One yuletide season, the ogre spouted, “I’m not wasting money on a GD tree.”
Undeterred, I bolted for the local Christmas tree lot. Mangled and discarded limbs covered the ground, and I searched for the vendor.
“May I take what you don’t want?”
A puzzled and weathered face gazed down. “Sure, go ahead. Take the junk.”
The trek home proved difficult as the errant branches kept shifting and falling to the sidewalk, much like trying to hold a cat that doesn’t want loving arms encircling it. The five minutes it took me to arrive at my destination took fifty on the return.
Out of breath, when I reached our backyard, I plopped the booty on the dirt. Phew! Now, the cold, hard ground turned workbench as I concentrated on my self-assigned task.
How am I going to create a tree out of this mess?
Her arms wrapped around herself, Mom stepped into the frigid air. “Girl, what are you doing?”
“Dad said he wouldn’t buy a tree, so I’m going to make one.”
Bewildered, she retreated to the warmth of the house, leaving me to ponder my circumstances.
As I scratched my head, Momma made a phone call, and an hour later, through the kindness of a family friend, fragrant pine wafted through our home. With the help of a ladder, I alone hung strands of lights and ornaments on the magnificent specimen. What a beauty!
At 6 PM, the wretched man of the house, home from a hard day’s work, stomped to the living room, and at 6:02 my glorious wonderment went crashing through the front window where the ornamented display lay on its side, broken, shattered and glittering on the snow.
For an entire week, the befuddled mailman, newspaper boy, and neighbors glared at the new lawn decoration, and I’m sure they didn’t think, Boy, those people celebrate weirdly.
Plain cardboard became flimsy windows through which snowflakes and artic gusts breezed in and chilled us to the bone.
At the end of a week, Mother was allowed to fetch the unique yard sculpture and call a repairman, but no one dared to say a word about the shocking event.
Though only a child of about 7, tears did not drop from my eyes. Well, not in front of my father, as his tolerance for that sort of thing was nil.
This incident followed and preceded many such happenings. With the approach of every holiday, Scrinch arose, growled, bellowed, and sent the rest of us scurrying into hiding.
Time progressed, and with children and grandchildren of my own, I make an enormous effort to provide them with cheerful impressions, but inside, a battle ensues.
Like clockwork, the ghosts of the troubled past come annoyingly haunting.
The consummate survivor, I trudge through the memories and do my best not to allow them to reign over me. To keep them at bay, I call upon a gamut of maneuvers.
- Try to obtain sufficient rest/sleep.
- Don’t overload on sugar, alcohol, and/or caffeine.
- Engage with others, as uncomfortable as this can be. To my amazement, quite a few times, I manage to enjoy the interaction.
- Initiate mind-bending tactics or simply put, when an ugly memory intrudes, I dive into tasks and think of other more pleasant things.
- Do something for another. The act of giving, a gift, cookies, a kind deed, encouraging word or a sweet smile moves us in ways not only beneficial for others but ourselves as well.
Thanks to you dear Mr. Scrinch, an awful amalgamation of Scrooge and The Grinch, at this time of the year, I prefer crawling into the shadows and wait until decorations go back to the attic, holiday melodies fade into the air (until next years onslaught), and the merriment passes.
With “Jingle Bells” belting over loudspeakers and radios, festive baubles and ads assaulting us at every turn, if I learned one thing, your daughter will survive and surpass the disgusting debris you threw in her path, and she will not become Little Miss Scrinch.
Unlike you who spouts, “Bah, humbug!” I delicately say, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”
In the spirit of Christmas, my gift to you is one of Momma’s recipes. Enjoy!
1900 Christmas Cookies
Preheat Oven to 375
Cream together, 1 cup of butter with 2 cups of sugar
Add three well-beaten eggs, and continue to mix.
Add four cups of flour and one teaspoon nutmeg, alternately with ½ cup of milk and one and ¼ teaspoons baking soda. Mix well.
Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheets.
Grease bottom of glass and dip in sugar, and lightly press cookie dough.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Christmas with Scrinch is a modified excerpt from my book, A Good Little Girl, by Kenzie O’Hara.
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