Christmas was a little out of the ordinary for us this year. It turned into a whirlwind road trip of sorts. Two of my three daughters are pregnant right now and one of them is getting close to her due date and did not need to travel, so we took Christmas to her. We caught everyone else on our way back to Louisville and actually spent Christmas day “home alone,” doing nothing. I was reminded that I don’t “do nothing” very well. However, it did give me a chance to reminisce.
My wife enjoyed reminiscing this year too. It came about because of the gift she purchased her brother Chuck. He and I grew up in the era where music formats were rapidly changing. We both had our introduction to music in the form of LPs with great cover art. Unlike me, he still has his old album collection, so Lori decided to buy him a record player, allowing him to take his own trip into the past. Chuck is the oldest of the children. Lori and her other brother, Brad ( she lost Brad to an accident many years ago), were several years younger, a lot smaller and much more innocent at the time. Chuck desperately wanted an album for Christmas from the “new” band, KISS. The presents were wrapped and under the tree, one of them addressed to Chuck looking very much like an album. Like most kids, when their parents were away, Chuck began nosing in the presents, shaking, peeking, pulling and trying to figure out what it was. Convinced it was the album he had asked for and not willing to wait another minute to enjoy it, he took a razor blade and carefully cut the paper, slipping out the album. It was a perfect and nearly undetectable crime… until he queued it up and “Strutter” filled the room.
That is when my wife, Lori, and Brad came into the room. Now, you know how brothers and sisters are, right? Always loving and supporting and…uh, no! Not at that age. It was more like, “I’m going to tell! I’m going to tell! Wait till mom and dad get home!” It was then and there that dear brother Chuck learned how the “family” works. It’s all about intimidation…and complicity. He not only threatened to beat them up, he forced them to open a present as well, so they couldn’t tell. Brilliant! A real criminal in the making.
My wife thoroughly enjoyed telling that story when she gave Chuck his record player this year. Right in the middle of it, their mother looked up and said, “You really opened your present and played it while we were gone? You little shit!” Best moment of the night. Sort of reminds me of my oldest daughter, the one we went to visit. It sounds exactly like something she would have done! She has admitted that she was a bit of a snoop and, being the oldest, I’m pretty sure she would have had no problem threatening the little kids if they told. With any luck my grandsons will pay her back. Got a good Christmas story or memory? I’d love to hear it.