Home > Uncategorized > Oh what days they were. I miss them.

Oh what days they were. I miss them.

I wish I was still a kid sometimes.

Christmas Eve. The slow build. It was all coming together. Finally. The anticipation. Santa was loading up the sleigh, and like magic, no matter how early we’d rise on Christmas morning, the booty was always there. Despite hearing all sorts of bumps in the night, we never once caught Santa. He was a slippery bastard. And a logistical genius. Way more reliable than Amazon Prime. And he left the packages inside the house, so the meth-heads couldn’t steal them from the front porch. Ahead of his time.

santaThere was 6 of us kids, so things needed to be somewhat coordinated. Years later just about all of us copped on to slipping down the steps in the darkness to get an advanced peek….but we weren’t allowed to officially begin the wrapping-ripping until everybody went down together. What a wait that was. Me and my twin brother would sit whispering in our bunk-beds, checking our lists twice and then twice more. I can’t remember ever being disappointed.

I almost forgot….my Dad insisted on getting the entire melee on film….and he had one of those old movie cameras with the huge lighting rig that you’d have to attach, that gave him this look like a deer with large antlers. One at a time we’d go…..with my too-cool older siblings turning their heads every time he got near them, while my sister Erin (there’s always one) would pull contorted faces and ram a finger up her nose. Oh she loved the camera, that one.

And there is my brother and me…..most likely dressed in matching pajamas (as young twins we had no sartorial chance at all, we just grinned and bore it). My brother was always more outwardly excited than I. I was trying to be cool all the time, and failing miserably. He just smiled and bounced around like a lunatic. But you couldn’t hide it. We sat on Santa’s lap just a week or so prior….and ticked off what we wanted. And here it was, splayed before us. How could this not be the greatest day of the year?

evelTrucks and trains and baseball gloves (immediately rub it in oil, put a baseball in the pocket and tie it closed with a shoelace, and jam it underneath the tires of the station wagon, to break it in)  and nerf footballs and GI Joe with the kung fu grip. The Evel Knievel rev-up motorcycle. The Star Trek enterprise….complete with a transporter room! One year we got football helmets…..the Vikings for me and the Redskins for him (I was a big Tarkenton fan….and was always afraid the Raiders were going to kill him). Another year the “Johnny Bench batter-up”, which required a concrete base that weighed about 150 pounds and these large rubber bands that would snap after a few swings. The most idiotic contraption ever devised by man, but it was on my list….and there it was. (the concrete base would sit behind the garage for years. It might still be there for all I know….) I fancied myself quite the sportsmen in those days, even though I had no talent whatsoever and would get so nervous during organized games that I’d dry heave.

After gorging ourselves on Santa’s good graces, there might be a little nap. And then the company would start to arrive. Uncles and Aunts and cousins, with some great Uncles and great Aunts sprinkled in. My great Uncle Joe always got the chair to the right of the Christmas tree, and he’d sit there in his crisp white shirt and tie, with a constantly refreshed bottle of Schlitz in his hand, telling stories and jokes and watching the football while waiting for the call to move to the dinner table. My Mom would be preparing the works….Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and always 2 cans of cranberry sauce, one for everybody else and one for me (I was obsessed with the stuff in those days…). The smell was enough to transform an atheist. My aunts would be helping her, and anybody else ventured into the kitchen at their own peril.

Finally my Dad would be summoned to carve the roast beast…..and we’d all sit. Us at the “kiddie table” of course. Seats in the dining room only opened up when fully grown family members died, so it was considered bad form to complain.

It was all so incredibly frenetic…..but also as gentle as a sea breeze. I recall no bad scenes. No drama. Nothing scandalous. I’m sure that’s just the memory of an innocent child, but that’s what I hold with me. And so that’s what’s important.

Christmas Eve we all slept light. Christmas night we slept the sleep of the dead. It was glorious.

Oh what days they were. I miss them.

I miss my Mom and Dad. I miss the love they always provided. I miss always feeling safe in that house. Nothing could hurt us. I miss being that kid.

I wish things would have stayed like this forever.

I wish you these memories.

Merry Christmas.

In a bit..


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