Christmas in Peru was always an option

Sometimes at Christmas my mother would threaten to go to Peru.

I never quite understood this as a child, oblivious as I was to the heightened stress the holiday can bring.

I just assumed everybody was as crazy about Christmas as I was, and that any “disagreements” my parents were having during the most wonderful time of the year were simply seasonal spats.

But now I get it.

Now I can appreciate that Christmas is no guarantee, no assurance, that your “marital-bliss” days in December will be any merrier and brighter than any other month of the year.

Better Half and I couldn’t agree on much of anything last weekend, but one point we couldn’t argue — we didn’t particularly care for each other very darn much.

Sure, we love each other.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’re a longtime old married couple, grown kids, horses and a cat and a house, a car and a truck, the whole kit and caboodle, living the dream, as the popular response goes when you ask people how they’re doing.

But, man, we were getting on each other’s nerves big time for some reason, not at all interested in joining in each other’s reindeer games.

It’s not that the day didn’t hold potential, mind you. After all, he had promised to take me out to “dinner” — i.e. free popcorn at Rural King.

And that was way, way better than anything I had planned on cooking, so I was feeling pretty positive about a Saturday husband-and-wife outing to do some Christmas stuff — take in a parade, do a little Christmas shopping and grocery shopping, rub elbows with nutcrackers, that sort of thing.

Before we even left the house, though, I realized I couldn’t do much of anything right, so I looked for evidence that he suffered a similar affliction.

I, for example, had erred and bought something low sodium, a sin in a household that worships salt. I was scolded.

He, on the other hand, had put clothes in the dryer earlier, a helpful gesture had he hit the “start” button. Always a catch, I smugly reminded him.

Sometimes little annoyances roll off your shoulders and you move on with things. Other times, the petty piles up, and you’ve got yourself a backache.

Ho, ho, ho. Mr. and Mrs. Grumpy go to town.

After the Christmas parade, we mingled with nutcrackers and browsed around the Visitors Center at Historic Fort Steuben. I couldn’t find Better Half at one point, then noticed he was standing in a rather long line in the gift shop to buy something.

This I found pretty amazing, considering I’ve never seen him stand in line for much of anything other than the bathroom.

He’d bought a book on the Constitution, a gift for himself, he later explained.

I considered getting myself a gift, too, maybe a ticket to Peru.

But I settled for making good on that popcorn “dinner.”

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a columnist and community editor with the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at