Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: Spring training is upon us!

Rockin' and rollin'

Rockin' and rollin'
The author of Mark's Work

Coleus flowers

Coleus flowers
Why I grow flowers

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast

HeadSodBuster and BossLady at the coast
Love is the greatest power.

Beauty abounds!

Beauty abounds!
Heinz tomatoes, used for catsup

If you've seen one butterfly, you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.

If you've seen one butterfly,  you've seen 'em all, said no one ever.
Painted Lady

Fall Jewels

Fall Jewels
Praying mantis, attending services on a zinnia...

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017

My souvenir from Reggae on the River, 2017
Something I have always wanted...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Collection of Christmas Reflections # 8: The Fat Red Jabonie

This is the eighth in a series of Christmas reflections.

 The Fat Red Jabonie
Is there any morning in the whole calendar year that feels as sweet as Christmas?  OK, maybe the first morning of summer vacation, IF you are a teacher, might be better.  When it comes to warm and fuzzy, though, Christmas morning tops all, and if there are kids around, then it’s that much better.
The first realization was that I had indeed been finally able to get to sleep, and what was more amazing, I had slept the night through.  Now I could hear clanking in the kitchen, and the sound of a shower going while one of the big boys got ready for eight o’clock mass.  Pa, Eric, Brian, Noel and I all went to the early mass, while Mom and the younger troops went later, after breakfast and present-opening. 

Even church was not as dreary as usual, because Father Mac actually authorized the Women’s Altar Society to decorate it each year.  What they did was bring in twenty or twenty-five freshly cut fir trees, and jam them in along the back of the altar, so that they filled the church with the scent of Christmas, while filling our eyes with greenery.  The organist played Christmas hymns, and we knew what was in store for us, as soon as we finished breakfast.
JT maintains that Christmas morning was the only breakfast of the year that our whole family sat down to together and ate.  I am not sure that is accurate, because I remember Pa lining us all up and telling us that a specific weekend was being given over to accomplishing this roof-tarring venture, or that sewage pipe project, and that everyone was helping.  I then remember Mama going through the refrigerator for left over potatoes, both the boiled ones from the previous night and the mashed ones from the night before that.  She would scramble up a couple dozen eggs, make a pile of toast, and we would all sit down before convening to the site of the work.  Of course, I would concede that one of the big boys was going to get that hunk of left-over steak that Pa had not eaten, because it sure wasn’t going to be me.
However, on Christmas morning, there was certain to be bacon or sausage, with plenty for everyone, eggs, taters, juice and on top of everything else, there was coffee cake.  Christmas Coffee Cake was a once-a-year treat that was universally cherished.  Mama would certainly have made two, and with a little luck, the degree of cremation would be negligible.  Even in the most dire of straits, cremated coffee cake was still pretty dank, and in the grand spirit of the occasion, we overlooked such an insignificant detail.  We were smart enough to recognize that Mama didn’t make the coffee cake for her.
Once we had finished chowing down, and Papa could see that we were straining at the collective bit, he would look at Mama, wink his eye, and wonder idly if any fat, red jabonies had been seen wandering around on the roof last night, and maybe we should “adjourn to the other room.”
We were always careful not to knock him over on our way through to the living room, with the sounds of “O Tannenbaum” ringing through the house.  It’s funny how Noel always managed to be the last one to leave the kitchen, as he paused to make sure that the coffee cake was not being molested [by anyone else but him].
Into the breach we went, each to his or her own stack, where we paused momentarily, assessing the overall picture at a glance and then zeroing in on our individual jackpots.  From time immemorial we had found Christmas morning to consist of this scenario.  As I tore into my stack, I knew from the outset where the end of the tunnel dwelt.  I knew that I could set all speed records for unwrapping my prizes, but I also knew that it was an entire year before I would be able to do it again.  So I took my time.  I looked over at JT’s pile.  (Ugh, a doll.  Poor JT.)  
Whoa.  The Call of the Wild.  Perfect.  I’ll start with that one, before reading The Sinister Signpost, the new Hardy Boys book, that not even Brian had read.  I got a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, a cool magician set, and a  Dodgers pennant, that even Brian thought was bitchin.  What can I say?  Now if only we can keep Noel from bagging the rest of the coffee cake.  You know what they say about the call of the wild.

7 comments:

  1. But it was a BRIDE doll!!! and always the best presents were books and maybe new colored pencils! What a great morning that always was!

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  2. We were easy to please, guitars on the stack, notwithstanding. The folks gave it some serious effort, and the result was a bonanza for a bunch of kids who didn't see a whole lot of superfluous indulging. That's what Christmas afforded us: an opportunity to do some old fashioned wallowing in the good life. Buddha knows we could use a little pampering.

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  3. I know that more than once we were the recipients of some Giving Tree project at church or Bishop Amat..... one more reason for me to always contribute to (and this year orchestrate) such projects in my school. Sadly, the numbers of needy kids who will have lean Christmases are growing.

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  4. What was that all about? I didn't know anything about that. How did you find out? What kind of special goodies did we get? I agree with you about the numbers of needy kids increasing. Sad business.

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  5. I knew about the one from Bishop Amat (the year I was a junior and again when I was a senior) since the nun asked me about it - they provided some toys for the little kids. And one year when I was maybe 10 I discovered a box of toys (I am thinking maybe 8 or 10 items) covered by a tarp or something in the garage (near the freezer which is how I discovered it - sent out on a routine freezer run and curious when I spotted something I hadn't seen in there before). It wasn't until years later that Pauline mentioned that we had received toys a couple of years from maybe a church group?

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  6. Yes, I can still look around at the inside of the garage with my VHS device, as I walk directly in through the big sliding rail door, and go straight ahead to the far wall, with the table saw on my right. Straight ahead, up high, were a couple of shelves that had boxes of whatever in them. I of course knew that they were filled with black widows. Do you remember the time that we went to get Noel's seminary-crafted ceramic Nativity set off of the high shelf just to the right of the small door entrance? The box was filled with thousands of red ants. Simply macabre.

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  7. I do remember that! I too have my cell phone video camera memory only I start at the door by the back porch - walking in with the second refrigerator on my left and those garden tools on the shelves on the right. make a sharp left right after the refrigerator and you will get to the double compartment freezer (the one where Brian kept his coins and you and I kept our 25 cent frozen cream pies! LONG ago the wringer washing machine sat in front of the freezer - and there was that one lovely window that looked out on the greenery adjacent to the birdhouse.... oh, the birdhouse!

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