Thirty years ago today, the temperature had dropped to single digits and as result, while no one was home, a House of Adams electric wall heater unexpectedly came on, ignited bags filled with Christmas dreams for two important young’uns and proceeded to almost destroy everything in the place.
Snowfall the next day almost produced a true white Christmas, but all the snow in the world wouldn’t have eased the situation your scribe was in for quite some time.
Amazing how one’s perspective changes when he/she’s down to one suit of clothes and an inoperable toothbrush.
No, today’s offering wasn’t inspired or written by geejawing bores moaning about adversities they faced as young’uns and ever since:
“Daddy run off and joined the circus.”
“My sister tee-tee’d in our bed.”
“All I got for Christmas one year were Mitch Miller and Slim Whitman records.”
“Our fireplace was decorative, so Santa had to make other arrangements.”
“All we ever had to eat was food.”
“Girls made us listen to the Beatles.”
“Our house didn’t have a room in it.”
It’s a thousand wonders any of us baby boomers has any sense, what with all we’ve experienced at home, school and on the street.
Here are a few memories, some good, some not.
We drew names and had Christmas parties in school through eighth grade; sang Christmas carols grades 1-12; stood up, placed our right hands over our hearts to Pledge Allegiance to the Flag and while “The Star-Spangled Banner” played.
We were taught to “duck and cover,” walk on the right side of hallways, hold doors for others and join and remain in the “Clean Plate Club” in school lunchrooms.
Lives and limbs were in peril if any of us owned cherry bombs, M-80’s and enough punk to light a gross of ’em.
Ever see what one cherry bomb does to a pile of burning, sweet-smelling pecan leaves?
In sixth grade, Mrs. Dixie Nichols rescued a sweet gum branch after a freeze busted it wide open, spray-painted it silver, brought it to school and decorated it with blue ornaments for our room’s Christmas tree.
We were forced to listen to “Snoopy’s Christmas” instead of “Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy,” and the folks at the Duck-In Oyster Bar had the nerve and audacity to charge $1 for three dozen on the half-shell and a drink.
At home, we force-watched Christmas shows hosted by Bob Hope, Andy Williams, Bing Crosby (and David Bowie?), Andy Williams and Glen Campbell, hoping Dean Martin’s show would be rerun nightly.
Jimmy Durante, Red Skelton, Jack Benny and Jackie Gleason need to have their own Mt. Rushmore.
In the HoA, Mother force-fed her only child several varieties of Christmas cookies, fruit, coconut and Lane cakes washed down with ice-cold Paschal’s Dairy sweet milk.
To this day, Christmas ain’t Christmas without Life Saver Books and chocolate-covered cherries.
“The 12 Days of Christmas” and ”Little Drummer Boy” are brainwashing tools.
Finally, most folks have a vision of a perfect Christmas.
In the HoA, that vision is of a red fir tree, Elvis’s Christmas album, ice-cold oysters, homemade egg-nog, Darlene Love, shrimp-fried rice, Lane cake, ambrosia, “A Christmas Story,” “Jack Benny’s Christmas Show” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
In that order.
Hope we get the Christmas we want.