I am to traveling as oil is to water. I enjoy new locations, but I hate the getting there. Mostly because I suffer from vertigo, but also because I don't like change.
Lately, I've been traveling the country by bus on behalf of a Pittsburgh-based corporation filming training videos designed to motivate employees during the upcoming holiday season. My fellow corporate travelers are more at ease than I am. I’m a homebody. I’m from Pittsburgh/Robinson Township and that’s where I attended college (Duquesne). I have not spent very much time away from home, except for a four-month stint in San Francisco, working on finding my voice as a comedian.
So this year marks the very first time in my entire life that I will be coming, “home for the holidays”.
I love that expression. I’ve always adored Christmas music that evokes that feeling of longing for a loved one’s presence around holiday time. You may know the song “Home for the Holidays,” first made popular by Perry Como and then (my favorite version) by The Carpenters.
As a young girl my oldest brother Bob moved to California for about a year. The holidays where he couldn’t make it home were the worst. I tried to enjoy myself. But there was Bob’s empty chair at the holiday dinner table.
So I know what it’s like to long for someone else to be home for the holidays, but this is the first time I am the one longing to be home.
I wasn’t even thinking about Thanksgiving as I boarded the tour bus ready to travel America. I actually forgot that we had entered the holiday season because I was so preoccupied with preparing for this tour.
The first half of tour flew by so quickly. We were all working so hard making motivational mini movies that time just flew by. Now that the tour is nearing its end, all I can think about is coming home for Thanksgiving.
Naturally, as in all story plots associated with the phrase, “home for the holidays” there is a chance that if weather were to worsen I could get stuck and perhaps not make it home.
My tour stops must remain confidential, because my arrival is a surprise for employees. Let’s just say I’m headed for a place pretty much famous for not being warm.
Thanksgiving is still too far away to accurately predict a possible weather disaster, but I’m a neurotic, so I’ve got a jump start on frantic fretting.
I’m imagining that old Hallmark commercial from the 1990s when the little brother is talking about his older brother coming home for Christmas. In the commercial the little brother talks about how every year he and his brother sing, “Oh Holy Night” together for everyone after dinner. Naturally, in the commercial, the older brother isn’t home in time to sing so the little brother sings by himself. Suddenly the door opens and the older brother enters and begins to duet with the little brother. (I’m crying just recalling the plot of that old ad!)
I must acknowledge my regular holiday activities lean toward the more mundane. I’m more likely to be scrubbing floors, helping my mother in the kitchen and doing the dishes with my sister. No major duets.
Memo to the makers of dishwashing liquid: Listen up! If you would like to do a variation on the Hallmark classic, then buy my story. It would begin with a voiceover from my sister, “Every year on Thanksgiving my sister and I would do the dishes.” Then it would cut to her going out to the mailbox and getting a post card from me which reads: “I’ll be home for Thanksgiving”. Then it would cut to dinner and my chair being empty. Then it would cut to my sister doing the dishes alone as Frank Sinatra sings, “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” Finally it would cut to the front door knob turning as I enter carrying a bottle of Joy with a tiny red bow on it.
End scene. End column. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!