DOES SHE KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME AT ALL?
Why yes, yes she does.
The titular she being Your Humble Blogger, of course.
I have, since my recent entry in which I observed that as far as my solipsistic little world-view goes, Christmas was months ago and it is now early February, received many imaginative and amusing reminders of just how wrong I am!
Many thanks to the alert readers who notified me of my error, especially Cap’n Betty Bligh of the Saratoga Float ‘N’ Bloat Boat Babes, who wrote all the way from Maryland to inform me that it is, in fact, still 2002! But one can’t blame me for wanting this stinking, low-water, high-anxiety year to come to an end, can one?
And there have been other reminders, o yes, right within my own dear personal family unit.
First, my own dear personal dad took to the Christmas tree he personally acquired on an actual by god trip into the actual by god woods (during which trip he managed to immerse himself thigh deep in what had to have been the deepest spot in the entire creek up there. It was covered with a thin layer of ice and snow and totally invisible, he says. And he’s my dad and would never lie to me, so I believe him, though I still say it’s a right flimsy excuse for missing Tad the Grocer’s “wino party”) and sculpted it into a proper tree shape, fashioning festive holiday wreaths (oh, so many wreaths!) out of the amputated boughs...
Fast forward a week or two later, and said tree is standing naked in my parents’ living room until it could assume a state of semi-habile... and there the merriment begins.
My father and I knew with the certainty that can only come with years and years of close proximity to my own dear personal mom that, once the strings of lights had been untangled from the box into which they were impatiently shoved in January and retangled around the boughs of the Christ-X* tree, the countdown would be on... how many hours could she endure the sight before she would point out that there was (GASP!) (SOB!) (CHOKE!) (GUFFAW!) a "hole" (meaning a large section of tree with no lights, rather than an actual physical puncture or other lacuna in the substance of the tree. I think) mid-tree.
It went something like this:
MODPM: Honey, there’s a hole in the tree about halfway down. Can you see it?
MODPD (already starting to laugh): Why, so there is.
Silence reigns for a few minutes, until YHB can no longer stifle the giggle (and regrets that she didn’t arrange a more formal wager with her own dear personal dad). All three actors in the scene contemplate the tree for a moment until at last...
MODPM: So you see it, do you?
At this point two things are obvious. No, make that three: 1. MODPM is hoping that MODPD will get up and fix the hole, 2. MODPD will, eventually, fix the hole, but, 3. It is not yet obvious, though portents are distressingly favorable, that the Broncos are going to lose again.
YHB: (snorts in a most unladylike fashion)
MODPM: OK, just so you know.
MODPD: I’ll take care of it soon.
MODPM (lying through her own dear personal teeth): Well, it doesn’t have to happen right this minute, of course.
MODPD and YHB break out into peals and howls of laughter, despite the fact that poor Brian Griese just threw another interception.
MODPM: What’s so funny?
MODPD/YHB continue to laugh for upwards of two minutes. Tears stream down their own dear personal faces, which begin to turn red from the exertion of laughing so hard. It is clearly genuine and not rhetorical laughter, because MODPD’s laugh is in the falsetto range rather than the deep and rumbling belly laugh he affects at, say, morning coffee, most likely for the purposes of echolocation.
MODPM: Oh, you two.
The game ends. The Broncos lose. We all sigh, MODPD and YHB still faintly giggling.
MODPD (arising from the easy chair to look out the window): Look, Mom** we’ve got some competition in the neighborhood.
He is pointing at a trailer house catty-corner from Fort Sherrod, newly festooned with icicle lights and other finery. Now it is MODPM’s turn to giggle along with me, because we, too, know what’s coming next.
MODPD: You know, I have some of those icicle lights stashed somewhere, I know I do! (begins digging through the boxes and boxes of ornaments and other goodies strewn about the living room floor. There are enough ornaments to decorate the tree at Rockefeller Center. There are packages and packages of icicles. There are containers of Christ-X cards and gift tags. But no icicle lights)
The unspoken message here being that our front fence suddenly looks shamefully naked to a man who, let’s not forget, was best friends with the late lamented King of Christmas himself, who paid village small fry ridiculous sums of money every year to drape every stationary thing, and several ambulatory ones, in his yard and on his house with at least seven strings of Christmas lights each...
MODPM: Well, let’s fix the hole in the Christmas tree, first.
MODPD proceeds to re-drape one of the strings of lights on the tree, thus, of course, creating a new hole someplace else, and also making things worse in that:
MODPM: Now there’s three red lights right in a row. It looks like Orion’s belt.
MODPD and YHB, predictably, go into another fit of laughter which it is a Christmas miracle with which to regale friends and family for untold generations that it did not end in vomiting.
MODPM: What? You see it, don’t you Kate?
Exeunt MODPD, who has gone outside to sneak a cigarette and contemplate the outside fence. He stands there, meditatively, for quite some time. Meanwhile, MODPM, exasperated but temporarily distracted, puts the finishing touches on Sunday dinner and assembles the scrap plate with which we distract the Collie of Folly so she doesn’t try to steal food from the dinner table. YHB takes said plate and escorts the C of F outdoors, to find her own dear personal dad strolling up and down along the fence and muttering to himself, casting the occasional fell look in the direction of the new competition across the street. YHB giggles a bit, then returns to the house after informing said dad that dinner is ready.
MODPM: Where’s your dad?
YHB: Outside smoking and trying to remember where the icicle lights are.
MODPM begins to howl with her own laughter.
Oh, and this just in. A little leonine birdie has informed me that Tad the Grocer and other parties recently offended by the actions of a certain mad snowplower have arranged a most suitable revenge, even though it’s going to cost a fifth of Jack Daniels. Satisfying, satisfying.
Oh, and stay tuned: tomorrow is the Oracle’s birthday. Surely the Chicken Lady has something special in store for him. Surely!
Oh, and there’s our Christ-X* concert Sunday. As usual, two performances: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., to make sure the Sewer King and I miss the Bronco game completely. But don’t worry; we have ways of making up for that, too.
*The immortal phrase “Christ-X” is derived from a practice initiated by several young acquaintances of mine from my Boston days, who all went to Catholic school together. One year they were severely reprimanded for spelling out “Merry Xmas” in lights because Xmas seemed sacreligious to the powers that were at the school. So they fixed it to read “Merry Christ-X” and a legend was born.
**My own dear personal dad having several years ago completed his first hurdle towards true codgerhood when he began calling his wife “mother.”