Monday, December 25, 2006

Get Yer Ass in the Kitchen, Woman (A Christmas Story)

It was 1979 and I was 9 years old. This particular Christmas my Dad had planned a big surprise for my mom, and told her repeatedly how much she was going to love her gift. He told her it would be something she's always wanted, how everyone in the family would love it, and that it was tailor-made for her. Knowing my Dad's sense of humor and keen wit, I'm certain he told her that she'd use this gift everyday to show him how much she loved him. He truly worked her into a wet-your-pants stupor about this gift.

Christmas morning brought a huge, perfectly wrapped box with a giant bow labeled "To Nancy From Santa." As the youngest, I was the designated present distributor and slid the box carefully across the room to her. Her face was glowing with excitement. My father beamed.

I'll never quite forget the face she made when she carefully tore off the wrapping paper. It was a perfect combination of utter horror masked caringly with feigned glee. All eyes were on her as she unwrapped it--not to see the gift, but the reaction. This year, Santa had brought her a brand new (and purposefully crappy) set of pots and pans. As instructed, we each devilishly chimed in about how awesome it was.

My Dad immediately helped her open the box and suggested that she take one of her new pots into the kitchen to make hot chocolate for the family. She agreed with the dutiful smile of a wife and mother, but with a glimmer in her eyes like that of the Boston Strangler. As an independent, well-educated and successful woman, we all knew she'd not take too well to the idea that pots and pans would make her life complete. "I think this one would be good to use," said my Dad, and handed her a well-packaged pot and lid, "You can take that plastic off in the kitchen." And so she did.

From the living room, we each listened quietly as we heard her removing the packaging from the pot. We heard a rip here, a tear there, and then the sound of the lid being placed on the countertop. And then: a tearful gasp. A loud one. Inside that pot, behind the carefully crafted ruse of the worst Christmas present ever, my father had taped an enormous diamond ring.

Without a doubt, that had to be the best hot chocolate she'd ever tasted...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!


At 9:39 PM, Blogger Michael Guy said...

"Merry Christmas, Dave!" I LOVE this story. I think it sums up what I like best about the day: that 'christmas moment' when the unexpected and the unbelievable manifest under the guise of 'worst present ever.' Great story, 'thanks' for sharing.

At 10:56 PM, Anonymous Jake said...

Man, that story made me want to cry. What a touching Christmas story. Lately, I've been a real sucker for all that. Probably because I've been dating a great guy for 2 months now.

I hope you had a good day today, Dave.

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the kinda story I keep checking your blog for. Thank you, Dave.


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