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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday Memories

Get out the cocoa because it's about to get warm and fuzzy up in here, circa 1988!

I have fond memories of going to pick out a Chrsitmas tree as a child. My parents, my two sisters and I would load up in our hatchback and head out to what seemed like the wilderness. Most people bought their Christmas trees from a vendor in the Kroger parking lot or went to a tree farm, but not us. Years later I would realize that we had actually been tree thieving trespassers on some strangers land, but what the hay. It was quality time together and that’s what mattered.

One year in particular, we found the most perfect tree. It was just right in size and shape. My Dad cut it down and strapped it to the top of our car and the five of us loaded back in. We were on our way home when my dad slowed down and pointed to a different tree on the side of the road. “I think that one might be better than the one we just picked, but I’m not sure if it’s big enough. Lori, would you go stand next to it so we can see how big it is by comparison?”

“Sure, Daddy.” My sisters and I had been singing Christmas carols in the backseat but I was happy to stop singing and oblige my father. I even felt special that he had asked me, rather than my older sister. I jumped out of the car and ran across the dirt road. When I located the particular tree I turned around to face the car. At that moment I knew I had been set up. My entire family waved out the window at me and I could hear them laughing as my dad sped away.

I was eight years old and all alone, standing next to someone else’s tree, on someone else’s property like a big jackass. It doesn’t get much better than that. Down the road I saw my dad backing the car up to come back and get me. I considered not getting back in, but I didn’t have a lot of options. My family had a good laugh at my expense. “You should’ve seen your face,” and “That was so funny!” was heard a few times.

Yeah, I thought. Real funny. I wish the police had driven by. I would’ve told them what happened and my parents would’ve been in big trouble. I made the ride home as unpleasant as possible for everyone by singing Christmas carols non-stop at the top of my lungs. An hour and twenty minutes later we arrived home and they all clamored out of the car. It may not have been abandonment on a deserted road, but I had gotten under their skin and I took solace in that. My real revenge would have to wait, though. I knew there was a jolly fat man watching and I needed to act the part.

Flash forward about twenty years to a slight fear of abandonment. I can’t imagine why.

Happy holidays from my dysfunctional family to yours!