Friday, December 26, 2008

A Christmas Portrait

On Christmas morning, while drinking my fifth cup of decaf coffee (the only kind in the house), I watched the grand display of winter happening outside. Great, big, fat snowflakes flurrying about and falling so fast, as if they were all late to their scheduled appointment of meeting with the ground. After becoming just barely caffeinated, I began rounding everyone up for our annual family portrait.

Now, half the fun in taking the family picture every year is seeing what everyone will dress up in. Last year, I asked my dad if he could go upstairs and put on something nice -- imagining he would put on a jolly red sweater or a crisp, unrumpled shirt -- and he came back down dressed in a suit and tie. My brother donned a California t-shirt, the kind that are sold 3 for $9.99 in a fluorescent-illuminated store on Hollywood Boulevard.

This year, my dad decided he wanted to wear the complete opposite of what he wore last year. He posed in front of the tree wearing what he wore to sleep the night before, and then thinking better of it, pulled a jacket over it to mask his jammy shirt.

My mom appeared, dressed tastefully festive, and she matched my holiday reindeer pin perfectly.

She then noticed my dad, far from dressed, and said, No, no, no. She disappeared back upstairs to find him something appropriate to wear. In the meantime, my brother came downstairs, and this year, he was the one wearing a suit and tie.

My mom came back, dressed in a different outfit, and brought with her the sweater my brother gave my dad last year and demanded my dad change.

Sophie had been missing for some time, but appeared at about the same time my dad re-appeared, now properly dressed.

And before anyone else could get away, change their outfits or take a phone call, we took this one.

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