aka “Christmas at The Klumps”

“How many strays are you bringing this year?”

That was how my mom asked me how many people would be joining us for dinner. The answer was two, in addition to my clan. My best friend and a friend whose wedding I did the ceremony for earlier this year. Our family has never made much of a distinction between “friends” and “family”, so everyone who sits at our dinner table is considered family. That’s probably the closest thing to a tradition that we have.

Mind you, I’ve been out of the will ever since my “mom I can’t wait til you go senile so I can keep you in the attic and use you to scare my kids” routine. I’m am actually twice removed from the will, my mom explained that on her best days, my name is only penciled in. My best friend wasted no time pointing out that he has made a better son than me. [It was pointed out by my sister that it is probable that he will make it into the will just so my mom can mess with me one more time from beyond.]

My brother and I were born in London, England, my mother in Jamaica, and my father in America. So, to the background music of Ska versions of Gospel classics, we sat down to partake of a dinner that consisted of:

macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, BBQ wings, turkey, green bean casserole, curried goat, boiled bananas, rice and beans, collalou, rolls, stuffing, cranberry sauce, meatballs, cole slaw, potato salad, corn on the cob, and Jamaican patties, with apple pie and bread and butter putting for dessert.

Besides our usual antics, the merciless jokes, the throwing of food, the dancing, the capper line of the day came from my five year old when he pronounced that “Daddy talks too much when he drinks.” My brother kept mouthing “WTF” every time this little old lady, who was a friend of my mom’s, began one of her stories (mostly because all of her stories were lengthy and ended with someone getting sick or dying). Of course, my brother is the same sentimentalist that handed my mom a blank card and envelope and said “Write your name in it. Merry Christmas.”

None of us were born and raised in vacuums. We have people that formed us, whose voices spoke into our lives, shaping us. My family helped make me into the man I am today. However, four hours with them is more than any of us natural born Broadduses can ask of those who married into us. But, such quality family time helps inform them of the madness they married into. God, I love the bunch of nuts I call family. “Merry Christmas, Broadduses.”


R.I.P. Brotha James

If you have any doubts about how much he meant to his people, know that the Broaddus family dinner was interrupted by calls from England and Jamaica not wishing us “Merry Christmas” but “Did you hear that James Brown died?”

I just got through with a YouTube mini-wake of sorts, reliving him performing Sex Machine, or I Feel Good, or Eye Sight. Though many folks might only remember him from his scene in The Blues Brothers.

R.I.P. brotha.

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