Monday, December 6, 2010

My Christmas Cussin'

Every Year when I was a kid we would load up the family and presents in the car and go to both grandparents houses and then the cousin's houses and also the homes of various other friends and family. My Pepaw on my dad's side was a mean old alcoholic. Every year he would be so drunk that he couldn't get off the couch and he would cuss us the whole time we were there - unless he was passed out of course. We would all stand there and laugh at him.

My mom would explain that the meaning of Christmas was to give to everyone and not expect anything in return. So every year we had a gift for Pepaw and we didn't mind giving it to him even though he never had anything for us because that was what Christmas was about. I continued this tradition into adulthood.

As an adult I would go every year to see Pepaw as I always had and I always had a gift for him. Usually I had 3 cowboy books that I bought at a flea market for him or his favorite present - a block of commodity cheese. The first year I was married I told my husband, "Come on, we're goin' to get our Christmas Cussin' ".

His reply was, "What in the Hell are you talkin' about?" I explained to him that my Pepaw would be passed out on the couch. I had to take him a present while he would lay on that couch and cuss me the whole time I was there. Bobby did not believe me and as I assured him that this was indeed how it would be, he told me, "there is no way I will stand for that kind of behavior!"

I told him "You can't come with me then, because that is exactly what is going to happen." So we went to Pepaw's trailer and laughed our heads off while he cussed us out.

Years later, I think I was around 27 or so, I went to Pepaw's on Christmas Eve. He had quit drinking the year before because he had a new grandbaby that he wanted to be around. He was drunk that day though. He had only promised to be sober for one year and the year was over.

He was telling me about all the marvelous presents that he had bought for this new grandbaby. I pointed out to him that I was 27 years old and he had never bought me a present in my lifetime. When I said that to him, he turned and looked at me for a few seconds and he started laughing. He pulled out his wallet and gave me $20. He said, "Now go down to the liquor store and get us a fifth and we'll drink it together."

Then he said "Come to think of it here is $20 for your brother and $20 for your sister too. Give it to them from me." So that's how I got my first present ever from my Pepaw except it was not near as much fun to get that $20 as it was to get my Christmas Cussin' every year.

I believe that he died when I was 30 years old.

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