In 1966, Maulana Kereuga, a member of the Black Panther Party (the one that Forest Gump messed with), invented a holiday to celebrate African culture in the United States, but not Africa. “Kwanzaa” became the alternate secular Christmas for some black Americans, but not all bought into it. The citizens of Africa think Kwanzaa is a made-up hot-mess of a holiday and had never heard of it until the late 60s. They celebrate Christmas, like most of the world. I’m betting Forest and Jenny didn’t know about Kwanzaa.
“Festivus.” A Sienfield made-up holiday to bring attention to the over-commercialism of Christmas. Held on December 23rd, it celebrates no giving of gifts, feats of strength, airing of grievances, and questionable miracles, as well as a fine meal of meatloaf and mashed potatoes. In place of a traditional tree, there is an aluminum pole carried by the family elder. Frank and George Castanza convinced Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer that Festivus is a viable and authentic holiday. It makes more sense than Kwanzaa, and at times, Christmas.
So if anyone can make up a holiday, get it printed on a calendar and plastered on television, why can’t I? Well, just hide and watch.
I propose a new holiday that celebrates the elders of our families, the old and almost forgotten, except when birthdays and Christmas roll around and their children expect them to dish out wads of cash on useless gifts for their grand kids.
I’m talking about the senior parents and grandparents. They have toiled in the corporate salt mines, served in the military, died in wars, slaved in the factories and retail stores, walked those miles of isles in Walmart, changed those thousands of bedpans, paved the roadways, built the buildings and houses, and worked the land that provides the food that all our children and grandchildren enjoy. If it wasn’t for Grandma working in that computer chip factory for thirty years, little Johnny and Chelsea wouldn’t have that expensive video game or smart-ass phone that cost a cool grand.
As of today, December 28th, 2021, I proclaim the period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve the holiday of “Respectivus.”
Six humbling days of showing respect and gratefulness to parents and grandparents for all they have made possible for their loving family. Shower them with expensive gifts and fine wines. Send them on all-inclusive cruises to warm climates, and maybe pay off the mortgage that they borrowed against to pay for their children’s college education.
Sure, there will be a few million or more that will send their parents a gift card from Walgreens or maybe a jelly of the month membership or a new sleeve of tennis balls for their walker. Those would be the cheapskate brats that threw a conniption fit when they didn’t get a trophy and a pizza after they lost every game, and now their kids do the same when they don’t get the latest techno-gadget under the.. good God, it’s hard to even write it… “Holiday Tree.”
Implementing this hew holiday won’t be easy. It will take a banding together of old folks to make it happen. Marching in the streets carrying signs, some saying hooray for our side, protesting at the post office and in front of city hall, burning our driver’s license at the polling prescient, riding our personal mobility scooters like a biker gang on the freeway’s, and chaining ourselves to the columns of the White House. The old guy in there should get it; he’s older than we are. Us’un old ones have to stick together like we did in the 60s. So put Steppenwolf on the 8 track, and let’s roll.
I am excited about the tennis balls I might be receiving.
I feel like I’m living in a black and white telecast of the Twilight Zone. The ghost of Rod Serling is sitting in my den telling me stories and smoking Camels. That “dead zone” between Christmas and New Year has arrived.
Christmas can be such a damp squib to one’s spirits. Yet, throughout December, we anticipate the evening of the 24th and the 25th. Plans are made, food and wine are consumed with friends and family, phone calls made, presents exchanged, all in a whirlwind of excitement and frivolity. The world is at peace, life is good, we are all out of debt, and the family members we disliked a week ago now sit in our den spilling beer on our new carpet and double dipping the queso.
Then December 26th arrives, the tire goes flat, the cake goes stale, and the wine is soured. A whole week of angst lies ahead. I stock up on Valium and Tullamore Dew to fortify my journey.
I sit in my cushy recliner, slack jaw, drooling, staring at the ladybug on my ceiling. Pat Sajak is droning in the background, and Vanna is marching across the stage, turning those damn letters. The poor lady loses the car over a pause of 2.5 seconds. Sajak is an asshole. The lady goes home, her predicament goes viral on the net, Audie gives her a car, and Wheel of Fortune comes off looking like the dipshits they are. Why doe’s Vanna White even have a job?
My wife and I have doctor’s appointments this week. She, physical therapy, and me for a sinus invasion. We talk of going to the mountains, the ocean, or anywhere, there is no cedar. Christmas kicked our senior butts. We are as broke as 1930s sharecroppers. So I’m searching for old reruns of the Twilight Zone for insight and inspiration.
The coming Friday evening will bring a welcomed end to the year from Hell. According to the newscast, we will be walled into our homes within a few weeks and most likely deceased by February because of the Omicron bug. New Year’s Eve brings revelers blowing their little paper horns, drinking champagne, groping each other’s butts, and making drunken fools of themselves, but come morning, nothing has changed, and no one gets a pass to start all over. So put on your face diaper and shut up.
I think Rod Serling had it right. “Live every day like you’re in The Twilight Zone;” come to think of it, we are.
Christmas Eve 2021 is upon us, and there is no escaping it.
I’m aware that my advanced age drives many of my phobias and fits of melancholia. Still, with our country going to complete crap in a Crate and Barrel wooden box, it’s impossible to fool me into becoming a smiling Father Christmas sitting around the fire drinking hot chocolate while reading “The Night Before Christmas” to our wokie grandkids. But, of course, they wouldn’t understand why someone would write such a fairytale. They are much too smart for their young age, thanks to Google and iPhones.
Yeah, I’m an old school guy with old school thoughts, when I can remember them. My wife says she is worried about me; I don’t remember things she says she told me ten minutes earlier. I tell her, “well maybe you didn’t tell me but thought you did.” It goes both ways. Then I find my car keys in the refrigerator, next to my reading glasses and wallet.
I used to laugh when my father asked me what day is it? Now, I am my father and my son laughs at me. Aging is not for pussy’s. It takes a real man to survive it.
That’s why I write short stories and blog, it keeps my mind sharp, and my wit acrid. The brain is a muscle that craves stimulation. I would think the number of medications I take would do that job, but creating fictional characters and predicaments based on my street rat crazy family makes me a whole person.
Who needs genealogy? I don’t. My grandmother, mother, aunts, uncles, and other relatives tell my sister and me that we are related to the famous female outlaw; Belle Starr. Also to Chief Quanah Parker and Will Rogers. Of course, they have no written proof, only hearsay delivered around a campfire or a supper table. I sent some spit to a genealogy outfit and they sent me a report. It wasn’t what I expected.
Northern European, Russian, English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, and Neanderthal; not one molecule of American Indian, even though my Granny was born and raised on a reservation in Oklahoma and lived in a teepee. I called them up. The nice lady said the American Indigenous tribes are secretive and don’t give out information. She assured me I was probably a Cherokee and could go on acting like one if it made me feel better. Stupid ass lady. I do feel better.
Have a Merry Christmas and may you live in the land of good water, bountiful game, and cold beer.
A personal recount of my childhood Christmas memories.
Riding a ceiling-mounted “Rocket Train” to nowhere around the basement of a department store doesn’t seem like a Christmas thing, but that’s what thousands of other Texas kids and I did every year in the 1950s.
Leonard Brothers Department Store occupied two square blocks of downtown Fort Worth real estate and was known as the Southwest’s Macy’s. They offered everything the big shot stores in the East carried, and then, hundreds of items no retailer in their right mind would consider.
If you had a mind to, one could purchase a full-length mink coat with optional mink mittens, the latest women’s high-fashion clothing line from Paris France, an Italian cut-crystal vile of Elizabeth Taylors spit, James Dean’s signature hair tonic, Rock Hudson’s autographed wedding photos, a housebroken Llama, an aluminum fishing boat and motor, a new car, a pole barn, a nice two-story craftsman home “build it yourself kit” delivered to your lot, chickens, barb wire, hay, horses and cows, a 30-30 Winchester rifle, a 40 caliber autographed General George Custer Colt pistol, a bottle of good hootch and a Ford tractor. That’s about as Texas as it gets.
The Christmas season in downtown Fort Worth was internationally recognized for its innovative and wonderous decorations. The righteous city fathers figured the best way to out-do Dallas, a full-time effort, was to line every building with white lights from top to bottom and install large glowing decorations on every lamp pole, street light, and building façade available. If that didn’t make you “ooooh and ahhhh,” then you needed to go home and hide in a closet.
A week, or so, after Thanksgiving, my parents would take my sister and me downtown to see the decorations and visit the Leonard Brothers Department Store. Santa just happened to be in their basement taking advanced verbal orders from every crumb cruncher that could climb the stairs and plop on his lap.
My sister, in between screams and crying fits, always asked for the latest doll. She was scared senseless of “HO-HO,” but she somehow managed to spit out her order. Like clockwork, every year, I asked for a Daisy BB Gun with a year’s supply of stainless silver ammo ( for killing werewolves), a full-size Elliot Ness operable Thompson Sub Machine Gun, or an Army surplus Bazooka with real rockets and a long, razor-sharp Bowie knife encased in a fringed leather holster. It was a 1950s boy thing; weapons were what we longed for. How else could we defeat Santa Anna at the Alamo or win World War II, again? Our neighborhood may have sported the best-supplied “kid army” on the planet, and jolly old Santa was our secret arms dealer; parents non-the wiser. I finally got the BB Gun, but Santy was wise enough to not bring the other request.
Walking down the stairs to the store’s basement was the thrill I waited for all year. There, hanging above my head, was the beautiful red and silver tinseled sign, “Toy Land,” kid nirvana, and the Holy Grail all in one room. The smell of burned popcorn and stale chocolate candy wafted up the stairs, and I could hear the cheesy Christmas choir music and the sound the Rocket Train made as it glided along the ceiling-mounted rails. I almost pissed my jeans.
Hundreds, if not thousands of parents jostled down isles of toys, pushing, grabbing, snarling like a pack of wild dogs fighting for that last toy; the holiday spirit and common courtesy was alive and well. The queue of kids for the Rocket Train snaked through the basement like a soup line.
There, sitting on his mini-mountain top perch, sat old red-suited Santa Claus and his elfin apprentices, herding kids to his lap at break-neck speed. Each child got about fifteen-seconds, a black and white photograph, and then it was off the lap and down the steps. Kids were fast in those days; we memorized and practiced our list weeks before our visit for maximum impact. “Ho-Ho” had better be writing this stuff down. Kids don’t forget, squat.
Two Santa visits, four Rocket Train rides, and three popcorn bags later, our family unit departed Leonard’s for the new and improved “Leonard’s Christmas Tree Land,” located across the street from the main building. Thanks to the demolition of several winos infested abandoned buildings, the new lot was now the size of Rhode Island and held enough trees for every person and their dog in Texas.
Thousands, if not millions of fresh-cut trees awaited our choosing. Father, always the cheapskate, chose a sensible tree; not too big, not too small, yet full and fluffy with a lovely piney aroma. My sister and I pointed and danced like fools for the “pink flocked” tree in the tent, that cost the equivalent of a week’s salary. My parents enjoyed our cute antics. The sensible tree was secured to the top of our Nash Rambler station wagon, and we are homeward bound.
Pulling into our driveway, it was impossible to miss our neighbors extravagant holiday display. We had been away from home for 6 hours and returned to a full-blown holiday extravaganza that made our modest home look like a tobacco road share-croppers shack.
Our next-door neighbors, Mr. Mister and Mrs. Mister were the neighborhood gossip fodder. The couple moved from Southern California for his job. He, an aircraft-design engineer, and she, a former gopher girl at Paramount Studios. The Misters reeked new-found money and didn’t mind flaunting it. They drove tiny Italian sports cars and hired a guy to mow their lawn. His wife, Mrs. Mister, always had a Pall Mall ciggie in one hand and a frosty cocktail in the other. Father said she looked like a pretty Hollywood lady named Jane Mansfield, but Mother said she resembled a “gimlet-assed dime-store chippy.” I got the impression that the Misters were quite popular in the neighborhood.
Their Christmas display was pure Cecil B. DeMille. A life-size plywood sleigh, with Santa and his reindeer, covered the Mister’s roof, and 20 or more automated Elves and various holiday characters greeted passersby. Twinkling lights covered every bush and plant in the yard, and a large machine spat out thousands of bubbles that floated through the neighborhood. This was far more than Fort Worth was ready for.
The kill-shot was their enormous picture window that showcased a ceiling-high blue flocked tree bathed in color-changing lights. There, framed in the glow of their yuletide decor, sat Mr. and Mrs. Mister with their two poodles, Fred and Ginger, perched on their expensive modern sofa, sipping vermouth martinis like Hollywood royalty. This display of pompacious decadence didn’t go unnoticed by my parents.
Father hauled our puny tree into the living room and began unpacking lights for the decorating that would happen tomorrow evening. Mother hurried my sister and me off to bed. Visions of spying Elves, sugar plum pudding, and dangerous weapons danced in my head; Christmas was upon us.
Sometime after 10 PM, Father got hungry. Searching for sandwich fixings in the kitchen, he found a bottle of Jim Beam bourbon. Then he found a fresh half gallon of Egg-Nog, which of course, he enjoyed with the bourbon. While searching for bread to make the ham sandwich, he found two “Lux Laundry Soap Flake” boxes, with a dish-towel in each one. Then by chance, he discovered the food coloring. This gave him an idea for our sad little tree.
I awoke in a start. The sun was shining in my face, which meant I was late for school. I ran into the living room and was stopped in my tracks.
Our formally green tree was now flocked in thick pink snow, as were the curtains, the fireplace mantel, two chairs, the coffee table, and my father, who lay on the couch, passed out, with a half-eaten ham sandwich on his chest. My Mother sat a few feet away, sipping her coffee and smoking a Winston; my Louisville slugger lay on her lap. I was reluctant to approach her, but I had to know.
I timidly put my hand on her shoulder and asked, “Mom, is Dad going to be alright?” She took a sip of coffee and a drag from her ciggie and said, “well, for right now, he will be, but after he wakes up, who knows.”
Since I don’t subscribe to expensive cable television anymore, and my wimpy HD antenna receives only when it feels like it, I missed the annual telecast of Charlie Browns Christmas show.
Actually, there are only two parts I like; when they are dancing to ” Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi and when Linus recites his Christmas speech under the spotlight. The rest is also fun, but those two scenes make the show. Now I’m bummed because I missed it, and the networks along with Disney, who owns the rights, so they show it once a year and don’t let anyone know when, until the last minute. Sort of like Cong-television. Pop-up entertainment.
New York City is shuttering Broadway for a second year. The Rockett’s were sent home with a fruit basket and a frozen Turkey, and Saturday Night Live is going on with its infamous Christmas show minus a live audience and limited cast and crew, which would improve the performance. So instead, Omicron has arrived in grand style with the highest ratings yet for a virus.
Why was there no “Omicron” balloon in Macy’s parade? An ” Omicron” dressed as Santa sitting in his sleigh would have made the kiddies squeal with delight. DeBlasio knew it was in his city, waiting patiently to make a late but well-timed entrance, descending a gold lame’ staircase like one of Truman Capote’s society Swans. The pesky bug is full of itself, flexing its Christmas muscle and looking every bit, the superstar that it is.
Maya Sharona, head correspondent humanoid for NPR, caught up with a few typical New Yorkers in Times Square that voiced their displeasure with the new shut down and mandates.
Mustafa De’ San Angelo, a well-known homeless beggar, and famous Times Square criminal, told Ms. Sharona that his business is down by Eighty percent since last weekend, so he will have to start robbing other beggers or resume mugging the elderly. Ms. Sharona offered him a twenty-dollar bill, but he punched her in the face and snatched her Gucci purse. A nearby cop promptly wrote her a ticket for bleeding on the sidewalk and crying in public.
The New York Post of the Salvation Army, in its attempt to make the organization more white and less racist, sent all-white employees home without pay for the rest of the year. When asked if the Army would be hosting the annual feed the homeless Christmas dinner at Madison Square Garden, their spokesperson said, ” we don’t have anyone left to work, and they took all their food home with them.” They put in a call to Joe and Jill Biden about donating some grub, but they are not returning calls.
This Christmas may be better than last year. Right?
After hearing president Devo’s dire prediction today, “It’s going to be a cold winter of severe illness and painful deaths.” Taking his prediction to heart, my wife and I are making our final arrangements. Well, not really, but maybe. The drama around the country is so thick you would think the Kardashian’s are writing sniffy’s teleprompter speeches. So our little statement is a wokie stab at black humor. Can I say ” black humor?” Is that too racist? Am I canceled?
It’s not every day our government, meaning head elf Fauci and president Poopy Pants, tells us we are doomed and will likely expire within a few months due to the Omicron BR549 Virus. The vile little bug, engineered to be quite intelligent and talkative, says it doesn’t matter if we are jabbed, the vax is a juvenile joke, and it farts in our general direction. Such a cheeky little bugger.
Our rotting, and recently retired carcasses will be found in our fancy new leather recliners, a melted cocktail still clutched in our skeletal fingers, and Netflix running on the television.
Come to think of it, I don’t believe any American president has given such a grim forewarning to our country. His wife ( not a doctor ), Jill Biden, is busy fielding angry emails on Hunter’s new laptop while making sure Ole’ Joe has plenty of diapers. Prince Charles’s wife ( never will be queen ) Camilla sent JoeBee a Costco UK membership and a coupon for a year’s worth of free Lavender scented adult diapers. For a commoner, she has such a royal sense of humor.
To save money and lessen the grief of our family and friends, when we do expire from the Omicron, after Christmas, we are holding a wake and celebration of life for ourselves. Of course, we won’t be dead quite yet, but this way we can hear the nice things folks say about us and be able to enjoy the excellent food, booze, and lovely gifts. We hope to see you at the gathering.
The Salvation Army, the one outfit I have relied on for the past 50 years to do the right thing, is now going full-blown BLM, Biden-loving butt-kissing wokie bullcrap. Those red kettle bell ringers outside of Walmart and Hobby Lobby can count on nothing from me and most likely a few hundred million other Americans. I regret that this Christmas season, I have already given around fifty dollars to these beggars, and there is no way to get it back. The holidays tend to bring the soured cream to the top of the milk fat. It’s a sad day.
The news is that the Salvation Army hates white people. Well, guess what Salvation Army, it’s the middle-class white folks that give to the organization that allows you to exist and to help others.
Have a Merry Christmas and kiss my non-donating rear.
Maybe Santa can fill your red kettle. Well, maybe the Dallas Cowboys can send a few wokie bucks your way. Morons.
When I was young and started to read books, real books, not the comics my friends read and I had no interest in, I discovered Mark Twain. I thank my elementary school librarian for that. She gently guided me into a world of imagination through a masterful author.
After reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I was going to be Mark Twain. It didn’t matter to me that almost a hundred years earlier, he had already been Mark Twain; I was set on becoming him, through me, a ten-year-old with limited writing ability. However, I did have a colorful imagination, so that was a good start.
It wasn’t that I couldn’t write, I did write exceptionally well for my age, but I didn’t possess the mind of Mr. Twain. I hadn’t known Tom Sawyer, or Jim, or Huckleberry, or lived on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. I was a kid stuck in Fort Worth, Texas, with a Big Chief Tablet and a handful of No. 2 pencils.
I read other authors as well, but they weren’t Mr. Twain. Jack London was too scary, and too many wild animals. John Steinbeck was a masterful storyteller, and I did make it through most of The Grapes of Wrath, which mirrored what my grandparents and father had lived through. I continued to write on my tablet. I didn’t knowingly plagiarize any author, but they did give me good ideas and taught me to group words into a story.
The day my class let out for Christmas vacation, my teacher asked the class to share what we wanted to be when we grew up. It wasn’t a serious exercise, only one to kill the last 30 minutes of the school day.
The usual from our age group was a doctor, a fireman, a policeman, and some of the girls who wanted to be teachers or nurses. When my turn came, I stood up and announced, with all seriousness, that I want to be Mark Twain. Mrs. Badger, my teacher, promptly informed me that there already was a Mark Twain, and he had been dead for a while now.
I answered, ” yes, I know, but, his spirit requires that I continue on with his writings, and witt. So I will be the new Mark Twain.” I was in the principal’s office within a few minutes.
I never became Mark Twain, except in my daydreams or nightmares, but I did learn to appreciate good writing and stories.
The hundreds of hours I wasted thinking about Santa Claus; where he lived, was he happy, did Mrs. Claus make him hot cocoa and cookies, do his deer have a lovely barn, how do they fly, did he get my letter, was I on the nice or naughty list, are his Elves watching me?
My life was consumed by Santa from 4 years old until I turned 9. I was a true believer, a young pilgrim to the point of becoming a child Santa Evangelist. Anyone says something terrible about Santa, it was put up your dukes time or a come to Santa prayer meeting. My younger sister was also a firm believer, but then, she was brainwashed by me, and I was programmed by my parents, grandparents, and the rest of the fam damnly.
On Thanksgiving Day, the trickery commenced around our household. First, my mother, the master of deceit, would warn us about the naughty list and what would happen if we were on it. Then it was, ” the Elves are watching you through the windows to see if you’re good.” That’s the one that got to me the most. I had a plan to catch them.
After lights out, I slinked out of bed under cover of my darkened room. Crawling on my belly like a soldier, I made my way to the nearest window. Back against the wall, I slid up and moved the blinds in a flash, hoping to catch the little guys. I never saw one spying on me, but I knew they were there and faster on the draw. Santa and his gang were tricky.
The annual Christmas visit to Leonard Brothers Department Store in downtown Fort Worth was the ultimate Santa experience. Toyland was akin to holiday Nirvana for us kids. A rocket ship monorail glided around the basement ceiling, kids packed in like sardines on a rocket train to nowhere. Parents rush to purchase presents while the kids are busy, hiding them under their coats or in bags and lying to their innocent children with straight parental faces.
Santa held his court in the middle of Toyland. His throne was 10 ft. off the ground, with stairs leading up and then down. A majestic sight if there ever was one. Sitting in a velvet chair fit for a king while his Elfin helpers lifted the crumb crunchers on and off of his lap, it was pure excellence. A line of snot-nosed kids snaked around the room, waiting for their chance to place their order, up the stairs, on the lap for 15 seconds, then off the lap, and down the stairs. The visit was over before you knew what had happened. It was the same routine for years, and I loved it. I could spit out my order in under 10 seconds. Santa and his helpers were impressed.
I asked Santa for a bicycle when I was 9 years old. A red and white machine with side mirrors, streamers, a headlight, and white-side-wall balloon tires. I also asked for a new BB Gun, a larger Cub Scout knife, and a Fanner 50 cap pistol with green stick-um caps. My sister asked him for a doll that was larger than she was and a dollhouse.
Christmas Eve arrived, bedtime rolled around, and we hit the sack. Hot Ovaltine and cookies put me out like a light. Then, sometime after midnight or later, I had to pee. I didn’t want to get up, but the Ovaltine was causing me some discomfort. Half asleep, shuffling down the hallway, I looked into the living room as I passed the doorway. With a Schlitz beer in his hand, my father was sitting by the tree, assembling a red bike like the one I was expecting. My mother was working on a cardboard dollhouse, and the giant doll my sister wanted was standing under the tree looking creepy.
I convinced myself that Santa must have run out of time and had recruited my parents to complete his work. The reality of the sight was not an option.
My father looked up and saw me standing there; our eyes met, and he smiled like a raccoon caught in a trash can. The jig was up. The big lie was exposed, and my childhood imploded right there in the hallway. Daddy was Santa, and mom was Mrs. Claus. I peed and made my way back to bed, not comprehending what I had witnessed.
I awakened at daybreak, our usual Christmas morning routine. I was thankful to be awake and away from the nightmare that had gripped me most of the night. I was relieved that it was all caused by the Ovaltine. The gifts were under the tree, and life was good. I loved the bike and the BB Gun, but my sister was afraid of the enormous lifelike doll.
After breakfast, I was lying under the Christmas tree building an army fort with my plastic soldiers. That’s when I found a Schlitz beer bottle, assembly instructions for a bike, and a few tools.