Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 22: Ravioli, Robin Williams, Classic Saint Marty, Confessions of Saint Marty

Dinner at my parents' house tonight.  Ravioli.  I can feel the heat from the water on the stove.  Dead Poets Society is on the television--one of my favorite movies.  Pretty soon, we will be eating.

I don't have much more to say about today.  I spent most of the afternoon putting up Christmas decorations at church.  Up and down ladders and stairs.  Stringing garland and lights.  Hanging ornaments.  As usual, most church members left before the work began, so the bulk of the decking of the halls fell upon the usual suspects, die-hard parishioners with a sense of duty.

Tonight, I will watch a holiday baking competition on the Food Network.  My wife and daughter will join me, and we will yell at the TV and make fun of the contestants.  It's my household's version of watching Sunday Night Football, except with buttercream frosting and fondant.

Tonight, I am thankful for Christmas decorations.  Die-hard parishioners.  Ravioli.  Robin Williams.

And I'm thankful for an episode of Classic Saint Marty that aired exactly one year ago. 

November 22, 2014:  The Big Christmas Tree, Decorating Weekend, Fairy Tale

While I was walking, I passed these two guys that were unloading this big Christmas tree off a truck.  One guy kept saying to the other guy, "Hold the sonuvabitch up!  Hold it up, for Chrissake!"  It certainly was a gorgeous way to talk about a Christmas tree...

Most people forget that Catcher is a Christmas book.  It's the end of the semester at Pencey Prep.  Christmas break is starting.  Holden's sister, Phoebe, is in a Christmas play called A Christmas Pageant for Americans.  And Holden borrows Phoebe's Christmas money at the end of the novel.  Not to mention the little Christmas tree scene above.

It's going to be a weekend of Christmas decorating for me.  Tomorrow, I'm in charge of decorating at my wife's church.  Tomorrow night, I'm putting up our Christmas tree at home.  On Monday morning, I'm finishing my decorating at work.  Then I will be D-O-N-E with decking the halls.

I prefer to have all that busy Christmas work finished before Thanksgiving.  There's less pressure the rest of the holiday season then.  I can actually sit back with a cup of eggnog and relax some evenings.  Of course, there's shopping to do, presents to wrap, cookies to bake.  All that yuletide crap.  But the big part, for me, has already been completed.

Which reminds me, I went to the radio station this afternoon and recorded my Christmas essay.  That's another big cookie off my Christmas plate.  Now, I can concentrate on one of the things I love doing the most this time of year:  writing my Christmas poem.  I started it a while ago (back in August).  It's a matter of going back and reworking, revising, possibly throwing stuff out or starting over.  Whatever it takes.  I love the writing process, no matter how crazy it makes me.

Which reminds me of a little story...

Once upon a time, an elf named Holden lived at the North Pole with his parents.  Ever since he was a small elf...Well, all elves are small, but young elves are so small they sometimes get mistaken for animal crackers by Santa's reindeer.

Anyway, ever since Holden was young, his parents groomed him to be a part of Santa's toy team, which is the most important job in all of North Poledom, next to driving the sleigh and delivering the presents.  But Holden had no interest in making toys.  In fact, he wasn't very good with his hands.  He couldn't even pound in a nail without bending it sideways.

What Holden wanted to do, more than anything else, was be a Christmas poet, but his parents wouldn't even let him talk to Santa about such a job.

"If you mention this poet thing to Mr. Claus," his father fumed, "I will be kicked out of the elf union and lose my seniority and pension."

"Not to mention what all the other elf mothers would say to me if my son turned into a poet," his mother said.  "Why couldn't you have been gay?"

Holden went to toy school.  He learned how to make toy cars and toy kitchens.  He studied how to create apps for iPhones. But, at night, after his parents went to bed, Holden sat in his bedroom, writing elf sonnets and elf haiku.

Finally, one day, Holden worked up the courage to approach Santa.  "Please, sir," Holden stammered.  "I don't want to be a toy elf.  My dream is to be the first poet laureate of the North Pole."

Santa looked down at Holden, with a twinkle in his blue eyes.  "Ho, ho, ho," Saint Nicholas chuckled, "you've got to be joking.  Get back to work, or I'll have you shoveling reindeer crap for the rest of your life."

Dejected, Holden went back to toy school, graduated near the bottom of his class, and went to work in Santa's toy sweatshop, making knock-off iPads and Kindles.  Holden never wrote another poem.

Moral of the story:  Santa Claus is kind of an asshole.

And Saint Marty lived happily ever after.

Confessions of Saint Marty

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