Sunday, January 2, 2011

Executive Punch

A few days ago we were sitting around in my parents' kitchen waiting for the inevitable pokey shoe-putting-on-and-coat-denying by TLo.  This year my mom had put all her holiday cards in a big basket on the kitchen table and as TLo began to whine from the living room, "But it's not cooooold..." I decided to spend a little time picking through all the cards.  I was looking for photos, of course.  Cards without photos are totally useless.  (I know this is true, because I pored for a good thirty seconds over the photo of one of our congressmen and his family -whom I didn't recognize by sight and have never met- while I barely glanced at the written card from my cousin -whom I haven't seen in six years but visited every year for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter until I was 22.  Clearly photos are better than words when it comes to Christmas cards.)

As I flipped through the cards, derisively discarding the handmade snowman and the vintage santa in order to pounce like a vulture on the glimmer of glossy photo paper, I made my pronouncements:

"I have no idea who these people are.  Weird hair."

"Oooo, look.  The Gustafsons.  I met them once. When I was 12.  Pretty sweaters."

"Oh, look at all the little blondies!"  (I said this quite a few times, as many of the cards were from friends or family in Minnesota or North Dakota and virtually all small children there are blond.  Regardless of their adult hair color.  I was a notable exception.  When I was a baby, people would ask my mother if I was an adopted Indian.  Seriously.  It really upset her at the time.)

Then I came across a cheerful picture of some guy sitting on a brick wall.  "N. Esquivez*.  I have no idea who that is.  Nice leather jacket."

My mom and dad -perhaps eager to avoid the grating cries of, "But I don't have to wear a hat, I have LONG HAIR!" emanating from the living room- both perked up immediately. 

"N. Esquivez!  You know!" gushed my mother.
"You don't know N. Esquivez!?" admonished my father. "YOU know..."

I had never in my life heard of N. Esquivez.  My father opened his mouth to say more, presumably about this mysterious person I most certainly did not know, when my mother suddenly stopped short.  Sort of... quizzically.

"You know... " she said, hesitating.  We all raised our eyebrows, ignoring the screams of "It is NOT too cold for flip-flops!  Yes you CAN TOO wear a miniskirt to Texas Roadhouse in the winter..." that poured from the living room.  My mother sort of... giggled.  "Well, you know, a few years ago I met up with N. Esquivez in Austin for SDEC**.  We went out for drinks and he had this friend with him.  A tall skinny black guy.  He was a lawyer.  From Chicago.  Getting into politics."

We all sat and stared. 

"I think it was Obama."

We all sat and stared.

"But I'm not sure.”

We all sat and stared.

“They're really good friends.  So it's possible.  I think it might have been."

"But you don't remember?" I asked.

"We all got drunk as skunks.”  She shrugged.

TLo chose this moment to grace us with her poorly-dressed presence and in the ensuing chaotic shuffle to get everyone into the truck I never heard any more about N. Esquivez.



We’re all going with “My mom got drunk with the President!  Of the UNITED STATES!”  



*This is not this man's real name.  Not to protect his anonymity.  Because I can't remember it.
**State Democratic Executive Committee (Texas), of which my mother was a member for several years.


  1. Ooh, this is like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but a much better version! "Who got blitzed with Obama?" And as for picture cards, I completely agree... but, didn't bother to send one out this year. Very bad, I know.

  2. Excellent story!

    While I too find photo cards entertaining, the best are the Christmas letters, written by some twice removed relative or friend of my grandmother's....midwesterners who write just like they talk. Fragmented sentences, filled with details of declining health, camper troubles and snippets about the kids (or grandkids). The yuks are WELL worth the read. I'm usually left wondering, "geez, if these are the glad tidings of the season, I wonder how miserable life actually is?"

  3. I always know that I will leave your blog with a smile on my face. Thanks


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