Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told!
I would have to say Christmas 1986. Ironically, this is three years prior to the National Lampoon movie classic “Christmas Vacation” so you know this has got to be true. I’ve stated that the movie is actually based on the events of my family that Christmas. I do think, however, the producers toned it down to make it more family friendly.
So sit back, grab your nog (not knob) and enjoy a sweet, loving story of family Christmas past.
(The setting) San Diego, California. I was 20 years old and in love with the biggest loser of all time. This is the man I knew I would spend my life with. He was sweet, wonderful, handsome and totally worthless. We decided to drive to Oregon to spend Christmas with my mother and stepfather. When I say “Oregon”, I don’t mean Portland or anywhere populated. I mean Podunk, Bumfuck, Where the hell am I? Oregon. It was an 18 hour drive in my 1979 Mustang to get there normally. However, in a fucking blizzard in central Oregon, with no heat because my car was a piece of shit, it turned into 24 hours quickly. Yet, with blankets wrapped around my feet we pressed on. Well, I pressed on—he didn’t drive. At. All. Not one mile of the 1000 mile odyssey.
We arrived at our destination cold, hungry and on about $20. I was looking forward to spending what was probably going to be my last Christmas with my stepfather. Not that he was a peach, but he WAS the only father I knew. I also can honestly say that Christmas was the one thing my mom did well. Birthdays she fucked up royally but Christmas? There was food galore (just check out my thighs sometime if you don’t believe me), decorations, lights all over the house and yard—it was usually great.
The surprise came about two hours into our visit. My mother was insisting we drive six hours to Seattle to spend Christmas with my siblings. All seven of them. The four stepkids weren’t going to be there, so it was just us. My stepfather was too ill to travel so my mom basically said, “That’s not my problem. My children are all home for Christmas and I’m going. There’s turkey in the fridge.” And with that, we left. Seriously. And it was his last Christmas. He died a month later. But wait! There’s more…
We pile into my mom’s car and off we drive into the sunset. Really. We were headed west. My brother Zog and his wife M (all nicknames here, btw) had bought and rehabbed an historical mansion in Washington state and turned it into a bed and breakfast. As a sidenote, in 1986 it was voted the best B&B in the Pacific Northwest. Anyway, we all converged on them for the holiday. Sibs, spouses and grandkids. Lets just say a shit ton of people were there.
If you haven’t already gathered, my family is slightly dysfunctional. We’re all very successful, but extremely dysfunctional. Not slightly. It had been a rough year for us with my stepfather’s illness and my sister Fuzz had lost her husband two days before their first wedding anniversary. She was doing well though. He was an attorney and had left her a pile-o-money. This caused some dissent among the commoners because she’s always been the family snob so she had to show us she had money. She and her three year old were in matching nightgowns for Christmas, she only bought top top top shelf liquor, etc.
Speaking of liquor, booze flows freely around my family. Like the Amazon but bigger. We have mimosa’s for brunch, beer with lunch, wine with dinner and anything in between when we’re together. And this Christmas was definitely no exception. We can put it away and we were.
All the sibs were there when we arrived and the party was started. Now my sister Pickle was the non-imbibing one. She had been sober about 10 years at that point but was pretty intolerable of all of us drinking. Had she known that I had a mirror and blade in my purse, she probably would have lost it completely. Hey! It WAS the ‘80’s you know, and I WAS living in California…So, as we get more and more holiday cheer in us, she gets more and more preachy and pissed. We drink more and laugh harder at her.
Now, we really do Christmas up right. Christmas morning, we even had Santa visit the grandkids. Little did they know that it was Uncle Boose. It was Santa! He came down the stairs with gifts for everyone! How exciting! The kids were thrilled and we all got a kick out of it. Get the picture? From the outside, it looked like Currier and Ives or Norman Rockwell. Beautiful old Victorian mansion on a hill overlooking the Olympic Bay, tastefully decorated to go with the era of the house, light snow, 12 foot tree in the library window and the gleeful laughter of children.
So, here’s the scene that’s really happening. My sisters Fuzz (drunk) and Pickle (sober) are completely at each other’s throats; my mom is totally drunk and she and my oldest brother Bubba, also drunk, are rehashing stories from his childhood and how fucked up it was; my brother Zog is in the kitchen with my sister Trigger drinking their asses off (the only really normal ones out of the family); my sister Buv and her husband are the people watchers and are just laughing their asses off at everyone; my sib’s dad (my mother’s first ex) is drunk and trying to talk to anyone that will listen; I’m drinking straight vodka neat and keep going upstairs to shove blow up my nose like it’s a reindeer treat; my other half is completely drunk, coked out and dropping acid. All of this by noon. And Santa? Well, he didn’t really drink. But he DID smoke pot. Does, actually. Like Marlboros. And that’s when it happened. I mean, really happened.
Santa did acid. No kidding. Acid. With my loser. Next thing you know, Santa has a great idea! What is he known for? Presents? Nope. Reindeer? Nope. Going down the chimney??? You got it.
My high-as-a-fucking-kite brother Boose drops acid, smokes a doob, does a line and climbs to the top of a four story mansion to go down the fucking chimney. I have looked high and low for the photo that I have, but I remember it so well! There he was on the roof—sack of toys on his back, one leg down the chimney and attempting to get the other one there, too. We are all outside looking up, watching him, half laughing and half, “What the fuck is he doing?” as we keep drinking. The only thing that stopped him? The chimney was too small at the top for both his legs. I look back now and thank God we didn’t have to explain a dead Santa in the fireplace to eight grandkids…
So the day ended with a beautiful dinner and more wine and champagne. We all tottered off to bed in the wee hours so we could get up to go rollerskating the next day. Yes, we had the wonderful idea of everyone going rollerskating.
Where my mother’s drunk ass promptly fell and broke her wrist.
It was a great drive back to Podunk, Bumfuck, Where the hell am I? Oregon—you can believe it.
(Oh yeah, I kicked Loser to the curb two months later...THAT was my belated present to myself.)