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Grapevine : November 2011
foo" drinks or the flavored alcohols if I was in a position to get them. Of course, at the end of my drinking, most of the time I would drink what- ever I could get my hands on regard- less of how it tasted. I wanted---no, I needed---that effect that came at once from taking a few drinks. Frequently during the family holidays, no doubt because I am a little excluded from the focus on drinking, I tend to find myself feeling different, a little more of an outsider, a little more "not-part-of." I know these feelings originate within me and have nothing to do with the way my family treats me. I know they all love me and they treat me with love, respect and kindness. This year I had already helped with setting up the buffet, tables and chairs, place settings and the usual stuff. But once that was done, we had to wait another couple of hours for the food to finish cooking. This is the time everyone looks forward to, when they can relax, have their be- fore-dinner drinks, talk and laugh. I was nursing a glass of water, and feeling like an outsider, feeling useless and beginning to get into self- pity. Why can't I drink like everyone else? It's not fair! I thought. I then noticed that the smaller children were bored and running around the house, crying, fussing and arguing with each other. They were not hav- ing fun at all. Neither was I! I was instantly annoyed that the parents weren't paying attention to, disci- plining, (insert complaint here) their children at this gathering. Oh no! I could feel myself becoming irritable restless and discontent! I knew I'd better do something quick. I decided to be of service by keeping the kids occupied. So I got out of my chair, round- ed up all the kids, took them out- side in the backyard and organized them into playing as many of the old childhood games as I could re- member. We played Hide and Seek, Red Light Green Light, Mother May I, Red Rover and Duck Duck Goose. As time went by, some of the teen- agers came out and joined in. There was more laughing and fun going on outside than there was inside. The kids were having a ball, and I think I was having more fun than they were! I didn't even notice how fast the time passed. Before we knew it, it was time for dinner. Because the kids had burned so much energy, they were all (almost) perfect angels during dinner. Not only did I have a blast keeping the kids happy and occupied, but that feeling of useless- ness and self-pity had disappeared. I had lost interest in selfish things and gained interest in my fellows. I had such a great time this year, maybe I will make playing with the kids part of my normal holiday rou- tine from now on! Regan G. Mesa, Ariz. 34 November 2011