Two sisters quenching their thirst for holiday cheer.
Do you ever have one of those memories that when you think on it, you burst into laughter? I have a few – but for the sake of the holidays, and I will walk you down my Berry Merry Christmas fiasco with my now sister-in-law, Jewels.
It was 2007 and it was an especially wicked winter in Whiteman, Missouri where my husband and I were stationed. My mother- and sister-in-law were staying with me in my apartment while they were looking for a suitable place to live, so we were all spending the holidays together. It was truly an awesome holiday season. Something you need to know about my in-laws is that they are 100% fly by the seat of your pants kind of gals. Jewels, my sister-in-law, is our flower child, and if I could compare her to someone, Stevie Knicks comes to mind instantly.
We were sitting in my living room watching movies while my mother-in-law and husband were studying for his upcoming five-level (a huge military test to qualify for promotion). Everyone knows that when you have to be quiet, it is nearly impossible, and we were drinking cheap Arbor Mist Berry Merry wine, so everything was extra funny, and I was twenty-one at the time.
Now, we didn’t realize when we bought the bottle, we were going to enjoy it so much – so naturally we thought, “WE NEED MORE”! The base was about two miles up the road, but it was freezing outside, and it was dark – two things I absolutely hate. However, when you are in need, you layer up and go on a Berry Merry Mission, as we called it.
I should have known we were set up for disaster, because as I was running to the car, I slipped on a patch of ice and managed to somehow slide under the vehicle. I was so irritated, I just laid there for a moment while Julia was doubled over in laughter.
Not two seconds later, as she was making her way over to me, she slipped on ice and ran into the front fender of the car next to us and ricocheted off of it, and the quarter panel of my car, and landed next to me.
I was crying I was laughing so hard.
Cold, wet, and thirsty, we got up like two baby deer on ice and slowly climbed into the vehicle. Once we were in and the heater was turned to Dante’s Inferno, I realized I forgot my purse in the house. We both looked at each other and as is tradition in the Boxx household, we played rock-paper-scissors to determine who would traverse the icy sidewalks to my apartment.
I lost. I fell – several times. Let’s move on.
When we got to the shoppette, we literally cleaned them out of the wine and looked like total lushes. At this point, I saw some of my command enter the store and I quickly devised a plan. I mean, they can’t know I am going to consume this wine, so naturally Jewels and I decided we were attending a party, and this was the beverage we were dispatched to collect. PERFECT! We walked past the frozen section and noticed that we were in lounge-wear – and it was not something you would wear to a party. We stopped instantly. Think. Think.
At this point, my First Sergeant and one of the Flight Chiefs rounded a corner and saw me and Jewels standing with a grocery cart full to the brim of Berry Merry wine.
Palms sweaty and heart pounding, I about played possum and fell to the floor. Now, I realize how absurd this is today, because there was nothing they could say or do. But at twenty-one and being active duty, sneezing wrong scared the absolute hell out of you.
Somehow in tandem, we both started talking about this imaginary Christmas party and acted like we didn’t see them which of course didn’t work.
“SrA Boxx, what is all that?” I took a breath and just held up a bottle like a stuffed rabbit, “This is Berry Merry,” I said. They just stared at me like, well you are a genius. “It is a wine that is limited edition and I thought it would be nice to have on hand should I need to bring something to the squadron Christmas party.”
I could see them rolling it around in their minds, and all my certifications disappearing as they gazed upon my glorious cart of “holiday cheer”. I even did the cliché batting of the eye, which must have gone beautifully with my lounge-wear and Uggs. In my mind I looked majestic like I was wooing them, but in reality, I am sure I looked truly disastrous and 100% shameful.
It either worked OR they had had enough of staring at my miserable attempt at sexiness and gave me an awkward shrug and slowly moved passed me – making sure never to turn their backs to me. I think they may have been frightened we would follow them.
Jewels and I let out a collective sigh and made our way to the check out line, and low and behold there was a mother with her children. At this point, it was every man for themselves, and we just put our (no exaggeration) twelve to fifteen-ish bottles of Berry Merry onto the tiny counter belt and looked straight ahead. This is how I know she is family – the clerk looked at me and then at Jewels and then the mom who was eyeing us quite judgmentally, and Jewels reached over and handed her one of our bottles, winked at her and said, “It’s on us”. My jaw hit the floor as the mom smiled and high-fived Jewels.
We checked out, took our five bags of Berry Merry to the car in total silence, and once we got in the vehicle, the laughter that we rolled into was something I will never forget. It was one of the best/worst twenty minutes EVER.
We laughed the entire way home and proceeded to have a Berry Merry evening reenacting the moments to my husband and mother-in-law. Over the years, I cannot go down the liquor aisle without thinking of that night, and it has become a tradition to have a glass of Berry Merry whenever Jewels and I are together. It is the cheapest wine, but the richest memory that I will hold dear to my heart forever.