Monday, December 24, 2007

My Funny Little Christmas Eve Story

When I was growing up, our family usually had their Christmas gift opening on Christmas Eve. The reason for this was we all got up on Christmas morning and drove the fifty miles out to my Grandparents ranch, north of Spokane. It was a really fun time, with all the relatives there, more presents, a big meal and lots of music.

The usual routine on Christmas Eve was for our Grandma Nana to come over, as she lived in Spokane, and after dinner the “Real Santa” would knock on the door and bring in a big bag of gifts for us kids, Scott, Carol and myself. He would hand out the gifts and admonish us not to open them up until our Dad had returned “from a last minute trip to the grocery store.” Sure enough, Dad shortly returned, having regretfully missed Santa, and we opened up the delivered presents.

As the oldest child in the family, I discovered before my younger siblings that the whole “grocery store” story was a hoax and it was really Dad that delivered the gifts on Christmas Eve. With this knowledge and a keen eye, I also discovered the “fake Santa suit” hidden in the basement.

From that point on, I pestered my Dad to let me play Santa on Christmas Eve … I wanted part of the fun, too! I think I was about ten or twelve years old when Dad finally okayed the deal and told me that I could dress up in the Santa Suit and deliver the gifts. Boy was I excited.

So, this Christmas Eve, we concocted the story that Roger had to make a last minute trip to a neighbor’s house to deliver “something.” Both Carol and Scott bought the story.

This year my big Christmas desire was for a vise! Yes, a vise … something that bolts to a workbench and holds things in place while being worked on. At this point in my life, I was an real tinkerer. (Come to think about it … I still am.) I spent hours and hours in my little workshop in the basement “inventing” things, so a real vise was an exceptionally valued gift to me.

On this particular year, after dinner on Christmas Eve, everyone was gathered, the “Roger errand story” was disseminated and little Santa was in the basement getting all dressed up, complete with a couple of pillows stuffed into the Santa Suit.

Dad gave me the Santa sack, with all the gifts in it … it seemed awfully heavy! I dragged it through the snow to the front door, rang the doorbell and “Ho-ho-ho’ed” my way into the living room. I can remember the wide-eyed look on Scott and Carol’s face … as they stared into the face of Santa! The ruse was absolutely perfect! (Or so it seemed to me!)

Carol or Scott said maybe we better wait for Roger to get back, but Dad assured them that he would be back shortly and we could just put his gifts aside, in case he got back after Santa left.

The gift handing out went quickly, as they were not being opened right them, but held until later. Toward the bottom of Santa’s sack was an awfully heavy package … real heavy. The tag read, “To Roger, from Santa.” No wonder the bag was so heavy! This was my vise! For me! I was so excited about my heavy package that I almost forgot about caring anymore about the rest of the gifts in the bag, I virtually tossed them out! I couldn't get out of the house and back into the basement fast enough! The suit came off in a rush and into a pile and I rushed back upstairs, “just back from my errand.” Breathlessly, I asked if I had missed Santa. I sensed that both Carol and Scott had figured out that things were not as them appeared. Many years later, Carol told me that “she knew all along” that it was me. Maybe she did - maybe she didn’t - I’m not betting either way.

That was the last year for Santa to deliver gifts in person on Christmas Eve. My Dad later told me that the old family Santa Suit was passed on to family friends with younger children. It was sure fun while it lasted!

Oh yes … it was a vise. Unlikely as it may seem, that vise was one of the most cherished Christmas presents I ever received. Oh, the stories that vise could tell: Sometime I’ll tell you about the gunpowder I made in my little basement workshop. In case I forget, ask me what happened when my Mom found the jar of gray powder in my shop and tossed it into the house heating furnace!

PHOTO OF THE DAY: December 24, 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

PHOTO OF THE DAY: December 23, 2007

Angel With A Broken Wing

For years and years my dad had two small WWII 50-cal. ammunition boxes stuck back in his stored "stuff." A long time ago, I looked into one of the boxes and it was full of ammo that he used for hunting. I had assumed that the other box also contained ammo. I never looked into the second box, until last week when I was arranging some thing in the barn. What a surprise! In that old ammo box was mom's long missing, but not forgotten, Nativity Scene pieces!

When we were kids growing up in Spokane, at Christmas, my mom always set up the Nativity Scene that she said had belonged to her grandmother. As kids, we really never paid much attention to it, but we knew it meant a lot to her. The last time I remember seeing it was when we lived on Wellington Place. I don't ever remember seeing it again in later years. I once asked my dad if he knew what ever happened to all the old Christmas decorations. He told me he didn't ... and I don't think he really did.

On close examination, each piece is beautifully hand-carved wood. One of the Shepard's is missing his staff and Mary is missing a hand. As I remember, there was once a shelter and a star. Those are missing, too.

The little angel has a wing broken off, but luckily, it was still in the wrapping and will be repaired after Christmas. I couldn't help but wonder if the little angel damaged her wing while trying to escape the metal ammo box. Maybe she somehow sensed the urgent need, in these later years, for her wise help and consolation.

I guess we'll never know: All I can do for her is repair the wing and restore the slightly tarnished beauty of my mother's cherished Nativity Scene.


Friday, December 21, 2007

PHOTO OF THE DAY - December 21, 2007

Latest Example of Energy Efficient Vehicles.
(Will this soon be available through Wal-Mart?)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

PHOTO OF THE DAY: December 11, 2007

Lighted trees, in the snow, in front of our house.
(CLICK photo for a larger image)

Monday, December 10, 2007


December 10,2007

I thought I saw a black helicopter fly over last night. I am sure I saw the words "VOTE FOR RON PAUL" on the side.

Can that be true?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

PHOTO OF THE DAY - December 9, 2007


Saturday, December 08, 2007

PHOTO OF THE DAY: December 8, 2007

Early morning fog
(CLICK photo for a larger image)

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