I have had less Christmas spirit than the Grinch lately, a problem somewhat compounded by the relentless cheerfulness on all sides. This has caused consternation among my friends, so, to cheer me up the other night, Billy Ray showed up on the porch, clutching a jug of his grandmomma’s eggnog in one hand and a book in the other.
“Guess what we’re gonna do?” he screamed at me. (He was screaming on account of the Wowpup, who also is feeling anti-social and has been barking since Thursday. This is not helping me much.) “We’re gonna write a book!”
“Oh no, we’re not,” I said firmly. “I have enough trouble writing a column and the occasional travel article.”
Billy Ray settled himself and his eggnog onto the sofa. “Now look here,” he held up the book. “This is a Christmas memoir, written by John Daly’s caddy. It is beyond a shadow of a doubt, the worst thing I have ever read, and that includes the whole Twilight series.”
“And you’re suggesting we try to write something worse?”
“I’m suggesting that we should write a Christmas memoir. You can’t budge in a bookstore without knocking over a rack of heartwarming Christmas autobiography.
“Every single one of them follows the same formula,” he went on. “All we have to do is trot out some poignant Christmas memories, tie them up with a little epiphany of our own, and this could be our ticket to the big leagues.”
“But I’m happy with the leagues I’m in,” I protested. “In fact, I’m thinking of playing down a league or two. Why don’t you just write your own Christmas memoir, and I’ll proofread it for you?”
“That’s just the problem,” Billy Ray sighed. “Every year at Thanksgiving, Grandmomma gives me a couple of gallons of her eggnog as an early Christmas present.”
“Awww, how heartwarming is that? That would be a great start to a memoir.”
“That’s what you think. My grandmomma gets a personal Christmas card every year from the makers of Jack Daniels, and it’s not because she’s got relatives in Tennessee. Her eggnog has more kick than a twelve-gauge shotgun. This is the eggnog that launched a thousand trips. If eggnog could talk, Grandmomma’s would sound like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. It’s not just a beverage,” he finished, “It’s a nutmeg-flavored mugging in a jug.”
I raised an eyebrow and waited.
“Well, that eggnog is the reason I’ve got to have help writing a memoir.”
“You just can’t put that kind of grandmotherly love and culinary craftsmanship into words?”
“I just can’t remember much that happens between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”