Ingredients for Christmas Noggin:
- One artificial tree, in three parts
- One husband
- One grown son (beard optional)
- One raised brick hearth surrounding fireplace
- A liberal sprinkling of literary (yes, Dr. Seuss is literary) references for everyone's delight
- A hearty dose of humor
Gene and John assembled the Christmas tree while I went to the grocery store on a chilly gray afternoon. As I returned with a dozen eggs and a package of bacon John was handing his father a bag of ice. New decoration? Nope Gene had crashed his noggin smack down on the hearth -- the same hearth that Santa slides down! -- while joining one broomstick trunk to the other. He was growing quite a substantial egg of his own on the back of his skull.
I hate Christmas! Gene intoned in his best imitation of Albert Finney playing what has to be the worst interpretation (musical, no less!) of Charles Dickens endearing (ahem!) character, that heartless miser Mr. Scrooge.
This, naturally, led to a whole spate of Scrooge and Grinch imitations -- while I laughed (so wrong, isn't it?) as my darling husband grumbled about the troubles of Christmas -- past, present and future.
We provided our own ghosts, natch. Christmas was most fun when our children were little. Gene always read The Night Before Christmas to our four kids, even when they were grown. One favorite image I have is of Gene reading to our 'children' when every one of the three boys was in need of a good shave. One year when they were all taller than I, and a few taller than their Dad, I made the suggestion that we change our Christmas routine to look a little more adult. This met with an uproar and accusation that I was trying to 'ruin' Christmas!
Oh how we cling to our traditions.
Now that the children are scattered around the country, we will be celebrating this holiday over the course of several days. John will be here on Christmas Eve, Daniel will arrive sometime on Christmas Day, then the four of us will drive several hours to Austin a few days after Christmas to join Katie, Ryan and 8 month old Jude for his first Christmas. In early January Mike and Julie will fly in from Boston and we will continue our feast of memory and laughter.
The best Christmas noggin is made from years of memories and served up with a hearty dose of laughter and gratitude. And sometimes a tonic of ice cubes to smooth out the lumps.