I sometimes feel like I’m losing my religion — not in the spiritual way, but metaphorically. While the Christmas season is here, I’m not feeling the mood.

During Thanksgiving, I had family in town. I hosted 13 people and five dogs at my house. It was interesting to say the least. Most of my family has been here before but now that we are all older including my brothers’ kids, things get a little more complicated. The good thing is we had a host of designated drivers.

I have two brothers who live up north and came in for the holidays. One has two teenagers and a dog and one has neither children nor dogs. Teenagers are harder to entertain, but I did my damn best. In addition, my children came in with their dogs; big dogs.

The week prior, we, my wife and I spent countless hours planning meals, cleaning every inch of our house relentlessly and had to figure out how to entertain all types of people over the four days. Man, that’s a lot of pressure.

As far as the meals were concerned, both my brothers can cook, all I needed to do is get the ingredients. My son and his fiancé made a fabulous dessert and, of course, the adult libations flowed like water.  Meals were not a problem.

Within 30 minutes of “the family and dogs” arriving, the spotless house was a disaster. So we all found a little corner to hide away. It worked out well.

The entertaining part had potential to be challenging. Since my brothers live in a liberal state, my nephew who loves to target shoot rarely has the opportunity to shoot. Thanks to my buddies at Robinette’s, I picked up about 1,000 rounds of various ammunition and went to another friend’s shooting range, where we spent a lot of time. My nephew was thrilled.

I borrowed a side-by-side from another friend and the rest of the family saw the mountains of Eastern Kentucky first-hand. They got muddy and loved every ride they took. It was an experience that they will never forget, but were amazed how easy it was to have that kind of accessibility to the glorious mountains.

My wife took the non-outdoor enthusiasts shopping to local stores and shops. They too, were amazed at what they found so close that was not in the big department stores.

My kids took my brother’s kids to the Pikeville game Friday night. My nephew plays football at a big high school and he was mesmerized at the facility, the fans and the fireworks. And, of course, Pikeville won and won big.

My entire family was amazed of the friendly people they met everywhere they went. I told them not to mention their last name — that reception may not have been so good. Unless of course they say they were from my wife’s side.

Each time they went out, they said that people were polite and welcoming. So when my nephew heard the alleged derogatory comments made by the team that came to play Pikeville, they were flabbergasted. And as karma is a bitch, that team got creamed.

After my family left, the big cleanup started — mounds of laundry, cleaning the entire house again, eating leftovers; still. Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday, my wife’s birthday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday were all in order after an exhausting week. So I’m broke and tired. To top it all off, I walked outside my office and the city had Christmas music blaring to the point where I wished it was Memorial Day.

I stopped to think what a selfish jerk I was being. Many people are less fortunate than I am. I just spent a fabulous week with my family and they were exposed to one of the greatest areas in this country, and I’m cranky and complaining. I felt like a bigger idiot than usual.

I had to remember why this season is special and the answer for me was what I just experienced. I put on my big boy undies and a smile on my face and looked at life a little differently. Mostly with gratitude for a host of reasons, including the fact that I celebrated another holiday with my family and another birthday with my wife.

Life is good. And I stopped being a jerk at least for today.

Thanks for reading the Floyd Chronicle and Times.

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