This is the time of year that many people are dealing with holiday leftovers.
Turkey gets made into potpie. Ham sliced into biscuits. Sandwiches, soups, stews and especially hashes, become regular menu items.
I’m trying to deal with a different kind of leftover.
I like to hug people. Maybe it’s an Italian thing because my mom’s family kisses and hugs the way most Americans shake hands. Or maybe it’s a Southern thing, because “hug my neck” was one of the first things anyone in my dad’s family said to someone they loved and hadn’t seen in a while.
And, I like to tell people I love them ever since my friend Nathalie taught me the value of saying “I love you” freely rather than doling it out only to the few I would lay my life down for. Because love makes the recipient and the giver feel better.
But, then came Covid. And quarantine. And social distancing.
Hugs morphed into distant waves or, if we felt daring, elbow bumps. Hanging out and telling people I loved them morphed into zoom calls, not nearly as satisfying because I kept wanting to read the book titles in the fake backgrounds, or getting distracted by a wandering pet behind the oblivious speaker on my screen.
As a result, I have a lot of love left over. It builds up like the steam in a pressure cooker, another thing some people are doing with extra food items. Sometimes the love just spews out to let off some pressure. When that happens, I send random love texts to friends and family. Sentimental, almost weepy texts about how much they mean to me.
“Are you drunk?” my daughter will text back.
No, not drunk. Just letting out some of the leftover love.
Just like people resign themselves to lots and lots of turkey meals in early December, I think my friends and family are going to have to resign themselves to a surfeit of love from me next year, or whenever it’s safe to venture out again.
An overload of hugs and kisses and sentiment.
Because, even if I make a hash of things with my exuberant affection, hash is just one of the things you have to do when you have so much left over.