Monday, December 25, 2006

Lord of Misrule...

Fond reminiscences of Christmas past...I'm verklempft!

(Caution, do not read unless you received a sense of humor for Christmas.)

"I am so sick of this Christmas B--- S--- ...put your Christmas presents away and get out!" -My mum on Christmas afternoon.

I can't stand it. I've been way too serious for too many days in a row - Christmas is fun - I can't be so solemn! I have to break the holy-holy atmosphere here.

I was like this in the monastery as well - I always had to do something stupid to make people laugh - and get myself in trouble in the process - like pretending to be extremely drunk as I walked down the cloister after compline. How was I to know we had tipplers in the Abbey who thought I was making fun of them? Geesh! Monks can be so sensitive.

Or when I had to call the other novices after work detail in the garden, "Aelred, Isaac, c'mon honey - it's bath time!" I was pretending to be Ward Cleaver, you know, Beaver's dad, although I said it in June's voice. I had no idea it sounded gay - nor was I aware we had...

Of course, there is nothing like those wonderful family Christmas memories to crack me up either. (I imagine most everyone has delightful holiday memories like these.)

Such as the Christmas when my dad finally got a job and all my mother wanted was a coat for Christmas. He was gone all Christmas Eve day - shopping, although, he spent most of the day in a bar - just making it to the department store before it closed. When he arrvied home, drunk and late, he proceeded to show Skip and Beth and myself the coat. Of course I, the budding ready-to-wear expert asked, "Are you really going to give her that?" It looked like an old ladies coat made out of foam with a dead rat collar. Well, he gave it to her, and she opened it - knowing, I'm certain, it would be ugly.

Sure enough, it hit the fan.

"Where'd you steal this rag? The Goodwill?" said Betty, dryly and ever so coldly. "Beth, fix me another drink." Then the tears came flooding out and complaints on how she never got a decent Christmas present in her life, and how she bought a mink coat for her sister-in-law when her brother was broke and she was never paid back. And suddenly, "Baby Jane" was in the house. Tears turned to wild eyed fury, and shouts. Oh! The drama!

Enter Jack Nicohlson from "The Shinning" - shouting over mom, "I bought that G-- D--- coat at the Emporium and the sales clerk said it was the current fashion."

"For your bitch of a mother maybe!" At this point she was ready to fight - my mom and dad had such chemistry!

"Don't call my mother a bitch!"

"Well, she's nothing but a slut - married six times - give her the G-- D--- coat! You were drunk when you bought this Sunny Boy! It's a markdown - the tag is still on it!" She screamed, throwing the coat onto the Christmas tree - in other words, she threw down the gauntlet.

Whack! Her glasses go flying across the room. Before new tears and laments, my mom - who could be very funny, calmly asked my dad, "Oh! So now you're going to buy me a new pair of glasses for Christmas as well! Aren't you just a giver though!"

The kids were in the kitchen pretending to appreciate their presents - hoping to dad fixes another drink...we eat...I'm old enough - 6th grade I think, to get out for midnight Mass - while Skip and Beth took off for friend's houses.

The End.

Christmas is fun - just wait until twelfth night - that is the most fun! (I wonder if I should do a twelve days of Christmas series of Christmas memories?)


  1. Sometimes our burdens are easier to forgive, than forget...

    & you have an excellent sense of humor... geez!

  2. I imagine the fun *really* started when Granma-6-times-married came over!! It surely had to be divine intervention that kept you so sweet and innocent in your monastery days as you sound from your recollections!

    May God have mercy and bless all our poor human families, in spite of our many weaknesses and frailties. And may all of our dearly departed rest in His Eternal Peace.

  3. michael5:59 PM

    You do have a wonderful sense of humor, as you share your pain. Many of us carry the burden of pain, without the sense of humor.

  4. I could match you memory by memory if this is typical of your childhood Christmas recollections
    Times are different, but the ghosts of the sins of fathers long dead seem to appear every 25th of December, if only in caricature.

    We spent part of last Christmas evening chasing a niece's black greyhound puppy. This 2 foot high, almost full grown beast slipped out the door, unseen, by 20 pairs of eyes. Someone said she must have turned the handle herself, because no one else could possibly miss a 35 pound greyhound barrelling out a door.
    Black night, black dog, pouring rain, our cars combing the neighborhood, windows open, yelling "toonie!, toonie!". Cells phones out, coordinating the search. Kids crying "she's probably dead. I know she's dead."
    Other relatives sitting around, sipping their beers "I ain't chasing no damn dog. I just got done chasing my own dog this morning."
    And so it goes....Can you ever leave the past behind?
    I've concluded the answer is no.

    Long story short: Dog safe and all raised glasses to her safe return, while father of neice tried to convince her the Christian thing to do would be to at least go over and thank the man who found the dog and corralled her in his yard, kept a watch for anyone who might be looking for her, and ran out into the rain when he saw a car slowly casing the block....I think they are still bickering about it.

    Life Lesson? Let you know when I figure one out.

    In the meantime,
    Christ is Born, Glory to God in the Highest, and a deep, and abiding Peace, especially to you, anonymous friend.
    Thanks for your blog:
    Some of the most refreshing, honest writing that I have ever come across.


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