However, in New England, I notice that many people still can’t give up Christmas, even in February.
Even if the wreath has turned brown and the front stoop is studded with dead pine needles.
In Delaware, where she lives, front doors are already festooned with heart-shaped berry-infused wreaths.
But not here, where the temps hover at 15 and…
“Oh my gosh, there’s Maurice,” my mom says as we drive around my new street, my new neighborhood.
“WHAT?” I tamp down my anger.
“Maurice!” Mom points to the door of a neighbor who lives five houses away.
“How the heck do you know Maurice?” I ask her with clenched jaw. My mom is the friendly one in my family. She meets someone and within five minutes she knows his mother’s uncle’s sister-in-law’s name; the ages of his children, nieces, and nephews; and how many dogs he’s owned in the past 30 years.
On the other hand, I’m the shy one. It can take me four months before I get brave enough to wave HI! to someone new. My guy and I have lived here for a little over four months, and I certainly haven’t met the neighbors three, four, or five doors down, and definitely no one named Maurice.
“Maurice,” my mom repeats.
“Yes, what about him?” I ask impatiently, waiting to hear that he’s on his way to Aruba, or that his son just got a promotion as C.E.O, or whatever mom has found out during her brief visit here, while I have kept quiet and unfriendly, and unbefriended.
“Maurice!” she answers, obviously annoyed with me and expecting me to know whatever Maurice’s news is. “Maurice!! MAURICE!”
I stomp on the brakes in front of Maurice’s house. Okay, perhaps I should suck in my shyness and just go up and knock on the door and introduce myself. God knows what my mom has already told him about me.
“Why are you stopping here?” Mom asks, surprised.
“To meet Maurice!” I shout back, mad at myself for dumping my irritation onto her.
But mom just laughs.
She laughs so hard the car begins to shake.
She laughs so hard I calm down and smile at her. She is making no sense, but hey, she’s certainly enjoying herself.
Her bursts of laughter lighten enough for me to raise a questioning eyebrow.
“M o r e
W R E A T H S.
That’s all I was trying to point out to you.
There’s more wreaths.”
I look up at Maurice’s door and sure enough, there’s another Christmas wreath, with bow and baubles, hanging on the door.
“Oh,” I say. “Maurice doesn’t live there?”
She shakes her head, beginning to laugh again.
“Darn, and I was just getting to like him,” I say.
We stay in the car for another good five minutes, trying to control our paroxysms of giggles, before continuing our drive around the new neighborhood.