Inside the Sandwich: Act Like You Have Been in the End-Zone Before By Amelia Blades Steward

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I should have known this week when I wore my “Ho, Ho, Ho” pin upside down and it said “Oh, Oh, Oh” that it would be the start to a challenging few weeks. My client noticed my pin was skewed when we were meeting to discuss a challenging project. She wondered if I had done it on purpose. I answered that it was because I had looked in the mirror that morning and it had looked alright. I guess I forgot that things are backwards when viewed in the mirror.

Things have just been weird this holiday season. My mom and I went on a bus trip to NYC and encountered Santas in all shapes and forms while navigating the crowds on 51st Street and Fifth Avenue. Just as we thought we would be carried down Fifth Avenue with the crowds seeking the lighted Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, we encountered the craziest sight – a man dressed as Herman Munster in a Santa suit who bolted out of the crowd with his large metal lunchbox. The man next to me laughed along with me, stating he must be a “Frankensanta.” I learned afterwards that Santacon was being held in NYC the day, a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and nonsensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year in cities all over the country.

The fun continued when my entire family traveled to Richmond, VA, to have a gathering with my brother and his family. We were invited to a party in my brother’s historic neighborhood while we were there. Getting three generations ready to go to this upscale soiree was more than a notion. We all got dressed for the occasion, including the four young adults, who donned shirts and ties and holiday dresses, instead of flip flops and shorts (their usual attire). The older adults helped the grandparents travel down the brick sidewalks to the historic home. My sister-in-law, who had told me only hours before we didn’t need to bring anything to the party, was balancing an old Rubbermaid pitcher of champagne punch, as we bobbed down the street. The hosts had requested her special recipe.

In some ways, it felt like the Beverly Hillbillies arriving in Hollywood – a menagerie of family members with different ideas of what was ahead of us for the evening. Would the teens eat the fancy hors d’oeuvres, would the grandparents have anything in common with the young owners, and would we fit in at this fancy affair? My brother stopped the 10 of us at the base of the steps to the historic house before we entered to say, “Act like you have been in the end-zone before.” I guess he was worried we would embarrass him with his upscale neighbors. I wondered whether this night would be even more ludicrous than my upside down Ho, Ho, Ho pin, the Herman Munster Santa in NYC, and all the other craziness this year’s holidays have brought.

There is a lot of pressure over the holidays. I will sure be glad when it’s over and we no longer have to “act like we have been in the end-zone before.” We can go back to being ourselves and doing things imperfectly with our families.

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