During the week leading up to Christmas I worked a lot of hours, and was dragging massive ass. On Christmas Eve they threw open the prison gates around 7:30 pm, and I got home around 8:15.
Somehow we started a tradition, years ago, that mandates we slow-cook North Carolina-style barbecue pork on the day before Christmas, along with a 55-gallon drum of homemade macaroni & cheese, and various dips and chips, etc.
On that day, for reasons that are now unclear, it’s traditional at our house to put some south in our mouth. Do you have a Christmas Eve food custom, or is that just us?
The pork cooked all day in the Crockpot, but there was still much prep work to be done after I got home. And I don’t think we actually sat down to eat until around 9:30. It was crazy; the Secrets were bitching up a storm.
But it was good, and we weren’t going to allow my place of work to ruin our Christmas Eve. We’d show ’em, dammit!
After our “dinner” the boys eventually went to bed, and Toney and I sat around sampling the recipe for a while, giving the younglings enough time to go to sleep.
We had their Santa gifts (neither still believe in him, but I’m not yet ready to completely let loose of the fat bastard) in the garage. Once the boys reached full-dormancy, we’d drag the stuff into the house, and set up a dramatic display near the tree.
We were drinking Yuenglings at this point, and eventually became one with the sofa. I was almost literally paralyzed by laziness, and Toney wasn’t showing any signs of life either. We were watching a Ghost Hunters marathon (“Did you hear that??”), and weren’t able to wrest ourselves off upholstery.
It was nearly 1:30 in the morning before we actually went to bed, and the Secrets were up before 6:00. As I begrudgingly stumbled down the steps, my brain howling in protest, I knew this was going to be a looong day. I wasn’t hungover, I didn’t even drink much, it was strictly a lack of sleep situation.
The older Secret got his Paul McCartney “violin” bass, and the younger boy received his drum kit. And the first time he hit the snare Andy just about rocketed a log into the kitchen. It’s now been several days, and that hound still hasn’t gotten used to the snare. The other drums don’t bother him much, but he’s no fan of that snare.
Steve and Myra came to visit in the afternoon, and Steve and I exchanged gifts. It’s something we’ve been doing since the Carter administration, I think. And it’s fun, because we get each other fun stuff.
This year I gave Steve the “Very Crudely Yours” John Waters DVD box set. It includes Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Desperate Living, Polyester, Hairspray, etc. etc. Oh yeah.
And I got three amazing baseball collectibles, all Brooklyn Dodgers-related. Steve and I used to be really into baseball cards, that whole underworld, and he got back into it several years ago. And he finds the most obscure items a person could imagine (or not).
He gave me a photo of the Shot Heard ‘Round the World, autographed by both Bobby Thompson and Ralph Branca. Why Branca would want to sign such a thing is beyond me, but I think he and Thompson used to make joint appearances. If it were me, I’d want to get as far away from that nightmare as I could. Sweet Maria.
My gift box also included a DVD of the Happy Felton Knothole Gang. It was a live TV show for kids broadcast in Brooklyn during the 1950s, and featured Dodgers players and three boys “from the neighborhood.” Only one episode has survived, and Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese appeared. Good stuff. The accents are amazing.
And the final item is a real mind-melter. In fact, I’m not even going to tell you what it is until tomorrow. I’d like to get your guesses in the comments. What’s the most obscure Brooklyn Dodgers-related item you can imagine? No, not Duke Snider’s jock. But it’s freaky, man. Freaky.
I’m confident nobody will guess it, but give it a shot in the comments, why don’t you?
I remember everything we talked about when Steve and Myra were here, but I was like a zombie the whole time. It now seems like a dream, like it didn’t really happen. I was struggling big-time by that point, and was asleep for good by 8 o’clock.
I spent the first three hours sitting upright on the couch, with my head ratcheted off to the side, then slept for an additional eleven hours in bed. Fourteen hours! That’s roughly three day’s worth, all at once.
And that was my strange, otherworldly Christmas Day. The one that might’ve happened, but I’m not 100% certain of it.