Quote of the Day:
“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveller, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home! ” ~Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1836
TB’s enjoying a moment of holiday solitude and reflection before the fire and thinking about the 38 Christmases I’ve known. The best gifts ever, as judged by how readily they leap to mind, were the train set around 1979 and the Atari 2600 in 1982. The train was something I’d never considered. I probably had seen pictures of them in the Sears Catalogue we used each year to mark our wish lists and discounted one as a present. After all, something that large would definitely cost too much by my logic of the era. A lot of fun was had with that train even though my left-handed Dad and I (with no excuse but ineptitude) outright butchered most of the model buildings we built. The 2600 though was the biggest surprise. My Mom insisted time and again through the late fall that the 2600 was both a budget buster and that video games were an inadvisable use of time. One late December day as our by now familiar debate heated up once again my Dad finally weighed in with his “no and that’s final” edict. In tone and expression, I knew he meant it and surrendered unconditionally all hopes of Space Invader Yuletide bliss. Never before or since has he employed said tactic and failed to enforce it. To this day I do not know whether he was overruled by Moma or was going nuclear on the deception. If I had to bet I’d say it was the former.
As much as I treasure the memory of the unearned annual bounty that typified my childhood Christmas morns, my recollections immediately fly to the loot hauled in by my asshole runnin buddies. It was the same way back in the old days. No sooner had I finished my last sweep under the tree to find one last passed over hidden gem, I’d get on the phone and call BR. We’d conspire to rid ourselves of family obligations as soon as possible and bring our best portable pieces to a central location to show off and share. I recall his bikes and his Broncos gear, but mostly I think we’d dump within minutes whatever we got that morning in favor of a tried and true basketball or football, and we’d get right back to the classic sporting confrontations we always waged. But he wearing his new bright Bronco orange and me with the equally new, but eminently more tasteful orange of the Dolphins.
For Smily I didn’t have to call. He and his brother were the kings of Christmas on our street. First automated preschool motorcycles, later go-carts and three wheelers, those boys would zoom back and forth on their cutting edge gifts for hours while BR and I silently wondered at our sad plight. Our parents would never measure up to such a level of cool. An even more vivid memory regarding Smily is one of our earliest and typically inane arguments. Smily, you see, lived in a home without benefit of a chimney. He insisted Santa simply came in the back door to leave his gifts, but the logic of this assertion completely mystified me. If he could do this, why bother with chimneys at other houses? Some fact was missing. Either Smily was lying or misinformed or…..well, the alternative was unthinkable.
It is cliché, but to see through the eyes of a child is to truly appreciate Christmas to its fullest. I guess the best way to do that is to bring back all those old memories. Here’s to your own treasure trove within.
For those of you new to the TBU and from some place other than South Mississippi or Louisiana, I give you “The Cajun Night Before Christmas”. I hope somebody posts a better version to You Tube before next year, but for now this will have to do.