A Final (Funny) Postscript

DSC_0056Here’s a final postscript as the  jingling tinker’s wagon we call ‘the holidays’ lurches off down the road. It served as my column last week.

Remembering Christmas Past is like remembering childbirth: a certain amnesia sets in. If you asked me earlier in December what happens around here most Christmases, I’d have said not muchThen, last week, I looked up  Christmas in an old diary. 

How quickly we forget.

That year, I came up with the idea that I should send a card to 192 people, and thus spent every spare moment over a five-day period entering their names and addresses on my laptop so as to generate labels.

Finally one morning, I pressed “Print” and hurried away to take my shower – but when I came back, our nice fat-bottomed cat was delicately shredding the sheets of labels one by one as they emerged from the printer, while sitting directly ON the laptop, causing it to beep frantically, then lose its mind altogether, writing  “#!” when you tried to write “the” and “%#~” when you tried to type “when.” And it kept ON doing this, hiccupping and speaking in gibberish for the next 13 hours.

Then I spent five more days of non-existent spare moments working up a newsy collage of holiday greetings and when that turned out to be way too big for a conventional envelope, I went and bought bigger envelopes, on which my printed labels now looked puny and impersonal. So I took another five days and made everyone who came into the house help me decorate each one with a bright holiday drawing.

And then there were the Disappointing Presents.

Our then 15-year-old turned out to be hoping for a leather jacket and instead I bought her a big silky Cheese Puff of a thing. What was I thinking?

So too, our then-10-year-old wanted little green army guys, but when the bucket of them was opened on Christmas morning, I turned out to have bought the wrong kind, a kind that couldn’t even lie down in the mud and inch along on their tummies. What kind of army guys can’t do THAT, right? Yet asking this bunch to do it would be like asking a Ken Doll to reach up and tousle his own hair. No elbows was the problem.

Also, the much-wished-for video game was sold out until March, and it seemed you couldn’t BUILD Erector Set Number 6 unless you already OWNED Erector Sets Number 1 through 5 – which we didn’t.

And as for the two presents I thought were sure-fire, the ones I had actually I had in fact bought super-early and even wrapped? These I couldn’t even find until three days after the big day.

On climbing into bed Christmas night, I recall my ten-year-old’s eyes shining with sorrow. 

“It’s my fault,” he said, so as not to sadden me his hapless mother. “I didn’t get in the Christmas spirit. I should’ve thought more about what I was giving, instead of what I was getting,” he went on.

So this year we all tried to do that in this family: think more of what we were giving and not at all about what we might be getting.

Still, you sure can get turned around. All this time later I now see that I was the one who wanted that big downy Cheese Puff of a jacket all along. I think it looks pretty good on me, don’t you?  The hot pink really sets off my new hair color.:-)

puffy jacket dog

The Squirrels Know

feel for this guy, who I found trying to raid the hawthorn tree for berries before the poor birds could get to any.

They’re running out of food out there!

It’s been mighty mild for these parts but still: The critters know what’s coming.

I hung around in my bedroom for almost an hour to get this shot. (I have 20 lousy shots.)

There were four squirrels in the tree at the time but this guy seemed the perkiest. And then he turned and gave me his handsome profile.

And I was just close enough, my breath fogging the cold windowpane  – though if you click on the picture to enlarge it you’ll see the mesh of screening.

Just look at him, shoveling it in with those slim little fingers.  

I suppose he’s offering a lesson to us all, but with the holiday aftershocks still bouncing against me, I’m still too fried to figure out what it is. 

Seasonal Amnesia

Remembering Christmas Past is like remembering childbirth: a certain amnesia sets in. If you asked me yesterday what happens most  Christmases, I would have said they were uneventful. Then I looked  one up in an old diary.

How quickly we forget.

That year, I came up with the idea that I should send a card to 192 people, and thus spent every spare moment over a five-day period entering their names and addresses on my laptop so as to generate labels. Finally one morning I pressed “Print” and hurried away to shower. When I came back, the pear-bottomed black cat was delicately shredding the sheets of labels one by one as they emerged from the printer, while sitting directly ON the laptop, causing it to beep frantically, then lose its mind altogether, writing  “#!” when you tried to write “the” and %#~” when you tried to type “and.”

And it kept ON doing this, hiccupping and speaking in gibberish for the next 13 hours.

Then I spent five more days of non-existent spare moments working up a newsy collage of holiday greeting and when it turned out to be too big for a conventional envelope, I went and bought bigger ones, on which the printed labels now looked puny and impersonal. So I took ANOTHER five days and made everyone who came into the house help me decorate each one with a bright holiday drawing.

And then there were the Disappointing Presents.  Our then-sixth grader wanted Army Guys, but when the bucket of them was opened on Christmas morning, I turned out to have bought the wrong kind: guys that couldn’t even lie down in the mud and inch along on their tummies. Our 10th-grader-at-the-time turned out to be hoping for a  leather jacket and instead I bought her a big silky Cheese Puff of a thing. Also: the much-wished-for video game was sold out until March, it turned out you couldn’t BUILD Erector Set Number 6 unless you already OWNED Erector Sets Number 1 through 5 and the two presents I thought were sure-fire which I had bought and wrapped super-early I couldn’t even find until three days after the 25th.

On climbing into bed that night, our boy’s eyes shone with sorrow.  “It’s my fault,” he said, so as not to sadden his mom. “I didn’t get in the Christmas spirit….I should’ve thought more about what I was giving, instead of what I was getting.”

So this year we’re all TRYING to do that. Still, you sure can get turned around. It turns out I was the one who wanted a big downy Cheese Puff of a jacket! But while we’re at it I’d like a new wallet too, since mine looks like it was mauled by a pit bull and is also covered with ink stains, as literally everything I own, even my very underwear. Also a nice book and  maybe some undies not yet written on- Oh wait but see?  I’m doing it again.  You forget it from year to year, but this season does just makes a person crazy!