I’m here. I’m alive, I’m luckier than 99% of people here on earth, I have friends, most of my cousins have forgiven me, and my cat loves me.

So Peace, Love and Hope to everyone. We hold each other’s hearts, we treasure the good, and the other will move past. 🎄❤️🎶🎶🎶🎶❤️🎄😘

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