Father Kevin had been a staple at the Johnson family Christmas for as long as anyone could remember. Not that most of the family attended church regularly anymore, except for Mitchell and Constance. Well, really, Constance was the one who went the most and insisted that Father Kevin show up for all holidays. And he did, as Constance liked to show her devotion to the church with a card full of cash and a bottle of nice whiskey for him every Christmas, and why would he pass that up? He didn’t openly drink in front of his constituents, but the family had figured out over the years that the mugs of black tea he drank all evening were actually very strong hot toddies. Not that anyone in the family had any place to judge, considering the bottles of random types of booze Father Kevin had found stashed around the house over the years. But that was part of the appeal of the Johnson house during the holidays; he wasn’t the only one getting secretly sloshed on a hidden bottle of booze over the course of the evening.
He had the best seat in the house: near the end of the far side of the table, totally ignored by the children and basically everyone else at this point in the night. It seemed like everyone had forgotten about him after Constance had presented him with the card and bottle of Basil Hayden’s. He’d already brought his flask, as he didn’t like to open the bottle at the table and walk the three blocks back to the rectory with an open bottle. He would discreetly go to the kitchen in between everyone else’s visits to their hidden stashes of booze, where he’d get a fresh black tea bag, a lemon wedge, and a drizzle of honey from the bear-shaped squeeze bottle on the windowsill. Once he let the tea steep, added the lemon and drizzled the honey, he’d take a large slurp, then open the flask and pour it up to the top of the mug. He’d take another glug of undiluted whiskey, stir it all together, then make his way back to the table. He knows that at least once during a refill, someone else came in and rooted around for booze, but their unspoken agreement not to say anything, and Father Kevin’s farsightedness, meant the person was mainly a blur. The whiskey probably didn’t help, either.
After his sixth hot toddy, Father Kevin stumbled back to the table and picked up a piece of pie. He’d eat it, take a tiny nap in his chair, then slip out before the children went absolutely nuts ripping open presents. How did there get to be so many children? he asked himself, head nodding slightly forward. The rest of the family seemed to be alternately yelling or deadly silent as the kids got more and more excited and sugar high off of Christmas treats. He put down his plate, drained the rest of the mug, and let his eyes close. Naptime. What bliss.
Scent Notes: Strong black tea, lemon, honey, and a touch of cinammon