Saturday, December 17, 2011

This Doesn't Happen Everyday...

...not even to me!

Last night an old man on a walker knocked on my door. He wanted to know if I was the kind of woman who liked to get stoned and watch a Christmas Movie????

I tried my best not to laugh as I told him I was busy. I do know who he is because I have given him food before but I have never really spoken to him before. I guess it was his way of repaying me???

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

I have to admit though that one time I had a tree that nothing could fix. I was living on my hundred acres and I had the bright idea of going out and cutting my own tree from my property. I knew exactly which tree I wanted to cut down. It was in the middle of a field, in a tiny cluster of trees which were in my way when I mowed the field. I was ready to kill two birds with one stone as it were - cut the tree down and clear the field so I had a clear shot during mowing season. The perfect solution.

So I marched out of my house with a hand saw to cut down that tree. No power saw for me, by golly, I was going to do this the old-fashioned way! (not to mention the fact that I am a natural born klutz and I KNOW my limitations) There was a light snow on the ground so I slipped and slid all the way up the hill to the tree. I sawed at that tree for probably a half an hour before it fell with a gratifying thud. I felt like such a lumberjack.

I dragged it to the house and I put it up in the corner of my living room. I started to turn it to find the "good side". To my dismay I found there was no "good side". So I decorated it with my lovely decorations that I had saved from year to year and had always had a gorgeous tree. Not this time. My tree was not beautiful, it was not even pretty, It looked pitiful.

It looked so pitiful that I went back outside to that little grove of trees and cut down another tree. I took it into the house and I took off all the decorations and I put the two trees together and I wired myself one big, giant tree! It still didn't help. Even after I decorated my makeshift tree it was still the ugliest monstrosity that I have ever had the pleasure(?) of putting into my house at Christmastime.

Every year I enjoy my ritualistic burning of the Christmas tree when I take it down. The burning was particularly enjoyable that year. And that is the story of my Charlie Brown Christmas Tree.

Taking the Bull by the to speak

One year my dad decided to sell Christmas Trees. So on one Saturday in November, the whole family loaded up and my dad rented a U-Haul and paid 2 guys to follow us to the Christmas Tree Farm. He let us run around and pick out which trees we wanted to cut down. He was buying a hundred of them. We romped and played all day while the men cut the trees.

It was at the end of the afternoon and my dad and I cut across a field to go to the car. We were almost to the fence (and it's a good thing we were) when a bull came charging out of the barn right at us. We sprinted to the fence and I remember I tore my pants on the barbed wire as I went over the it. We barely got out in time! A charging bull is something I never want to see coming at me in my lifetime again.

Daddy and I laughed about it for a long time after that. My mom, was of course, furious that he would endanger my life that way. She didn't seem to understand that we didn't know there was a bull in that barn.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Mystery Santa

One year at Christmas time I was working part time at a gas station. One of the pumps was full service. Everytime I went out to the pump, people would tell me that if they had known a girl was coming they would have pumped the gas themselves. Then I would have to tell them that I was going to be out of a job with attitudes like that and I needed the job. Once they heard that, they would let me pump their gas.

One day I went out to pump the gas for someone in a very nice SUV. When I went to the driver's side window all I saw was a a well manicured hand holding a $100 bill. The dark tinted windows were barely cracked so that I could hear the lady tell me to give her $20 worth of gas. I pumped the gas and I went inside to get the change and when I turned around to go outside to give them their change, the SUV was gone!

I went outside to look both ways and I didn't see the vehicle. I walked over to look at the parking lot next door because many of the customers would go over there after they got gas. I saw a black SUV in the parking lot but I wasn't sure that it was them. I called the manager of the store next door (I worked there also) and I asked him to track down the owner of the black SUV in the parking lot and see if they accidentally left me their change! He found them but he said they told him that it wasn't them.

It was then I started to realize that they had left me the money on purpose. I was happy on the one hand but on the other hand, I was worried that they would realize that they had made a mistake and could still come back. I didn't spend any of the money for 3 days - just in case they did come back for it. Even then I bought groceries with the money, so that if they did come back I would just be able to repay them out of my pocket.

A couple of days before Christmas I decided that they weren't coming back. I bought myself a little something and I bought presents for my nieces and nephews that I wouldn't have been able to afford otherwise!

Because of the mystery Santa in the SUV, I had a very Merry Christmas that year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

People of Lee Terrace: Mark died

Mark was a disgusting drunk and a junkie. But he was also a very nice man who would do anything for anybody. I knew he was close to dying so I made him a huge Thanksgiving meal (probably 3 dinners). He talked about that dinner everytime he saw me until the day he died.

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.

True Christmas Memories

Everybody has their wish list of must have presents that they just have to have for Christmas. Over the years I have gotten most of those presents if not all of them. Looking back I can only recall what a couple of those make it or break it presents were that I just had to have or it would not be a good Christmas.

Here is what I do remember:

1. My 4 year old nephew, Arnie, flinging the mountain of tissue paper aside sheet by sheet that I had piled on top of the Tickle Me Elmo doll that only I could find so my dad could give it to him.

2. Becca and Arnie laughing with glee when they opened the Furbees that only, once again, Aunt Pam could find when nobody else could.

3. My ex-husband, Bobby's shy, quiet smile because once again I had got him something he really wanted when he didn't even know it himself.

4. Katie, my stepdaughter, bursting into tears because she got the computer she had been dreaming of. (this was in the days even before the internet)

5. Kandi, my other stepdaughter, squealing with glee over the boom box and the awesome cassette collection that she never imagined in a million years she would get. (back in the Thriller days when she was positive she would marry Michael Jackson)

6. The pretty porcelain ornaments the my mom bought me for my first married Christmas - I still have ALL of them.

7. Katie and Kandi getting 8 cabbage patch dolls that first year they came out when there was a feeding frenzy over them in the stores. (twins from us, 2 from their mom, 2 from their stepfather's parents and 2 from my parents)

8. The present I wrapped for Becca that was like something out of Dr. Seuss. It was red and green striped with purple velvet bows all over it. it suited her personality perfectly and she loved it.

9. I wrapped a present for my mom once that was so exquisite that she didn't unwrap it until spring. She just sat the box in her living room and stared at it for three months.

10. A Christmas Wreath made from baggies by my niece, Becca.

None of those moments have anything to do with me getting one of those must have presents!

Why Was Santa So Mean To Rudolph Anyway?

You would think that if anyone would understand a disability it would be Santa Claus!

Things I Miss from Past Christmases

1. I miss singing Christmas Carols. I can't sing anymore because of my low oxygen.

2. I miss fruitcake. I don't miss eating it. I miss buying it for my dad because he liked it so much.

3. I miss my Granny Brennan's crochet work. Every year she would make snowflakes or angels or some sort of Christmas handiwork. I especially miss the crochet stockings that she made for each of us. Some how mine was lost when I first got sick.

4. I miss making the rounds to see family and friends on Christmas Eve. This tradition started when I was a kid and I kept it up over the years. Now I don't even travel to see anyone on the holiday. It is just too hard.

Except for number 4 that is really a trivial list. I am fortunate that I will have a good Christmas.