Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Twelve Stages of Christmas & Some Other Grinchy Things on my Mind

grinch1

 

A week or so ago, I sent an email to my sisters that I titled 'The Twelve Stages of Christmas' (as a joke, mostly).  Shawn ignored it (mental stuff makes her feel awkward) and Donda asked if she could pass it on to her friends. 

What!?  Well, she was nice enough to see something sentimental in it--but I was in a grinchy mood when I wrote the damn thing, and it was just to show my sisters how scroogier I seem to be getting with each passing Christmas.  (I guess I've also been preoccupied with the economy and my 401K--my goal of retiring in 15 years has gone right up the chimney.)   Forget about "A Miracle on 34th Street", we need a miracle on Wall Street instead! 

Anyway--I almost posted it here, but (fortunately for you) decided not to at the last minute.  Suffice it to say that it begins with myself in the 1960s, in a near-faint from the yuletide excitement, and ends in 2008 with me pondering over a string of lights and wondering what a pretty Christmas noose it'd make.  Yeah, so what! 

grinch1a

 

My brother-in-law Bobby & my sister Donda wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas...   

Okay, all kidding aside I hope my family and loved ones enjoy their holidays, and if I come across as a humbugger, I apologize.  Just because I'm not feeling it doesn't mean I don't want everyone I care about...blab blab blab...you know.  

There are perks to being a grinch, you know.  For example, I've finally grown cynical enough to stop feeling guilty about not decorating my apartment; In fact I've never bought a tree, all the time I've lived here--but at least now I don't feel bad about it.  This is also the first year that I haven't mailed out 4 dozen Christmas cards; I refuse to feel guilty about this either--most of 'em go out to people I haven't seen or talked to in years!   Who is Tim and Sarah Michel?  They've been getting one from me since 1995! 

grinch2

Christmas cards with glitter make an especially nice fire... 

I know that people say "Well, Christmas is the time of year when you catch up on what's going on with so-and-so"'; but when you're both exchanging "Happy Holidays" & nothing else, it all seems a bit contrite, doesn't it?!

In all honesty, I suppose the holidays just haven't felt the same to me since Mom passed away around Christmas 2004.  While I miss her year 'round, it's especially so at Christmas.   Here's a true story:  

 

Mom & The Mystery of the Snowman's Wife"  grinch2a

Back in 2001 when I was home for Thanksgiving,  Mom asked me to help her set out her outdoor Christmas decorations.  

She told me to head down to the basement & bring up her Snowman Family, a wooden trio made for her by an old family friend.  So I go downstairs, find & bring up Papa Snowman & Junior... but no Mrs. Snowman.  She tells me to keep looking.

 

  • DOUG (yelling up the cellar steps):  Mom, I thought you just had 2?  That's all you had in your yard last year, y'know...
  • MOM (yelling from upstairs):  WRONG, IT’S A FAMILY YOU NITWIT.  KEEP LOOKING.
  • (20 minutes later)

  • DOUG:  Mom, there's no snow-wife down here!!
  • MOM:   TRY LOOKING FOR IT WITH YOUR EYES OPEN, THAT ALWAYS WORKS FOR ME!
  • (20 minutes later)

  • DOUG:  MOM, IS THERE A HIDDEN ROOM DOWN HERE I DON'T KNOW ABOUT?!
  • MOM:   YEAH, ITS WHERE I HID YOUR BRAIN!  GET ME MY MISSUS SNOWMAN!
  • (20 minutes later)

  • DOUG:  Hey Mom, remember me!?  I've been down here for an hour, you wanna throw some food down the stairs?  Cause it looks like I'll be here all friggin night...
  • MOM:   THERE'S RAT POISON UNDER THE SINK AND SOME PETRIFIED POTATOES FROM THE CIVIL WAR IN THAT BACK ROOM!  
  • DOUG:  This is the best Thanksgiving ever!
  • MOM:   Doug do you see that phone down there?  On the wall with the shelves? 
  • DOUG:  Yes!
  • MOM:   THEN WHY DON'T YOU CALL THE SHERIFF AND TELL HIM YOU'RE BEING HELD PRISONER IN YOUR MOTHERS CLEAN BASEMENT!
  • DOUG:  Isn't this where Frankie comes to pee?
  • MOM:   GET THE $%#%^@@*!! BACK UP HERE YA BIG BABY!
  • (Once upstairs)

  • MOM:  Doug, go outside and look at my front yard!
  • DOUG:  Yeah, I see 'em.  The snowmen--very pretty.
  • MOM:   Pretty RETARDED!  As soon as you're gone I'm gonna go bring up my Missus Snowman and tell everyone you're blind as a bat!
  • (The following week, I am back in Pittsburgh; I come home from work & there's a message on my answering machine from Mom.  "Hi honey...please call me as soon as possible..."   I call her right away.

     

  • DOUG:  Mom?  Is something wrong?
  • MOM:   Do you love me?
  • DOUG:  Yes...
  • MOM:   Do you promise not to kill me?
  • DOUG:  Oh boy...
  • MOM:   After you left, I tore that basement apart looking for my missus snowman--I couldn't find it, and called Peter Rumskey to ask if he'd make me a new missus, as somehow I lost the first one.  He said "Linda, I only made ya two to begin with...what made ya think you had a third?"
  • DOUG:  OMIGOD, and you thought I was the crazy one!!
  • MOM:   Well, THAT hasn't changed--I just wanted to tell ya there's no third snowman.  But hey--you could've come upstairs anytime, that's your own damn fault, fool!
  • grinch3

    Well, as grumpy as I've been, it's fond memories like that (and the picture below--my niece Sophie is telling Santa she wants underwear for Christmas) that still make the holidays special.  And okay--I can't wait for that elf to see the Easy Bake oven I got her!

    Merry Christmas Everyone

    grinch3a

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