I was at the upscale pet food store at the mall earlier today to nail down a bag of the fancy frozen raw venison chunks with which we spoil our cats at dinnertime. (The store only stocks one or two of these a week. Not many cat owners as nutsy as me out there.)

No one else was in the store yet. I had two young male clerks entirely at my disposal.  “Happy Holidays,” they chorused as I paid.

“Thanks, but I take the ‘bah, humbug’ approach,” I said, putting on my agent provocateur hat.  “Now that my kids are grown with kids of their own, and all of them are somewhere else, I’d just as soon pass on the holidays.  I’ve mailed out the presents. I’m ready for January 2.”

One of the clerks — the taller, cuter one — laughed.   “I don’t care about Christmas either, ” he said. “But I can’t wait till New Year’s Eve.”

Cuteness shouldn’t count but it does, so I was conciliatory.  “Well, you’re a guy. But I always dreaded New Year’s Eve because it meant going to parties where you had to be kissed at midnight by men you’d rather not be kissed by.”

They both were kind enough to laugh again.  (Clearly they had nothing better to do until another customer showed up.)  Encouraged, I went on:  “So all those New Year’s Eves have run together in my mind and I can specifically remember only two. One was in 1949, before you were born, when my boyfriend took me to a party at friends of his parents to admire a small black-and-white television set, the first any of us had seen.  We all sat around on bridge chairs in front of it, with the lights out, as if it were a shrine. Holding hands in the dark was nice, though.”

My mentioning 1949 must have silenced them, allowing me to continue.  “And the second was in 1959 when we were all toasting Fidel Castro for having come down from the Sierra Maestra to bring democracy to Cuba.  A lot we knew. The midnight kissing at that party wasn’t so great either. But all the thousands and thousands of other New Year’s Eves in my life?  Nada! Gone with the wind!”

Tall and cute tried to top me.  “I went to one a couple of years ago where I drank so much I got sick right at the party and vomited all over myself, the couch, somebody’s shoes, the rug…..”  He chuckled in happy reminiscence. (And this is the guy who can’t wait to ring in 2015.)

“Well, there you go,” I said, feeling we’d now run the subject into the ground and it was time to leave. “When you’re in your eighties, you’ll have at least one good New Year’s Eve story to tell!”

The idea of being in their eighties was even funnier than the vomit. Merry peals of laughter followed me out the door.

But you all have yourself a real good holiday. And never mind grumpy old us. We’ll be having one, too.  Only our way.



  1. Just because it’s quiet doesn’t mean it’s bah humbug. We’ve pared way down on our holiday celebrations and it works for us. But, like you I’m ready for the holiday crazies to be over. We don’t partake in it but all the traffic makes it hard to get around. Ok, maybe a little bah humbug…

    Liked by 2 people

    • And HH to you too. Unfortunately, not much holiday cheer around where I live. Go anywhere outside your own house and find frenzied shoppers pushing and shoving their way on sidewalks, through doors, and along aisles; parking lots crowded with demented drivers; and fake Christmas spirit blaring through loudspeakers, interspersed with deep-toned baritone announcements to “Shoppers!” of last minute bargains. What’s more, it’s pouring the proverbial cats and dogs. That’s the report from suburban northeastern United States. How’s it doing where you are?


    • And to you, too, Margaret. Yes, we should be glad of every year, once we’re wise enough to realize the supply is finite. I’ve started saying (to more or less contemporaries), “Happy New Year and whole lot more of them.” I’ve always been a greedy girl. 🙂


  2. I disagree with so many of your attitudes, that it’s hard for me to figure out why I have such a positive feeling about you. But then you offer us two shots of your beautiful cat, and mention that you feed him venison… I guess that’s what does it for me. May you have a good laugh, while singing along, as your hum bug hums.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Talk about provocative openers! But rather than take you on, Shimon, let me observe only that my cats (two, and both female) also disagree with many of my attitudes but nevertheless have positive feelings about me. They disagree that the outside door should only open and close for me and Bill, and that we go out without them. They dislike that I spend too much time at the computer and reading instead of thinking up interesting things for them to stick their noses in, and hate that I sometimes let small noisy children and persons who come to cut their nails into their house. On the other hand, I am the food provider, the belly scratcher, the one who opens the toy basket and plays with them. So how could they not have positive feelings, too? If that doesn’t help sort things out for you, let me provide a provocative closer: I seem to remember that one of the first posts of mine you “liked” was titled “Lust.”

      Have a warm and rewarding holiday with your children and many many grandchildren. In that, you are a lucky man.


      • Sorry if I offended you. That was not my intention. When I ‘liked’ your post called lust, it was because I really liked it. And similarly, I have liked many of your other posts. I enjoy your writing, and your intelligence, which is an integral part of your blog. It could be that the differences between reflect our different cultural backgrounds. But let me assure you that my objections have nothing to do with moral judgments. Thanks for your kind reference to my luck. Yes, I consider myself extremely lucky, though I’ve tasted a full share of bitter in my life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • A gallant apology, and one I gladly accept. Yes, our backgrounds and life experiences are dissimilar and we live in very different worlds. Moreover, our respective words and photographs reveal only what we want to reveal. (Internet-based “relationships” are not called “virtual” for nothing.) I consciously put forth perhaps 15% of myself online, and may unknowingly reveal another 15%; the same is probably true of you. So 70% of each of us remains unknown — even “virtually” — to the other. Nonetheless, much of what is most pleasurable in life is partly one’s fantasy, don’t you think? So do go on disagreeing as much as you like, as long as the virtual balance sheet stays out of the red. 🙂


  3. Jools

    Happy New Year to you, Nina. I share your view of the ‘happy holidays’ … Bah, humbug! And I loathe those New Year stranger kisses as much as you. If I can’t dodge the New Year’s Eve party ( which I do, more often than not), I’ll be the one hogging the bathroom at midnight!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, Julie! Once again we seem to be kindred spirits! We must arrange to meet. Perhaps on your book tour of US city bookshops? After the New Year’s Eve party (if you can’t manage to dodge it), have a wonderful 2015, as I’m sure you will — launching your first published book into the world! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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