Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Through the Years

Since tomorrow is Christmas, I thought I'd take a minute to relive some of my more favorite memories from Christmases past...

I think most people's fondest holiday memories are from their childhood and I'm no exception. My fondest memories are from the Christmases we spent at my Memere & Pepere's house. My mom has a big family and grew up in a big house that was always fun for us when we were kids. But Christmas was the best.

Of course, being from a divorced family meant that we actually got TWO Christmases every year. When were younger, I think I always enjoyed the ones with mom's family, but those ended around 1985. I remember the year because it was a pretty memorable Christmas. Memere & Pepere had just moved into a new (much smaller) house and I guess it was decided that it would be the last one they hosted. So it was a big one. Their new house had a cool bar downstairs and my cousin Brent and I took it upon ourselves to play bartender for the night. We set up behind the bar with our mixed drink book and tip jar and had a ball. A couple things stick out about that night. The first is that I got to watch my first ever Patriots playoff game. In it, the Pats beat the Jets 26-14 en route to their first ever Superbowl (we won't go there). The other thing I remember about that night was my Aunt Joanne's new husband Bill. Bill was a Jehovah's Witness. Aunt Joanne had met him in the hospital where she worked, converted, and they got married. They didn't celebrate Christmas of course, but I guess they agreed to attend since it was the last Christmas everyone would be together and a good opportunity for everyone to meet Bill. As it turned out, Bill was our best customer that night. He was quite a drinker that Bill, at the bar every 15 minutes asking for another 7 and 7. And the funniest part was that I, being a typical 14 year old, was wearing an AC/DC t-shirt. On one of his many visits to the bar, he decided to take me to task for wearing such an evil piece of clothing.

"AC/DC huh? You know what AC/DC stands for? AFTER CHRIST, DEVIL COMES!"

I just laughed, explained that they actually got the name after seeing it on a vacuum cleaner, and poured him another 7 and 7.

Christmases with my dad's family were usually pretty entertaining as well. Right around '86 my dad had moved into a new condo and decided to host the family at his place. Christmases over his place each year were legendary for one reason - food. My dad is a tremendous cook, and we have a large French Canadian family, so there was plenty of food. In fact, each year most of my friends always found time to at least stop by to say Merry Christmas to my dad for the sole purpose of having a few plates of food. Steak tips, shrimp cocktail, manicotti, spare ribs, meat pie, the food was phenomenal. In fact, if Tracy or Eric read this, feel free to comment and remind me of the stuff I forgot...

Of course, the best and funniest Christmas ever was in 1984 at my Aunt Fran's house. It was the best because of the haul that I got that year - a stereo boom box, 3 albums that I wanted (Rush's "Moving Pictures" and "Signals" and Quiet Riot's "Metal Health"), a .22 caliber rifle, and a new fly rod. And the funniest because of my dad; he got drunk and became the life of the party, keeping everyone is stitches all night. He played Santa (the guy who hands out the presents) and one of the first gifts that he opened was a pair of ski goggles which he wore the rest of the night while handing out the gifts and cracking jokes. At one point, he came across a long rectangular box for my great aunt Alice. He grabbed it, held it against his crotch in a phallic manner and exclaimed "Hey Aunt Alice, I got a big one here for you!", which had everyone in the room laughing for about 10 minutes. To this day, my brother and sister and I laugh about it. And the funniest part was the next morning when my very hungover father called my Aunt and said "Fran, I think I accidentally took someone's ski goggles home..."

No comments: