It's the holiday season and everyone is headed back to their hometowns to spend time with their families. And while I'd rather spend all that time with my best friend building gingerbread houses and having a SATC marathon over a few bottles of strawberry Andre, I'm going home, too.
I'm sure every family has their own traditions. Decorating the tree on Christmas Eve, singing carols by the fire, all that shit you see on the front of Christmas cards. But my family is not the one you would see on the front of a Christmas card.
Here is one of our traditions, conducted every year on Christmas Day at my Meema's (grandmother's) house.
First, you will need to know some things about my Meema. She bakes like there's no tomorrow, cracks jokes like it's her job, and has a loaded twelve gauge shot gun behind her back door. And in her back yard, there is the famous Tree of Death. It is known by this name for two reasons: it is dead, and anything that lands in it (mostly mockingbirds) will soon be dead as well (by virtue of the formerly mentioned twelve gauge shot gun). Yes, there is a graveyard at the foot of this tree - all birds who made the mistake of singing, perched on the highest branch, within earshot of my Meema. This hobby has fostered a rather large collection of shotgun shells, growing over the course of the year. She places each shell in a flower pot by her back door.
This is where Christmas comes in. Each year, while the family is all gathered in the living room, we play a game of Guess How Many Shotgun Shells Are In The Flower Pot. Everyone bets a few dollars and writes down their estimate. Whoever guesses the closest number, wins all the money, the flower pot, and the shells. I'd say it's the highlight of the evening. It may even beat out the presents.
That's what I have to look forward to tomorrow. But don't worry - my Meema also made something like fifty gallons of wine this year from the grapes in her back yard, so I probably won't remember any of it anyway.