Colin Smith Law PLLC November 2019

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November 2019

Celebrating the Holidays With My Family Here’s to a Wonderful Season This Year!

When the holidays come around, it’s one of the best times of year to be together and indulge in old traditions, start new ones, and create memories. Looking back, what makes you laugh? Those are the things we remember fondly, even if they were painful at the time. It’s funny how the negative memories fade into obscurity as time passes. I had to rack my brain to think of a few. But, why try and remember the negative stuff? Because negative memories are the color in an otherwise black and white photo. My extended family is famous for three things: criticism, complaining, and, of course, a need to share unsolicited advice with other family members. How much? If complaining were a sport, my family went to the Olympics, won gold, turned pro, and made the hall of fame. One of the more heavily litigated topics is always if should we do something different this year. where we were seated at a table which prevented us from being able to converse. Scratch that idea — which was about the only unanimous decision we ever made. Another year, we were iced into my aunt’s house in Dallas for several days. It’s amazing that one of us wasn’t tried for murder. Another year, my cousin decided to draw a brick road from the fireplace to the coffee table … on the carpet … with a magic marker … the day before all the family was to come over for Thanksgiving weekend. Needless to say, “parenting advice” was rampant throughout the holiday. At my grandmother’s house, if you were a boy or man, the best place to be was outside. The men smoked, drank, and talked while It rarely happens. One year, nobody wanted to cook, so we had our meal at a fancy hotel,

the children played ball. It managed to get us away from the catfights that were taking place inside the house. Or the food tradition. One family member made mashed potatoes for the meal every year. (We’re Irish, so we’ve got to have potatoes.) The recipe is very simple: Boil potatoes, strain and mash aforementioned potatoes, and serve. Obviously, this (and other similar fare, some excellent and some horrible) led children to advocate heavily for Domino’s pizza, much to the detriment of the adults with their feet cemented in tradition. Anyone who dared deviate from the “family recipes” at anyone’s house had to deal with the unbridled criticism that was sure to follow. “Grandma’s is better” and other similar phrases were oft heard in the house. Thank God for alcohol.

We have some family favorites. I enjoy cooking, especially French pepper steaks (renamed “Aunt Pat steaks” in honor of my dearly departed godmother who loved them). The recipe is on Page 3, and they go great with mashed potatoes, especially when I make the them. When I make mashed potatoes, the goal is to cause a heart attack, so butter, heavy cream, and salt are all musts. To be honest, the recipe isn’t mine. The Strake Jesuit Mother’s Club, in our senior year, gave each graduate a cookbook of their family’s favorite recipes. This is courtesy of my one of our mothers, who had recently relocated from Paris to Houston. Bon appétit. The next time your family drives you nuts and you want to tear your hair out, just remember: You’ll miss this someday. Enjoy it while it lasts.

-Colin Smith

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