Monday, December 26, 2005


My granddaughter, the Little General, told me yesterday as we sat eating our Christmas dinner that "Last night sugarplums danced in my head and I didn't even feel them."

Just so you know.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Oh, To Be Fifty

My only older brother would have turned fifty this month, if he had lived past the age of seventeen. For years, his birthday, December 16th, was the day we put up our Christmas tree. I don't remember if we carried on that tradition after he died or not. I doubt it. We never much spoke about him at all after that, except in general terms. It was too hard for Mama. I often wonder what he would have been like, who he would have married, how many kids he would have had. He wasn't my favorite brother. He was the only boy in the family older than 20 months...and he never let me forget it. My two older sisters were never bothered by him. They had senority over him in the pecking order, and the six siblings after me seemed unattractive to him, so I was the victim of most of his boyism. He once smeared a soft stick of butter into my hair just for the fun of it. No, he was not my favorite brother.

But a Christmas never passes that I don't remember him and all his madness. He was a boy through and through. He loved going into the woods with, first, his BB gun and later a .22 rifle and hunting squirrels with our cousins. He loved swimming in the bay and chopping things with his hatchet, the one Grandma took away from him the very Christmas morning he got it because he might hurt his nine year old took Mama a week to get that hatchet back. For some reason, he could always be trusted with weapons.

The summer before he died, he learned to drive and discovered girls. He found out that the baptist church around the corner had a Christian Life Center with a bowling alley and a pool so he went and got his little Catholic head baptised in Baptist water so he wouldn't have to sneak in to bowl anymore. He came home one day and told Mama he had read a book that the youth minister had given him called Run Baby Run about the New York gang leader Nicky Cruz and that she needed to read it. She did read it, and later she would say that she was sure my brother had met Christ before he died. That year he went to his first dance, a Christmas formal, wearing a tux and all. The picture of him and his date standing proudly on the winding staircase, taken two months before his death, was one of Mama's most treasured Christmas gifts.

He was always the first one awake on Christmas morning and the proud announcer that Santa had come. As he grew, it became his job to carry the Christmas tree to the car and later, after Christmas, he would carry ALL of the neighbor's discarded Christmas trees to our backyard to make a forest for us to play in. I wish he had turned fifty this year. For all the butter in my hair, I'm sure I am a lesser person because of his absence and I still have fond memories of my mean big brother.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I Won the Light Fight

Tree is up, I am done. Another one bites the dust.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Tweaked Christmas Carols

A few years back, somebody on our family website suggested that we re-word some of the common Christmas carols. The results where really funny. So now, for you reading (singing) pleasure, The Stoic Family Christmas Songs:

(Sung to the tune of White Christmas)

I'm dreaming up the right Christmas
I'm making wreaths and tying bows
I've made a topiary
Of Virgin Mary
A baby Jesus made of snow.

I'm dreaming up the right Christmas
I've painted each room red and green
And the lake, I've chosen
To have it frozen
The skaters must wear velveteen.

I'm dreaming up the right Christmas
I've hired carolers to sing
They may join us after
For food and laughter
As long as they don't touch a thing.

I'm dreaming up the right Christmas
It's very easy, watch and see
And I've even grown my own tree
Don't you wish that you could all be me?

(Sung to the tune of Carol of the Bells)

Leave that alone!
Please put it back!
I said let go!
I mean it , No!
Santa is watching and he is giving
All your gifts to poor little kids
I don't want to have to tell you one more time.

(Repeat First Verse)

(Sung to the tune of O Come All Ye Faithful)

I made you a fruitcake
Filled with chopped up cherries
And if you don't like them
You can spit them out

I put in spices, dates and nuts and raisins
Then added more stuff to it
Like transmission fluid
and pickles - that should do it
Here, have a bite.

I soaked it in brandy
Wine and kerosene
So don't strike a match near it
Or it will ignite

FEMA and ADEM found out that I made them
So now I must report who
I mailed all those cakes to
And ADEM will contact you
By Chr-ist-mas night.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Fight of the Lights

Okay. I love Christmas. I really do. I love to decorate, I love the smells, I love it all. My mother taught me how to do Christmas right long ago. I have been collecting Hallmark ornaments for almost 30 years now and I am an absolute nut about getting the tree just perfect. I have created a monster. Stoicdad and the kids learned long ago to just leave me alone with the tree. Nothing they could do would be now I am stuck growing old and fat and less agile...alone with the task of the Christmas tree. I bought it on myself.
One of the traditions at our house is a battle between me and the lights. There have been years when I would spend 2 or 3 nights just getting the lights on the tree (thousands of them) and just when I would finally finish hanging the 400th cute little forest critter ornament and all the garland, the entire middle section of the tree would go dark. I lost my religion years ago celebrating the Birth of Christ. My sisters still laugh about the first year they all sat and watched me fight with the lights and heard me mumble under my breath something about a "mummer-fufmma" Christmas tree. It happens every year now. No matter what lights I buy, cheap or expensive, old or new ones, something always happens. Maybe it's the old wiring behind the walls in my house. I don't know.
This year I thought I had it licked. I decided to ditch the twinkly lights and go back to the big old style lights. How bad could they be? You don't need as many strands, they give off more's a win-win situation. I thought. So far, I have blown the fuses in 3 strands of these lights. These things are worse than the twinklers. I thought they would be tuff "manly" lights but noooooo. These wusses are all huff and no puff. My tree has been up in the stand for 5 days now and so far it is just half lit. If I don't get half lit soon there ain't gonna be no "mummer-fufmma" Christmas tree this year. I am not in a good mood anyway. My house is a mess and I haven't even begun shopping and the truth is I just want my soldier to come home. And honestly, I feel guilty enjoying the Christmas season without him here.

This is the ghost of Christmas past...

Tomorrow...I may torch this year's tree.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

Here's another one of my sister's poems, a Christmas poem. Actually, I can't exactly remember the whole thing so some of it is of my own creation. I hope she doesn't get mad if she ever finds out. I don't know what she calls it. For now, we'll just call it

A Trailer Park Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas
and all through the trailer
I was cussin’ assembly instructions
written in Venezualer.

The stockings was hung
by the heater so neat
because nary a one
had e’re touched a child’s feet.

The youngun’s were nestled
all snug in their beds
but they wouldn’t know a sugarplum
from a hole in their heads.

And Mama in her curlers
and I in my shorts
decided we’d have us
a couple of snorts.

When out on the lawn
there arose such a noise,
I reckoned it must be
them bad neighbor boys.

Away to the front door
I flew with my gun
and I hollered for Mama
to call 9-1-1.

The moon shined so bright
on the new fallen snow
and the yard looked real nice
cuz the trash didn’t show.

When what to my slow
lazy-eye should appear
but a miniature sleigh
and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver
as lively as May.
From the looks of his clothes,
he was probably gay.

A wink of his eye
and a twist of his head
confirmed the suspicions
I’d started to dread.

More quicker than liquor
them reindeer shot off
and I soon realized
that that sleigh was aloft.

And then in a twinkling
I heard up above
what sounded like shoppers
when they push and they shove.

I was scratching my butt
wondering what it all meant
when that feller crawls out
through the central air vent.

The way he was dressed
would make Oprah swoon
and his head was so bald
it reflected the moon.

But he had lots of hair
growing down from his chin
that was almost as white
as Michael Jackson’s skin.

The way his eyes twinkled
screamed "Christopher Lowell"
but the tag on his sack
said his last name was "Noel".

He was chubby and plumb,
not a jogger, I knew.
He could easily finish
a dozen doughnuts or two.

He spoke not a word
but flung his sack all about
Instead of putting things in,
he started taking things out.

As I wondered what kind
of a crook we had here
he filled up the stockings
with candy and beer.

He left toys for the kids
and deep down in my heart
I figured he’d stole ‘em
from the local Walmart.

And then sticking a finger
way up in his nose
and giving a nod,
up the vent pipe he rose.

He sprang to his team
and he pranced to his sleigh.
(Like I already said,
I’m quite sure he was gay.)

He gave a quick whistle
and that team, it did soar.
And I swear I ain't never
gonna drink anymore.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Found in My Office Email

A friend sent me this little diddy.

Here's a quote from someone who witnessed a recent interaction between an elderly woman and an antiwar protester in a Metro station in DC. "There were protesters on the train platform handing out pamphlets on the evils of America. I politely declined to take one. An elderly woman was behind me getting off the escalator and a young (20ish) female protester offered her a pamphlet, which she politely declined. The young protester put her hand on the old woman's shoulder as a gesture of friendship and in a very soft voice said, "Ma'am, don't you care about the children of Iraq?" The old woman looked up at her and said, "Honey, my first husband died in France during World War II, my second husband died in Korea, one of my sons died in Vietnam, and a grandson died in Desert Storm. All so that you could have the right to stand here and bad mouth our country. If you touch me again, so help me, I'll stick this umbrella up your Aston Martin and open it."

*Update: Content has been changed to a more appropriate wording because I just remembered I am a lady.