Thursday, December 12, 2013

Santa Double-Crossed Me - And So Did My Own Mother!

Ours was a small family - mother, father, younger sister and me.  I was post-WW2 and luxuries and goods were scarce.  I think that's why my parents decided on one big present and satellite little presents of useful items such as mittens, or socks.

So that they could sleep past 4 a.m., we were allowed to go quietly out to the living room and bring our stocks back to our twin beds to explore them.  This was followed by a big breakfast and finally we got around to opening presents.

The year I got the Flexible Flyer sled I'd been panting for, we had no snow.  None.  From personal experience, I can tell you it is not a good idea to pull on your snow suit and boots, take the sled out to the driveway, run a couple of steps and throw yourself down on the sled.  Concrete is not what the sled is used to and in shock, it stops instantly.  You, however , will go sliding down the sled and into a face plant on the driveway.

The year I got roller skates, we did have snow.  I took them out to the street where there were ruts from car treads, put them on, stood up and went exactly nowhere.  I was literally spinning my wheels.

Many years later, I was 32 and had fallen in love with photography.  I wanted a Nikon, a camera bag and two lenses to start me off.  I'd already bought the camera strap for the gear I was sure my parents would give me. 

When I got to their house, the first thing I looked at was the Christmas tree (in the guise of admiring it) and yes!  There were Nikon-sized packages under it!

Comes Christmas morning and I demurely open my smaller packages, just itching to rip the wrapping off of those had-to-be-Nikon items.  I tackled the biggest box that just had to be the camera body and found -- a boxed stack of dinner plates!

Bewildered, I put them down and opened the second box - a boxed set of matching salad/dessert plates!  What the hell had happened to my Nikons? 

I looked inquiringly at my mother, who said, "Someday, dear, you'll meet a nice man (aside) God hurry the day- and you'll serve him a nice dinner on this lovely set and get married!"

In truth, I didn't know any "nice men"; they were all rogues, scalawags or pirates of one sort or another but tremendously fun which is why I ran with them. 

I had to fake joy at this unlikely scenario my mother had presented for the rest of the time I was at home.  When I got back to California, the dishes went up on the top shelf of a kitchen cabinet and there they have rested ever since.

And 11 years after I'd gotten the Nikon China I married Richie and we've been happy for the past 30 years.

He never asks about the plastic-swathed dishes on the top shelf.  I guess I'm just sentimental -- or the holder of the world's longest grudge!

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