Friday, December 2, 2011


     It’s the beginning of December.  Thanksgiving is over, Christmas music is floating out of every store, and it’s time to put up the Christmas tree.  I like this time of year.  Dragging out the decorations and remembering where each family ornament came from give us a chance to reconnect with the past while dreaming of the future.  It’s magic.  It’s wonderful.  Except for one thing.

      The Yankee loses his mind. 

      I’m not sure why it happens, or even when it started, but Christmas decorating does something to him and this year is no exception.  After discussing the general layout of the decorations, he went to the garage to retrieve the requisite boxes, carefully packed and waiting since last year.  I shifted furniture as he hauled the boxes in one at a time, loading up the dining room table and floor.  It was a glorious sight and I was feeling the Christmas spirit already. 

      That’s when it started. 

      I unpacked a few boxes and wondered which job would be best to accomplish first, so I posed my query to the resident electrician, “Would you like me to start untangling lights or assembling the tree?”  Not looking up from his tool box, he muttered, “Sure.”  Sure? I asked a multiple choice question, not a yes or no question.  What kind of an answer is sure?  Painful experience has taught me not to press the issue when his head is buried in the tool box, so I just started assembling the tree.  And on a side note, yes, my tree is fake.  Proudly, loudly, unapologetically fake as George Hamilton’s tan.  I grew up with real trees and they are a nightmare.  No store-bought product, folksy wives-tale remedy, or “expert” cure can salvage a tree that is on its way to becoming firewood.  Humidifiers, more water, less water, no water, “Magic Tree Moisturizer”, moist toilettes, woodland fairy incantations … it doesn’t matter.  NOTHING works.  Within four days, that tree is a crispy, crunchy, rocket shaped fire hazard with ornaments.  One misplaced candle and KABOOM … Christmas gives way to the Fourth of July. 

      Anyway, I went about assembling my fake tree with strains of Bing Crosby’s golden voice filling the air.  I finally finished arranging the fake branches on the fake stump and stood back to admire my work as Buttercup declared it “beautiful”.  The Yankee came around the corner, eyebrows furrowed, and grunted slightly as I showed him the finished tree.  I decided even he could not dampen my holiday cheer, so I offered to help with the jobs he usually take upon himself.  “Would you like me to untangle lights now? Or should I work on decorating the windows?”  Without making any eye contact, he grunted, “Yeah.”  Grrr.  I hate it when he does that.  Well, it was starting to get darker outside so I decided to decorate the windows.  He drags the ladder out of the garage to hang lights on the house.  I tried to tell him that it was getting dark outside, but he kept walking.  Two hours, five boxes of icicle lights, and a tripped breaker later, he had the roof outlined in lights. 

      He walked back into the house, his mental fog barely lifted.  I saw his hand and gently touched his shoulder, “Umm,” I began, “Where did the blood come from?”  He shook his head a little as if clearing the remainder of the fog away, “Gee, I don’t know!  Hmm, son-of-a-gun, wonder how that happened?”  I gently smiled.  “You’ve been in your Christmas fog, so ripping flesh probably didn’t phase you.”  He looked up at me with a puzzled expression.  “Huh?  It’s not foggy, Bert.  Geez.  Wake up a little.” 

      Taking a deep breath, I look at my lovingly hung wreaths, my fully decorated tree, and the little drop of blood on the floor from The Yankee’s hand wound.  It’s Christmas.  I’ve decided to let him live to see another one. 

© Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

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