Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas memories

Well it’s another damned Christmas and this little Cub is nauseated with the commercial assault of the holiday. Don’t get me wrong. I like Christmas –in fact I LOVE it. There are many happy memories associated with the holiday for me. I just can’t stand when it is quite often the case, that someone’s love for you is valued in the gift that they got you for Christmas. There’s one commercial in particular that I find very offensive on E-Bay. This Mid-West blonde yahoo is bitching about how he got a home-made gift from his elderly relative. It was a hand knit something or other. He suggested that a Snow Board on E-Bay was by far a better and more thoughtful gift. What …..a Jerk ! As an advocate for Bay Area Elders I am incensed that the cretins who chose this advertising for E-bay and got away with it. Don’t they realize we are in a recession and like a bazillion Americans are out of work? Don’t they realize that many of the nation’s elderly lost their retirement income in the last big stock market disaster? Complete IRA’s shriveled like a penis exposed to a thirty below wind chill….brrrrrr  Christmas is about time together and my other favorite reason to celebrate –incredibly delicious food.

Of course ….I wasn’t always this understanding as my mother continually brings up. When I was a child, all the commercialism of the season had thoroughly brainwashed me into thinking, “He who has the most toys wins!! Every year I very carefully mined the Sears Catalogue and writing every toy down on a list for Santa. I simply wrote down each toy without really considering whether I would like it or not. There were very few boys’ toys that I liked, unless it exploded so I could scare people, or if it flashed colors and produced an interesting smoke or smell -or it was GI Joe …that was the extent of my interest in boy toys… I liked pretty shiny things and anything that required creativity. I liked dolls but only if they had lots of outfits to wear. Baby Dolls bored me so I guess I wasn’t the nurturing type. So I made this massive list to Santa which invariably sent my older brother (by 5 years) into huge angry temper tantrums. He yelled, “Look at him MOM!!! He CAN’T ask for ALL that stuff!!!  He Can’t!!! Santa won’t give it all to him.”

“Yes he will.” I smugly said. This made him howl all the much more which to be frank, kind of delighted me.

“You’re GREEDY!!” He hissed at me. Well maybe he was right. It wasn’t uncommon for me to march into my house after visiting my friend Tracy next door, and announce that Santa needed to do better for me. You see - Tracy was 6 or 7 years older than me, but we exchanged Christmas gifts every year. I always got to open Tracy’s gift on Christmas Eve because my mother couldn’t handle the incessant pleading in my big blue eyes. I would go over on Dec 23rd   to her house and exchange our gifts. I had been informed, or overheard at one point that Tracy was ADOPTED. At the tender age of 8, ADOPTED meant something unfortunate, although I wasn’t really quite clear on what was so unfortunate about it. Tracy looked like she had it pretty good to me.

Tracy would bring me into the living room and look for the gift she got for me among an obscene pile of gifts that partially obliterated the heavily decorated tree. She would hand the gift to me and I would give her the one I brought to her. I squinted down at the tree and saw that nearly every gift was tagged TO TRACY.  I looked at her and asked, “How many presents did you get?” She swung her long straight chest nut hair ala Cher and replied simply, “78” I sucked in my breath. I knew if I were lucky I’d get 12 or 15 but 78!!!! Holey Moley!!!

My mother jumped as I slammed the backdoor. “Tracy Sanders has 78 presents!!!” I caterwauled at her. “Help Mom!!! There’s no time for a letter to the North Pole. I need Santa’s Phone number NOW!!” I clung to her skirt in desperation digging my little fingernails into her thigh “I’ll be a disgrace on Vine Street if Tracy Sanders gets more presents than I do. Call him!” I barked “Call him now and tell him what a good boy I am. Tell him I am the best boy in the whole world. For the love of God-. DO IT NOW WOMAN!!!!”  

The following year when I was 9, my mother and I went Christmas shopping for Tracy’s gift. Mom bought her a bottle of hair conditioner for her long straight beautiful hair for $2.99.