Those “darn” strings of lights on the tree
That I insist my husband make work for me
Make him cuss, and fuss and stew,
And sometimes even a fight ensues.
They work for a bit
And then they quit.
This makes me want to say, “Oh Poop.”
(Actually it makes me want to spit
A word that rhymes with quit and pit.
That would be naughty instead of nice.
Santa certainly would not like my choice.)
If ya jiggle two lights or maybe one more,
They may fill the room with lights galore.
But once the tree has its ornaments on,
You’re doomed at dusk and again at dawn.
The automatic timer sucks.
It worked last year.
This year’s a bust.
This holds true for the outside lights
Which shine all day but not at night.
With the tree now up I’m in the mood
To wrap some gifts and cook some food.
Until, that is, I see my stash
Is woefully low ~ to the store I dash.
Every roll of last year’s wrap
Is hardly enough to accomplish my task.
Just a teensy bit too short to cover
The wonderful gift I bought for my brother.
So I patch the balding spot that’s left
With scraps that really don’t look so hot.
And when I’m done you’ll know
It looks like hell but my intentions were pure.
Scotch tape…Oh No! I’m out of that!
At the end of the spool…it really looked fat.
For solace now, I turn to the cards
That need to be sent both near and far.
Bought plenty last year when they were on sale
Knowing this year they’d go in the mail.
Also I had the presence of mind
To buy extra stamps, sometimes hard to find.
Gazing at The Madonna and Child
I bit my tongue, my thoughts running wild.
Wouldn’t ya know the stamps that I’d bought
Were good for last year, 39 cents they are not.
Then an email I got a few weeks ago
Caused me to stop fretting over my woes.
As I read my friend’s thoughts my mind traveled back
To places in time I’d long since forgot.
So I shared my old moments, from memories first hand,
Some really silly but mostly all grand.
This doesn’t rhyme like what’s above should,
But if you play, it’ll make you feel good!
It had the sender’s responses filled in.
Plug in your own memoirs and what you did.
Welcome to the Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends! You know the drill. Don’t be a scrooge!!!
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Egg nog hands down. Nothing like a cold glass of frothy homemade nog. Dad used to make his own & put a little whiskey in what he served the adults. That ruins it. Just nutmeg on top, thank you. (My friend had this response to egg nog & I loved it…My Mom drank once a year, and that was on Christmas Eve when she made egg nog and put whiskey in it. One year, she obviously was enjoying her concoction and, to this day, my sister and I still laugh over her comment, “I don’t understand why people who drink say they are tight — I feel loose!”)
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa doesn’t do squat except deliver. The elves make & wrap all the Christmas gifts. They always have, they always will.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or clear? Icicle lights on the outside & an old fashioned green tree with special ornaments from years gone by on the inside. White lights, colored lights, yeah. It’s the memories from the ornaments that make the tree.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Used to but got out of the habit. People would walk in the front door & bump their heads on it as it dangled from the light fixture in the entry way. (Put it somewhere else, duh.)
5. When do you put your decorations up? Right after Thanksgiving, with any luck.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Turkey and stuffing! While it was baking, my mom always used to say, “It’s starting to smell a lot like Christmas, now.”
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Getting Petee the parakeet. Parents hid the bird in the basement & it escaped from its cage. My Bro Jim, in an attempt to capture the critter, pulled all the tail feathers out. Didn’t matter…that was the most beautiful bird I’d ever seen!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Can’t recall my age, maybe 4 or 5. On a bright & very warm Christmas Day, my big brothers were out in the front yard waving & yelling like crazy to Santa up in the sky. There was no snow, no sign of reindeer tracks or droppings, & why did Santa bring me a bird with no tail feathers? Even at that tender age I knew something was up. Then, 2 years later, I told the Summerville kids, (ages 3 & 4) who lived across the street, not to believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny. Guess I was bad. Still am.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Used to do our package swap on the Eve. Things have changed so now we open on Christmas Day.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Some might find it tacky. I find it awesome & warm & full of memories as I place each ornament full of meaning on each limb. Some lights flash, when they feel like it, some are white, others multi-colored. Splash in some candy canes & an angel on top & that’s what you’ve got…a good old fashioned Christmas tree. No tinsel & no garland, Pahleeze.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? If I have nowhere to go, it’s cool. Won’t even think about trying to drive in it. Don’t get too much of that in Texas.
12. Can you ice skate? Used to be pretty good. One winter, my big brother Jack took me to a neighborhood lake (it was frozen, of course) when I was probably in the fifth grade. He was a whiz on skates. Showed me what to do & with practice I learned staying on top of the ice is a lot better & way more fun than resurfacing it with my butt. Also recall skating right past barricades that warned “Thin Ice Ahead.” Only sank in up to my waist but I’ll never, ever forget how cold that water was.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Besides Petee, that would be a ring my dad gave me…white sapphire. Or maybe that was for my 12th birthday?
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Cooking the bird & having my son here for the feast. Being at home in Texas, instead of fighting the insanity of flying to St. Louis at Christmas. Being able to entertain friends in our home over the holidays. In that order.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pumpkin pie the next day. Who can seriously enjoy a piece of pie after all that turkey & dressing?
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Having family and friends over & playing board games. Feeding them hors de oeuvres & all the while, hoping I’ll win!
17. What tops your tree? An angel. She needs to be replaced as her skirt is showing signs of scorching from the bright lights beneath.
18. Do you prefer giving or receiving? Absolutely giving is the most fun. What’s not fun is not knowing what to get f
or people. That drives me crazy.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? “Oh Holy Night” when it’s sung by Johnny Mathis.
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Oh, so yuck. Their only purpose in life should be decorative. In fact, I’ve used the same ones for years. You can put them in the freezer & they continue to look just like new, even if they’re broken. Just don’t let anyone eat them. That would be a bad thing.
And Santa would leave more than just coal in your stocking!
Originally published in the December 2006 issue of The Cross Timbers Gazette