Christmas at the McCarthy’s

First, Christmas will never be the same again. My grandfather has passed on and he was the Character of Christmas. I’ve seen family’s who just hold Christmas as another day… except for a few presents and, maybe, turkey for dinner. Not so my family. Christmas is AN EVENT. Come prepared.

Almost all my life, the close members of my family have either been A) retired or B) in school or working for schools. So Christmas break is almost always two weeks or more. The Christmas season begins the Friday after Thanksgiving with the:

  1. Rising of the Christmas Tree.
  2. The first batch of fudge
  3. the first batch of divinity
  4. the first batch of peppermint bon-bons
  5. AND the first ummm…. fib… about the upcoming Christmas

Mom bakes almost continuously from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Gran and Tince did to when they were able. I’ve taken over the fudge tradition (apply some science… see my Fudge Recipe earlier in the blog). We’re a diabetics nightmare. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the ancient tins at Mom’s house are full of divinity, pralines, fudge, trash (the candy), haystacks, pies or all kinds, cookies of many varieties, cakes, breads, and chocolates. It’s pretty sad considering that there were 6 of us at peak (me, my wife, mom, Cliff, Gran, and Tince). Now we’re down to five (with Xander… I CAN’T WAIT)

Anyway, Christmas is almost dangerous around my place.  Gran was known for booby-trapping presents.  We’ve had presents that gurgled, that rattled, that buzzed when you moved them.  Of course, one reason for all that is the habit we have of ‘guessing’ our gifts.  We have a tendency to shake, jiggle, and apply excessive logic and scientific cunning to determining the contents of the box.

The best one was one Christmas.  I was getting nervous.  No buzzers, no rattles, no nothing.  18 years of this kind of thing was making me paranoid.  Then… out came the box.

It was  small box, but heavy.  Gran gingerly set it on the table in front of me and backed off.  I was taking careful note of the box and a failed to notice my family… until they moved.  Mom had backed up into the kitchen.  Gran was now hiding behind the couch, just a camera poking over the rim.  Tince had left the building.

There was a slip knot on the string around the box.  I carefully grasped one end of the slip knot and slowly pulled.  The knot wasn’t quite through, when it happened.  I had to rebuild what happened in my mind.  There was a tremendous bang.  There was a puff of smoke and a thud as the box top hit the far wall.

Gran had bought an industrial mouse trap and lined the edge with caps (you remember from cap guns?).  He then pulled the trap back, set a piece of 1×4 on it and tied the whole thing with a slip knot.

And people call me paranoid.  It’s only paranoia if they aren’t out to get you.


~ by OgreMkV on June 9, 2007.

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