Friday, December 20, 2013

'Tis the Season For a Repost

    As promised, this is that time of the year when I really can't be bothered to write anything new.  After all, there's presents to buy, carolers to snub, and parties to attend.  So, with that in mind, may I pawn off a post which I wrote many years ago and insist on reposting?  Don't sweat it, if you haven't read it before then it's new.  Except...that I just told you it was a repeat.  Crap. 

It could be worse, so quit yer whining.

    The following is a true story (as far as you know) of a Penwasser Christmas in the late sixties/early seventies.  Sometime around then.  Hey, give me a break.  It was a long time ago.

    Christmas was always a big deal at my house.

    Starting immediately after Thanksgiving, we began the run up to the most wonderful time of the year, not counting Flag Day.

    And started to feel sorry for the Jewish kids.  Still, it wasn’t like they didn’t have two weeks off from school.  Plus, they had eight days of Hanukkah, while Christmas was but one.  So, cry me a river, Chosen People. 

    As much fun as getting ready for Christmas was, December 25th was actually what we were all waiting for.

Old broad sold separately
    As the clock struck nine on Christmas Eve, our parents scooted us off to bed.  Warned to stay there all night, we were cautioned not to surprise Santa as he placed gifts under our aluminum Christmas tree with its uber-classy color wheel (“Now with primary colors!  Plus green!”).

    OK, we bought into the whole Santa thing.  Then again, we believed in the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy, and that a nun could fly.

    We tossed and turned all evening.  To pass the time, we mortified our sister by making fart noises under our armpits.

It's beginning to sound a lot like...
    As midnight approached, we heard the sound of movement downstairs.  Instantly calling a halt to the armpit symphony, we strained to hear what was happening.

    “Santa’s here!” my brother, Gary, gasped.

    Straining my ears, I heard the muffled sound of rustling paper.  Even so, I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on.  It was only when I heard a sharp bang followed by a string of colorful holiday expressions of goodwill that I knew the magic of Christmas had arrived.

    Reassured, I happily closed my eyes.

    What seemed like seconds later, I was rudely awakened.  “C’mon,” Gary excitedly cried, “Santa Claus came last night!”

    He seemed genuinely surprised.  Where had
"Hey, I could come down your chimney.
How do you know I haven't?"
he been all these weeks?  Of course Santa Claus came last night!  Who’d he expect, Nixon?

    We bounded downstairs to a dazzling rainbow of presents beneath our garish tin pole.  Quickly diving into the pile, we were brought up short by a shrill, “Nobody opens anything until your father and I get there!”

    Thus admonished, we nervously perched on the edge of our avocado and gold couch.  It seemed an eternity until our parents trudged like zombies into the living room.

    Coming out of her narcoleptic daze, Mom gushed, “Wow!  What happened?  Did Santa come?”  (Amazingly, she sounded as shocked as my brother.  What was it with these people?  Did they all have brain damage?).

    Oblivious to her amazement, my father silently nodded.

    Instantly responding, we dove under the tree in a giddy paroxysm of joy.  We were a brood possessed, we were seized with the spirit, we were seagulls descending on a box of French Fries.  

Santa couldn't do better than a ukulele?
Who the hell does he think I am,
Don Frikkin' Ho??"
    After we had torn open our presents, our parents announced that it was time for church.  After all, what says Christmas more than sitting uncomfortably on wooden pews and splashing each other in the face with water from petri dishes disguised as holy water fonts?

    Despite the fact that Snooki makes more appearances at Mensa meetings than the Penwassers at Mass, we were “going, goddammit!”  So, after exchanging footie pajamas for swanky “Dad N Lad” ensembles and hideous frocks of a color not found in nature, off we sped in the family Batmobile to Saint Stanislaus.  

    Upon arrival-five minutes late-my father ushered us into the very last pew.  “That way,” he whispered, “we can beat the traffic.” 

    The service was tolerable.  There were a
"Okay, gold I get.
But, what the hell is frankincense
and myrrh?
And is anyone else creeped
out by that midget camel?"
bunch of mumbled carols, a Christmas sermon about how Baby Jesus didn’t get coal, and the obligatory offering for starving Vietnamese orphans.  “The ones who aren’t Commies,” Father Karl sternly added.  That was about it.  Oh, and Phil needed the Heimlich maneuver to get that communion wafer out of his throat. 

    Before you could say “Dominus Nabisco,” we were knocking down old Slovak ladies to get out the door. 

To be continued on Sunday (tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, after all)...


  1. Commie orphans deserve cookies too. They can't help being commies. I wonder if they have special communist cookies. I don't know if I've seen this story before or not. It's a good thing to wait about a year between reposts. That way people forget.

    1. That's what I thought, too. By the way, I never thought Protestants were godless heathens, either. I don't care WHAT the nuns said.

  2. Whoa, that aluminum Christmas tree had some spark!

  3. lol never really thought of it much how people always ask did santa come, when obviously he did. Sure hope it wasn't nixon

    1. Nixon was everywhere in the 60s. That may have been his problem.

  4. frankincense and myrrh don't make much sense. Now if was three wise women, they would've ask for directions, arrived on time, and gotten logical gifts.

    1. Like a Biblical X Box.
      Or a nice sweater.

  5. I couldn't help laughing because so much of this is similar to MY Christmases growing up. I mean isn't it sadistic to give kids presents and then to drag them off to church?

    1. Whenever I read YOUR stories, it makes me think of MY childhood. In fact, I had my very own version of Ricky Delgado.

  6. What the hell is frankincense and myrrh, Al? Is that the old time version of crack and special brownies?

    Merry Christmas, Al.

    1. I think they were an act at the Catskills.

  7. Can't wait for Sunday now. I had completely forgotten about aluminum trees. And the circular light. They were manufactured in Newark NJ weren't they? Great story so far!

    1. Ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhh............I did write Sunday. I meant MONDAY. I got confused when the light reflected off our retro aluminum tree. Today will be a post about the Winter Solstice, though.

  8. Making kids leave their toys and go to church? How cruel! ;)

    1. I'm just glad they stopped crucifying every tenth child.

  9. Thank you for the coughing fit, caused by laughing

  10. Hopefully you weren't drinking anything!

  11. As per your instructions, I just completed Part I before anxiously awaiting Part II. I also had a ukelele. Did you sing " Tip toe through the tulips" like Tiny Tim too? Well, I'll never know, because you don't comment on previous posts. I'll see you over at Part II shortly. Hope you, and your family had a great Christmas, Al!