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.
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...|
“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
he been all these weeks?
Of course Santa Claus came last night! Who’d he expect, Nixon?
|"Hey, I could come down your chimney. |
How do you know I haven't?"
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??"
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
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.
|"Okay, gold I get. |
But, what the hell is frankincense
And is anyone else creeped
out by that midget camel?"
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)...