With all that’s been going on as of late I’m having some trouble figuring out exactly what to write about.
It’s 3 days before Christmas and I’ve obviously been sidetracked from all things merry.
Sometimes it really sucks to be an adult at this time of year as we’re saddled with so much emotional baggage.
With the End of the World (that was supposedly today), a tanking economy,
the movie theater incident in Aurora, Colorado, nukes and threats of biological warfare
to the ultimate tragedy in Newtown, Ct.,
I’m almost out of words, thoughts and reasonable explanations.
At this time of the year why go there anyway?
Memories are much needed solace sometimes.
I’m thinking back to Christmas of 1986 when Pamela was pregnant with Sarah.
Her due date was December 30th but she was having labor pains on Christmas Eve.
I remember writing down the minutes between contractions thinking that if I missed one there would be hell to pay.
That Christmas was frighteningly frigid.
With two cats in the house and a wood fire burning we were warm, content but somewhat uncomfortable not knowing when the water would break and the baby would fall.
You can never be settled or comfortable when your wife looks at you with an expression that says,
“Son of a bitch! Merry Christmas! Son of a bitch!”
Christmas Eve went by without a hitch.
I remember Pamela wearing a vibrant red dress that day as we drove to my parent’s house in Oxford for Christmas Dinner.
In my humble opinion, she looked absolutely incredible.
Truth, albeit somewhat uncomfortable.
I loved seeing her with a belly bigger than Santa.
We arrived and began Christmasing with my Mom and Dad, sister and brother-in-law, cousins, grandparents, family and friends.
We weren’t there for more than two hours when I noticed Pamela wincing by the Christmas tree in the living room.
And we were just about to eat.
Son of a bitch.
A ton of really good food.
Pamela said, “We have to go now,” a pained look on her face.
“Now?” I said, really hoping she would say she was just kidding.
So much for Christmas Dinner.
We left for the hospital as any first parents would.
At 4:13am on December 26th, Sarah entered the world.
I remember crying, seeing her enter the world.
I remember, vividly.
I left the hospital around 6:30am exhausted and hungry.
I called my Mom and was told to “just come out.”
I arrived to hugs, kisses and the Christmas Dinner that I’d missed the day before.
My Mom and Dad were over the roof in terms of happiness.
Their first grandchild.
I ate my turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy and cranberry sauce with a smile on my face at 6:30am.
Dinner never tasted so good.
This is a memory that will stay with me forever.
It was shortly after that Christmas that Alzheimer’s reared its ugly head.
Merry Christmas to all that visit and read here.
I wish all of you peace, love, the spirit of Christmas and the ultimate solace of memory.
Be safe, be well and be happy.
Catch all of you next year . . .
If I could write an amazing Christmas instrumental for my wife,
it would go something like this.
A complex Vince Gueraldi kind of song, if you will.
Almost as beautiful as she is . . .
This picture speaks 1,001 words.
Not much else left to say.
Santa is sad but he knows that life must go on . . .
Grab a cup or glass of your preferred beverage, relax and listen.
If you’re not into jazz/fusion this is NOT for you.
But if you have an hour or so to kick around consider this my Christmas present to you.
Svensson is incredible as is this video.
I hope this thing plays . . .
If you’re lucky enough, there’s a person in your life that makes everything easier;
they hurt when you hurt, they cry when you cry, they laugh when you laugh.
If you’re lucky enough, there’s a person whose soul sees what you see,
understands, accepts and agrees to the crazy thoughts and ideas that you hold dear and true.
Even though you’re still totally nuts0.
If you’re lucky enough,
there’s a person in your life that you just can’t live without because they make you see
the good and bad that resides in your heart changing you for the better, always for the better.
If you’re lucky enough, there’s a person in your life that never gives up on you,
never gives up on your dreams and never stops loving you no matter how much you screw up.
And I screw up on a daily basis.
And finally, if you’re really lucky enough, there’s a person in your life that never let’s you down,
is always there when you need a hug and never let’s you forget that you are so loved,
no matter how much of a creative screwball you really are.
I am one of the lucky ones.
Jingle my bells.
I think . . .
I have posted this every year since God only knows when.
After a not so recent comment from the author, (3.3.08) I’ve found the man behind the story and have given him full credit.
Wonderful story, Bill.
It almost made me take the chino’s to Browntown . . .
An Italian Christmas
I thought it would be a nice idea to bring a date to my parents’ house on Christmas Eve.
I thought it would be interesting for a non-Italian girl to see how an Italian family spends the holidays. I thought my mother and my date would hit it off like partridges and pear trees.
So, I was wrong. Sue me.
I had only known Karen for three weeks when I extended the invitation.
“I know these family things can be a little weird,” I told her, “but my folks
are great, and we always have a lot of fun on Christmas Eve.”
“Sounds fine to me,” Karen said.
I had only known my mother for 31 years when I told her I’d be bringing Karen with me.
“She’s a very nice girl and she’s really looking forward to meeting all of you.”
“Sounds fine to me,” my mother said.
And that was that.
Two telephone calls.
What more could I want?
I should point out, I suppose, that in Italian households, Christmas Eve is the social event of the season — an Italian woman’s reason d’etre.
She cleans. She cooks. She bakes. She orchestrates every minute of the entire evening.
Christmas Eve is what Italian women live for.
I should also point out, I suppose, that when it comes to the kind of women that make Italian men go nuts, Karen is it.
She doesn’t clean.
She doesn’t cook.
She doesn’t bake.
And she has the largest breasts I have ever seen on a human being.
I brought her anyway.
Karen and I walk in and putter around for half an hour waiting for the other guests to show up. During that half hour, my mother grills Karen like a cheeseburger and cannily determines that Karen does not clean, cook, or bake. My father is equally observant. He pulls me into the living room and notes, “She has the largest breasts I have ever seen on a human being.”
7:30 p.m. –
Others arrive. Uncle Ziti walks in with my Aunt Mafalde, assorted kids, assorted gifts.
We sit around the dining room table for antipasto, a symmetrically composed platter of lettuce, roasted peppers, black olives, salami, prosciutto, provolone, and anchovies.
When I offer to make Karen’s plate she says, “Thank you. But none of those things, okay?”
She points to the anchovies. “You don’t like anchovies?” I ask. “I don’t like fish,” Karen announces to one and all, as 67 other varieties of foods-that-swim are baking, broiling and simmering in the next room.
My mother makes the sign of the cross and things are getting uncomfortable.
Aunt Mafalde asks Karen what her family eats on Christmas Eve.
Karen says, “Knockwurst.”
My father, who is still staring in a daze, at Karen’s chest,
temporarily snaps out of it to murmur, “Knockers?”
My mother kicks him so hard he gets a blood clot.
None of this is turning out the way I’d hoped.
8:00 p.m. –
The spaghetti and crab sauce is on the way to the table. Karen declines the crab sauce and says she’ll make her own with butter and ketchup. My mother asks me to join her in the kitchen. I take
My “Merry Christmas” napkin from my lap, place it on the “Merry Christmas” tablecloth and walk into the kitchen. “I don’t want to start any trouble,” my mother says calmly, clutching a bottle of ketchup in her hands. “But if she pours this on my pasta, I’m going to throw acid in her face.” “Come on,” I tell her. “It’s Christmas. Let her eat what she wants.”
My mother considers the situation, and then nods.
As I turn to walk back into the dining room, she grabs my shoulder. “Tell me the truth,” she says, “are you serious with this tramp?”
“She’s not a tramp,” I reply. “And I’ve only known her for three weeks.”
“Well, it’s your life”, she tells me, “but if you marry her, she’ll poison you.”
8:30 p.m. –
My stomach is knotted like one of those macramé plant hangers that are always three times larger than the plants they hold. All the women get up to clear away the spaghetti dishes, except for Karen, who, instead, lights a cigarette.
“Why don’t you give them a little hand?” I politely suggest.
Karen makes a face and walks into the kitchen carrying three forks.
“Dear, you don’t have to do that,” my mother tells her, smiling painfully.
“Oh, okay,” Karen says, putting the forks on the sink.
As she reenters the dining room, a wine glass flies over her head, and smashes against the wall. From the kitchen, my mother says, “Whoops.”
I vaguely remember that line from Torch Song Trilogy. “Whoops?”
No. “Whoops is when you fall down an elevator shaft.”
More fish comes out.
After some goading, Karen tries a piece of scungilli, which she describes as “slimy, like worms.” My mother winces, bites her hand and pounds her chest like one of those old women you always see in the sixth row of a funeral home.
Aunt Mafalde does the same.
Karen, believing that this is something that all Italian women do on Christmas Eve, bites her hand and pounds her chest. My Uncle Ziti doesn’t know what to make of it.
My father’s dentures fall out and chew a six-inch gash in the tablecloth.
10:00 p.m. –
Coffee, dessert. Espresso all around. A little anisette. A curl of lemon peel.
When Karen asks for milk, my mother finally slaps her in the face with cannoli.
I guess it had to happen sooner or later.
Karen, believing that this is something that all Italian women do on Christmas Eve, picks up cannoli and slaps my mother with it.
“This is fun,” Karen says.
Fun? No. Fun is when you fall down an elevator shaft.
But, amazingly, everyone is laughing and smiling and filled with good cheer — even my mother, who grabs me by the shoulder, laughs and
“Get this bitch out of my house.”
Sounds fine to me.
This past October took I took a ride to the Deerfield Candle Factory with Pamela and our Australian friends Maureen and Mark.
The place was decked out in the traditional Christmas array of sights, sounds and scents.
It’s a magical place and if you have the time to get there before December 25th, I highly recommend that you do.
There’s even a nighttime Bavarian Village lit by vintage flickering streetlamps where it snows every 4 minutes.
It’s a place filled with secret wishes, sugarplum dreams, amazing tree ornaments and obviously every imaginable scented candle you
could ever dream of including, ‘Brown Paper Packages’ and ‘First Down’,
a mancandle that may possibly smell of broken NFL dreams and dirty jock straps, or not.
The ‘Man Candles’ gave me much in the pause department: Riding Mower, 2X4 and Mantown?
No Super Sweaty Golf Balls?
And lastly the weirdest 2 candles (to me) were ‘Whiskers on Kittens’ and ‘Schnitzel and Noodles’.
Don’t bogart that joint my friend, pass it over to me.
What the hell do whiskers smell like and how would they actually make that scent?
Be on the lookout for my own list of the top 10 rejected Yankee Candle Scents.
Turns out that this post isn’t about candle scents and snowflakes it’s about the letter that you see at the top of my post.
A good portion of the DCF caters to children during the Christmas season and I happened to walk by a corkboard filled with letters written by children of all ages to the holiday machine we created and called ‘Kris Kringle’.
Most letters were as you would suspect:
Please bring me an Xbox 360 with at least 2 games and a new Nano Ipod because I lost mine.
An Ipad would be great but I won’t count on that. My parents are too cheap to buy me one.
Say hi to Rudolph for me. And I promise to leave you cookies and milk this year.
I love you!”
“Dear Santa, Hi! How are you? How are your reindeer doing?
What are you doing in the North Poal? I am so ecxited about Chrismas.
I woud like a CD player and a Gameboy Advance and a backpack.
Let me see if I got this right;
Bella doesn’t want anything for herself,
She wants happiness for her Mom because her Dad is a jerk,
She wants happiness for her family,
And she wants Santa to make her cousin Chrystal’s life better.
This little girl ‘gets’ the holiday while the world goes on not even taking notice of this most simple prayer.
And yes, it is a most vibrant Christmas prayer.
We are bombarded on a daily basis with commercials, videos, signs, radio commercials, TV commercials
and pop-ups on our computers telling us to be happy because that’s what this season is all about.
Where the hell did we go wrong?
This little girl sent me a personal message in the most innocent of ways telling me that this most blessed of holidays
is not about acquiring the most expensive of gifts.
It’s not about the stuff under the tree.
It’s about the people AROUND the tree that make the difference.
Right now, this little girl doesn’t have that.
Her letter made me cry inside because it was absolutely true.
This disjointed familial stuff pervades our society and the world at large.
A happy holiday?
Maybe for some.
Sadly, not for all.
Try to see through the commercial glitz and glamour of a holiday that has literally spiraled out of control in terms of meaning and substance.
Get away from the artificial joyful noise and the constant jingle bells where you will hopefully arrive at a place where your heart can be happy without the need for the stuff that the Media says you need to be happy.
I want BellaM to get every single thing on her list this year.
Maybe even a pony for good measure.
I will say a prayer for her on Christmas Eve even though I don’t even know her.
And I will pray she gets love.
Stockings full of love.
How about you?
just saying . . .