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 I suppose) 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 night!
  • MOM:   THERE'S SOME RAT POISON UNDER THE SINK AND 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 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:  WHY.
  • 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:  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!
  • 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 this elf to see the Easy Bake oven I got her!

    Merry Christmas Everyone

    grinch3a

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