Excerpt from SHE’S A KEEPER! Cockamamie Memoirs from a Hot Southern Mess
NOT YOUR AVERAGE REINDEER GAMES
I’m counting down the days until Christmas. I had always gone that extra mile to make it special for my children when they were little, like I feel sure you did, too.
As I set up my Christmas story, let me tell you a bit about my line of thought. You might remember, I am an only child who entertained herself a lot. So when my boys finally arrived in my immediate family, I loved to play with them. My oldest, now thirty-three and who we called The Heir, loved to dress up as superheroes and such. Between the ages of three and five, you might see Popeye, Superman, Batman, or others around town. Yes, I let him go out in public in these get-ups. People would say “hello” to the character de jour.
Once, while dressed as Dick Tracy, I took him to the city police station. I walked in and asked the receptionist, “Is Dick Tracy here?” all the while nodding my head in the negative.
“I beg your pardon?” she asked?
Nodding ‘no’, I reiterated, “Is Dick Tracy here?”
“Why, no, he isn’t.”
I continued, “But he has an office here, right?” This time nodding up and down to indicate ‘yes’.
She caught on. “Yes, his office is here.”
“May I just show my son his office, please?”
“Certainly,” she said. I love small towns.
“Look, honey,” I said to The Heir. “Dick Tracy is busy out catching criminals but here is his messy desk with all his important papers.” He loved it.
And what’s with Trick or Treating at Halloween? I mean, no one is tricking except mostly in prepared chicanery like having to pay for tours of Haunted Houses. Very rarely are there other ruses. Many times kids ring the doorbell with no trick in sight. I decided to do something about that. Let other people serve treats. I am going for the deception. Turning off all my house lights, I rolled crime scene tape across my entire front yard to shoo away prospective candy begging goblins. I sure hope they were tricked. But who knows? With all the movie sets around town displaying cinematic scenes, it may just seem like another movie production company planted itself in my yard. Well, at least I chuckled at my machination.
Those are examples of my tom-foolery thought process. My husband says I easily amuse myself. That’s true.
So, one Christmas when The Heir was five, I decided to make Christmas really special. I wasn’t going to just make cookies for Santa or produce a carrot for Rudolph. I went all out: I used my husband’s L.L.Bean boots and several large baking soda boxes and put my plan to work. When our son was fast asleep, I laid down a boot on the rug, poured baking soda around the perimeter, lifted the boot, placed the matching boot a step ahead, and again poured the baking soda. After several steps, it looked as if Santa had sloughed off snow on the rug from the fireplace to the Christmas tree where he laid out our presents.
When morning arrived and he saw Santa’s footsteps, he was overjoyed. As friends popped by that day, and days after, he continued to brag and show them when St. Nick had been.
When our second son, The Spare, turned five, I remembered how our first child received such pleasure from my creativity that I decided to pull this same trick. We duplicated the same scene. This second child was not the dreamer like his brother. Wise from being the second in the sibling lineup he looked at the situation and the first thing out of his mouth was, “Why hasn’t it melted?”
Didn’t think he’d catch that.