Holiday Evolution

When my nephew was born and my sister brought him home from the hospital the first gift his dad bought him was a football. Before he was even old enough to go to first grade he was playing flag football. Now, at 17 he’s a high school senior, 6’6” tall, weighs around 300 pounds, and is a star lineman. Colleges are still courting him and it wouldn’t
surprise me if he plays in the NFL

Alana and I try to get to a few of his games every year. Usually, at the first game of the season the weather is still warm. We wear our football t-shirts with the school’s logo and sunglasses. A couple of games into the football season and the weather is already
somewhat cooler, the sun is going down sooner, we put a long-sleeve turtle-neck under the t-shirt and leave our sunglasses in the car. As the season progresses, so does our attire and eventually it gets so cold that Alana and I decide to stay home.

For me, it’s the beginning of the football
season that brings the holidays to mind. I know once I attend that first game to watch my nephew play, by the time we hit mid-season its Halloween, my favorite holiday. Of course, once we get to Halloween, it seems like no time before we’re eating Thanksgiving turkey quickly followed by watching the kids (and now grandkids) open their Christmas presents and, on New Year’s Eve Alana and I celebrate our anniversary. December 31, 2015 will be our 7th Anniversary.

They say the only constant in life is change, and I find that’s true in how the holidays have evolved for me over the years.
I remember as a child I lived with my grandmother. Mom was granny’s 9th child out of 10 children. Many of mom’s brothers and sisters were grown and having kids of their own when mom was still young. All my aunts, uncles, cousins, and my cousins’ children would come to granny’s house (my house) at Christmas. It was easy for us to have nearly 100 folks in the house at
Christmas time. I loved Christmas as a child.

By the time I grew up, got married and had my own kids, granny had passed away. I had a husband and two children so Christmas Day had evolved into ‘family’ day. It would begin at the break of dawn when the kids couldn’t sleep a minute longer because they were anxious to see what Santa had brought them; then they wanted to stay home and play with their new toys so we gave up on being anywhere other than home on
Christmas Day.

Now our kids are grown, married and have kids of their own and Christmas has turned into more of an inconvenience instead of the good time it once was. Our kids know we love them, and we know they love us, so being able to enjoy leisurely visits through the year just sounds better than a ‘gotta do it’ visit during the holidays. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve become so fond of Halloween.

As a child living in the small town of Burgin, Kentucky, my sister and I would get together with the kids on our street and we’d go trick-or-treating together. It was just us kids, no parents. The first house we’d hit belonged to two spinster sisters who were teachers at our school (yes, old-maid school teachers). They handed out home-made popcorn balls and caramel apples. We wanted to make sure we got to their buy levitra vardenafil online house before their
home-made treats were all gone.

Even as an adult I still dressed in costume for Halloween to go to work. As a short, overweight woman my costume of choice was to be a clown. I could get away with doing things dressed as a clown that I wouldn’t normally do.

I remember one particular Halloween
happened to fall on payday. There was a bank next to the building where I worked and that’s where I would always get my check cashed. This particular day I walked into the bank with my clown costume on and face painted. I learned rather quickly you’re not supposed to walk into a bank in a disguise. It didn’t stop me from dressing as a clown to go to work on Halloween but it did stop me from walking into a bank when in costume.

Before Alana and I got together I looked forward to going to Jim Porter’s Goodtime Emporium (three bars/stages in one building) in Louisville with my best girlfriends each Halloween. I loved seeing all the adults in costume – more fun than any childhood Halloween party I’d ever attended.

When Alana and I first started dating,
although she had started the coming out process by telling friends and family she is transgender, she presented as female in public only on rare occasions, like when she attended the transgender support group meeting or when she’d go to a gay bar.
I had told Alana about how it had become tradition for me and my friends to dress for Halloween and go to Jim Porters, a tradition I didn’t want to break. We came up with the idea of going together, dressed as
Sonny and Cher. There was a group of five of us who went that night. We all got rooms at a local hotel, dressed into our costumes, and then it was time to meet in the lobby to take the shuttle over to the bar. Alana was fine, until it came time for her to go to the lobby dressed as Cher. She said, “Now that I’m dressed I’m not sure I can go out looking like this.”

“Why not,” I asked? “It’s Halloween. People aren’t going to care how you are dressed.”

“It’s not that,” she said, “it’s your friends. I know they are aware I am transgender, but telling them I’m transgender is one thing but them seeing me dressed like this is another. They will know this is the real me, not just a costume, and this will be the first time any of them have ever seen me dressed.”

“Honey, they are “MY” friends,” I said, “you won’t have a thing to worry about.”

We opened the door to step out of our hotel room and as we did our friend, Joe, stepped from his room about the same time. “Hello there Cher,” he said to Alana as he extended his elbow for her to take. “I’ve always wanted to meet you.” Alana smiled, locked her arm around Joe’s, and they chatted as he escorted her to the elevator.

The next day we posted on FaceBook about our fun evening presenting as Sonny and Cher for Halloween. A friend of ours saw the post, gave us a call, and asked us if we would perform as Sonny and Cher for an upcoming AIDS benefit. We gladly jumped at the chance, and our performance can be seen on YouTube at:

Yep, I can honestly say Halloween is my favorite holiday these days, and by far the least stressful.