Barbie and Valerie did a Christmas meme and I thought I’d join the cool kids and play along, too. However, as I was considering the questions, I decided that one question in particular would make a much more interesting story than the entire meme would. So here’s my answer to:
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
(Well maybe not a “favorite” memory, but certainly a very memorable memory.)
When big brother and I were young, we played a lot of “let’s pretend” games. One of our favorite games was Fort. We didn’t have a permanent playhouse or anything like that, so we had to construct a Fort every time we played the game. Our Forts were sometimes two chairs with a sheet over them, sometimes the space behind the couch (with the couch cushions pulled up to provide extra walls), sometimes old boxes, and sometimes the tree in the front yard that we liked to climb. Basically anything that we could get our hands onto could become a Fort.
Like all forts, our Forts were in constant peril. Occasionally we had to defend our Fort from heavily armed unnamed attackers. Other times we had to survive a long brutal winter on meager supplies. Or perhaps we had to fight off wild animals while exploring the surrounding wilderness and living off the land.
One afternoon in December, big brother and I were left alone to amuse ourselves. Dad and gone out somewhere and Mom and gone to lie down because she had a headache. We were instructed to stay inside the house and keep quiet. (No, don’t call CPS on Mom, we generally didn’t get into trouble.) Big brother decided it was a good time to play Fort. I was either four or five at the time and big brother (as always) was a year older.
Back then, our family had an artificial Christmas tree. It was one of those old style trees with branches that had to be inserted one-by-one into the tree “trunk.” If you’ve ever seen one of those trees, you know that they weren’t full and lush like the artificial trees that you can buy today. You could see through that tree.
You know where this is going, right? Well, big brother took one look at the Christmas tree and declared that it would be our Fort that afternoon. We were rather small, there was a gap between the tree and the wall, and lots of space under the tree—it was perfect. Soon we were well established in our Fort and began the daily chores that residents of all Forts had to perform. We were cooking and cleaning and repairing the crumbling walls of our Fort.
Suddenly, the unthinkable happened. TIMBER! We surveyed the damage: the tree had landed on the coffee table, the lights and the paper chains were still on the tree, but tinsel, paper “snowflakes,” and odd-shaped ornaments made by childish hands were scattered all over the floor. Some of the tree braches had even come out of the trunk. We were horrified. No only did we destroy our Fort, we destroyed Christmas!
I started to cry. Santa would never come now! Where would he put the presents? Why would he even bring presents to a pair of bad little children? But big brother grabbed my hand and bravely marched down the long hallway to Mom and Dad’s room. We crept in and climbed on the bed. Big brother nudged Mom and said, “Mommy? Mommy? A disaster happened!” (Yes, those were his exact words according to Mom.)
I don’t really remember what happened after that. Mom probably helped us clean up our “disaster.” I’m sure we were scolded and punished. But Santa came anyway. Perhaps he knew it was just an accident.