By Jerry Zezima
Since I am in the holiday spirit (and, having just consumed a mug of hot toddy, a glass of eggnog and a nip of cheer, the holiday spirits are in me), I have decided to follow in that great tradition of boring everyone silly by writing a Christmas letter.
That is why I am pleased as punch (which I also drank) to present the following chronicle of the Zezima family, which includes Jerry, the patriarch; Sue, the matriarch; Katie and Lauren, the daughtersiarch; Dave and Guillaume, the sons-in-lawiarch; and Chloe, Lilly, Xavier, Zoe and Quinn, the grandchildreniarch.
It sure has been an eventful year for the Zezimas!
The family got a shot in the arm by getting shots in the arm. It wasn’t so easy for Jerry and Sue because they couldn’t schedule an appointment for their first vaccinations, so Katie and Lauren, who are a tad more tech savvy than their parents, went online and made appointments for them.
At the suggestion of college buddy and fellow father Tim Lovelette, who said, “That’s why God gave us kids — to keep us alive,” Jerry tried to get a shot and a beer. Unfortunately, the bar was closed.
But Jerry and Sue did get both rounds of the vaccine, plus a later booster, which encouraged Jerry to needle everyone else. When he told Olivia, the nice medical technician who gave him his second shot, that now the public wouldn’t be safe from his stupid jokes, she said, “People may have to be vaccinated against you.”
This newfound freedom, after many months of quarantine, enabled Jerry and Sue to have family reunions. One of the best occurred when they drove to Washington, D.C., to visit Katie, Dave, Xavier, Zoe and Quinn, whom they hadn’t seen in a year and a half.
They went to the zoo (surprisingly, Jerry wasn’t put on exhibit with the other monkeys), had fun at a kiddie birthday party (it wasn’t for Jerry), watched Zoe and Quinn’s soccer practice (Jerry got a kick out of it), took Xavier to a baseball game (Jerry had a ball but didn’t catch one), saw the sights (Jerry wasn’t one of them) and generally had a grand time (because Jerry and Sue are grandparents).
As they were leaving, Katie told Jerry that Zoe and Quinn, who were infants during the previous visit, had joined the other grandkids in “The Cult of Poppie.”
Jerry and Sue also got to see a lot more of Chloe and Lilly, who live nearby but whom they had seen in person only periodically, and then it had to be outdoors while masked and at a safe social distance.
Now they could hug, kiss and, in Jerry’s case, act silly.
Among the highlights:
A spirited game of Wiffle ball, in which Chloe and Lilly hit home runs but mighty Poppie struck out.
A dance recital at a vineyard, where Jerry and Sue celebrated Chloe and Lilly’s dazzling performances with wine.
A beauty session in which Lilly painted Jerry’s fingernails pink and purple (Sue and Lauren were aghast, but Jerry explained that sometimes a boy just likes to feel pretty).
And a yard sale where Jerry helped Chloe and Lilly with a lemonade stand that netted a grand total of $6.25.
At another family reunion, Jerry visited his mother, Rosina, for the first time in 15 months. Mom, now 97 and sharper than her son, which admittedly isn’t saying much, reminded Jerry that their time apart was even longer than the 10 months she was pregnant with him.
“But,” Mom said sweetly, “it was worth the wait.”
A few weeks later, she visited Jerry and Sue with Jerry’s sisters, Elizabeth and Susan. Lauren and Guillaume were there, too, as were Chloe and Lilly, who lovingly call their great-grandmother Gigi.
On the domestic front, Jerry and Sue had new siding put on the outside of their house and new flooring inside — which, Jerry stupidly pointed out, was better than the other way around. Jerry also helped a bricklayer repair a crack in the foundation, which was not as hard as Jerry’s head.
The Zezimas got a new shed to replace the old one, which was home to a family of mice that ate Jerry’s hammock. Jerry got revenge by using a sledgehammer to help knock down the dilapidated structure.
In the field of entertainment, Jerry tried out to be a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune,” but he never got a chance to meet Pat and Vanna — or win any money — because he was far from letter perfect.
In crime news, Sue’s cellphone was stolen. In cooperation with the local police department, she and Jerry went on a stakeout that didn’t produce the phone but could have served as the pilot episode for a cop show called “CSI: Columnist Stakeout Idiocy.”
The biggest event of the year was Jerry and Sue’s 50th high school reunion. They had a blast, especially because they got to be with their good friends Hank and Angela Richert, whom they hadn’t seen in several years. It was unanimously agreed that everyone looked great and that Jerry was still the class clown.
In good health news, Jerry joined a gym. He told a personal trainer that his main form of exercise is doing 12-ounce curls. The trainer said it was a unique way to work out, which gave Jerry a great excuse to stay home and drink beer.
In bad health news, Sue had a heart attack. Jerry drove her to the hospital, where she had three stents put in her left artery. It was a scare, to be sure, but Sue is feeling much better and is on the road to recovery. Jerry has taken the role of caregiver and has actually done laundry for the first time in 43 years of marriage. Love conquers all!
We hope you and your family have also overcome the challenges of this difficult year and have had fun in the process.
Merry Christmas with love, laughter and gratitude from the Zezimas.
Copyright 2021 by Jerry Zezima