Detoured Sentimental Journey

by juli boggs

Every year my grandmother sends out a very detailed Christmas letter to her friends and family that explains all the going-ons of her and her husband, her four children, their spouses, and each of their children. As we’re all very interesting people, especially to my grandma, this annual update often hovers between 13-15 pages. Grandma knows that this can be daunting to readers of even the closest kin, so she conveniently divides the letter into sections concerning each individual, which can be referenced via a table of contents listed on page one.

As grandma’s health began a rapid decline a year or two ago, the segment of the letter concerning her and grandpa has become increasingly personal. Last year’s account lead the reader through a detailed description of her hallucinatory experience due to an incident of reactive cross-medicating. My grandmother, who has never had a sip of alcohol, explained the mysterious event at some length…“and as I laid in bed I could see that the choir director was holding on to the blades of the overhead fan, spinning around and around as I continued to call out for help!”

I cannot wait for this year’s Christmas letter. Not to tally its increasingly notorious length, not to find humor in my grandmother’s sweet and wonderful honesty, but because it is fascinating to see the world of her entire family through her eyes. I don’t need to read it to know what my parents’ have been up to, or anyone in the extended family chain for that matter, but the attention that she pays to each one of our little trials and successes, and that she would care to share her pride in these things with everyone she has ever met every single year, shows such unconditional love.

…I did not at all mean to sit down and write any of that. But sometimes when staring at a blank word document during the holidays that sentimental shit just sneaks up on you and blam! you’ve suddenly written six pages that you can’t even proofread through your tears.  How about that.