It’s All Relative

By Carl and Jo Ann Hauser
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. For us it was good, but low-key. Nobody came to visit for the holidays. We had planned to go to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving, however, Jo Ann also planned to make the entire Thanksgiving meal for just the two of us on Wednesday. Jo Ann’s a great cook. The house was filled with that holiday smell. We ate a great meal; I praised her for all her hard work. Of course, after eating turkey comes the mandatory food-coma nap. I awoke about two hours later. I went downstairs for a turkey sandwich, just to find all the Christmas decorations up, including the tree. Usually putting up the tree involves crying and gnashing of teeth (that would be me). Hanging ornaments in just the right spot and stringing lights is not my thing. Jo Ann did all the work by herself. With a big smile, she came up and hugged me. I checked to see if she was on any new medication. (Nope). When I find out what she’s up to, I’ll let you know.

The reason no relatives showed up for the holidays is that they had already been here. It started with our son Marcus and his ballerina wife Charlotte; they were here last Christmas. If you remember, we had a major snow storm that week. Our pick-up with no club cab was the only vehicle we had that would cut through the snow. Like college students, we figured out how to cram five people into a cab!

The next relative was my sister Phyllis, who showed up in January. Phyllis spends a lot of time taking care of her two granddaughters. She needed a break, and since we hadn’t seen each other for a couple of years, she came here. If you have an older sister, they come with all the stories of how they used to torture you as a child. She would crack a joke just as I was taking a big drink of milk; the milk would spew out my nose. Amazingly, she can still do it!

The next relative to show was our brother-in-law Ron. He and his dog Chloe spent just one night, and were on to visit his children in Arizona. What a nice guy! So considerate!

In April Jo Ann’s sister Barb flew in along with her granddaughter Jordan, who is eighteen years old. What do you do with an eighteen-year-old girl? Do they really like hanging out with Seniors? You cannot offer them wine, or take then to a casino. You can’t go hiking, because we couldn’t keep up! Jordan is a really sweet girl. However, I didn’t know how to talk to an eighteen-year-old girl when I was eighteen; I didn’t know how to talk to an eighteen-year-old girl when I was raising one; I still don’t know how to talk to an eighteen-year-old girl! Diet, exercise and boys do seem to be topics of conversation.

The last visitors of the year showed up in September. Another one of Jo Ann’s sisters, Cora, her husband Al, and dog Ginger were touring the Southwest, looking for a place to retire. Now Cora, Al and Ginger live in Michigan. By the time they got to our house, they had already driven three thousand miles. When they pulled up to our front door, Ginger was in the back seat, not looking particularly happy. She was more than ready to get out of the car. Ginger is a four-year-old Golden Retriever. If you’ve ever been around one, they are about as sweet a dog as you could ever find. Cora, Al and Ginger stayed for about a week. Cora is very sweet, but she’s one of those people who likes to drive fast, unless someone else is driving. We borrowed one of Ginger’s sticks, and put it in her mouth to deter backseat driving as we cruised up and down the mountain! Actually, having Ginger around was great therapy for me; our dog Phoebe had just died a few months before.

The morning they were getting ready to go, Ginger did not look happy. Dogs just know. She was not ready for another long road trip. Ginger apparently has been watching too much TV. Like a true pacifist protester, she laid down in the middle of the road, refusing to move. I could be wrong, but I’m sure I heard Ginger call, “Shot gun!” After several minutes and some really sad puppy-dog looks, Al picked up Ginger and loaded her into the back seat! Just so you don’t worry, all three made it back to Michigan safely, however, there were a few more protests. Al had to buy extra chew sticks for both Cora and Ginger!

So let’s review some New Years’ resolutions. 1) I resolve to not invite any relatives here this year. 2) I will continue to let Jo Ann put up the Christmas tree by herself. 3) I will get Ginger a tag for her collar that says ‘Shot gun.’ 4) I will be more sympathetic to Dallas Cowboy fans; my Chiefs are on a roller coaster, too. 5) I will avoid talking to teenage girls. 6) I will praise God in all things . . . relative . . . or not.

We have something new and exciting at our Senior Center: a salad bar!! with expanded hours (salad bar only)!! 11:30 to 1:00. Ladies, you can pretend to be eighteen again, with diet and exercise. Men, it’s probably too late for us. You can eat salad if you want; we’ll probably still look like the walking dead! Come join us for lunch; the regular lunch is still 11:30 to 12:15. As always, please call before 8:30 for a reservation. Hope to see you soon ~ God bless!