By Suzanne Sparrow Watson

Jeff the Elf

Elvis was in the building!

Here we are, a new year before us, with optimism and hope for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2024.  But before we leave 2023, I want to give a shout out to Bob and his wife, Linda, for hosting a fun and frolicking Christmas weekend.  As I mentioned in my last blog, there was a family talent show on Christmas Eve.  The emphasis was slightly more on fun than talent, but it was the highlight of the weekend.  Bob’s son, Jeff, served as MC.  I knew he would be up to the task but it was confirmed when he arrived dressed as Elf, replete with beanie and pointed shoes. He sang “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, with some slight lyric variations, and was sensational. Next, we had a surprise visit from Elvis (he looked amazingly like Bob) who serenaded us with his classic, “Blue Christmas”, not only on guitar but with kazoo at the same time.  He’s a very talented guy!

Us, not singing, thank God

My family did a riff on the Brady Bunch theme song with lyrics changed to poke fun at the assembled group.  My nieces, Stephanie and Dana, sang their traditional “Sisters” song from White Christmas, this year waving turquoise feathered fans, looking just like Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen.  My great-nieces, Emma and Addison, sang “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth“, which was especially appropriate given that Addison is missing her two front teeth!  The show ended with Jeff singing, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!”, and all of the little children were enthralled by his performance.  There is nothing like small children to bring back the magic of Christmas and restore a sense of gratitude.  All in all, it was a great – and memorable – holiday.

This year, he was Christmas angel

But here we are in a new year and ready to take it on.  I am an (overly) sentimental person, so New Year’s Eve is always a bittersweet holiday for me.  Particularly as I’ve grown older, I think about the retiring year and recall the fun times, but also the loss of a family member or friend that each year has brought.  Of course, 2023 was the hardest year to part with because it was the last year that Alan was alive.   I will never again have a year with a memory of him in it.  So probably like many of you, I greet the new year with mixed emotions, wishing I could hold on to the old year, but knowing a new year beckons.  Just before he died, Norman Lear summed up this dichotomy about saying goodbye to one thing and greeting the next when he was asked if he was afraid to die.  He said, “I’m not concerned about the going, I just don’t like the leaving.” But here we go, into 2024, optimistic and full of plans.  As I said at the beginning, I hope this is a happy, healthy and prosperous new year for all of you.

Now go watch some football and nurse that hangover!