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Mike Tasos: Thinking of holidays past

It’s so blasted unfair. The time between Thanksgiving and today seems to get shorter every year. And I can’t figure out why.

Let’s see: Seven days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour. It all checks out. Except the whole time continuum seems way off, like I’m Casey Jones driving that train and needing to watch my speed. 

We’ve all been going at it pretty good since the last morsel of the turkey carcass was ingested. Breakneck speed. And please enlighten me if anyone bought into the hustle and was able to forego the bustle?

Unless you’ve taken a cue from the Alka-Seltzer guy as a result of his over indulgence, (The bloated hubby: “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” Compassionate wife: “You ate it, Ralph.”) today is one of those days it’s perfectly acceptable to wake up with one of those once-a-year Christmas smiles.

With the boys grown, Christmas will be much simpler. Who hasn’t ever had the joyous experience of scrambling around, trying to find gifts that were too well hidden?

You moms and dads with little ones better get ready to double down on coffee tomorrow morning. Just know those bloodshot eyes and sleep-deprived crankiness are going to be your Christmas companion for a few years. Probably until the young’uns get wise to the Santa game and ask for money or gift cards. 

Unlike days of yore, our living room will not resemble a crash scene, the carnage being quickly discarded wrapping papers, destroyed in a present-unwrapping frenzy. 

Back in the day, any attempt at decorum and order lasted a minute at most. 

“Please open one present at a time” gave way to a full-blown free-for-all, bows flying and gift tags strewn about, resulting in the who-gave-what-to-who game. I hope any thank-you note miscues were excused by relatives. 

Oh, and tomorrow after the presents are opened, you can forget about a nap. Not in the cards, Dad. Cursing the evil twisted person who coined the phrase “Some Assembly Required” will get you the first spot on next year’s naughty list.

I did a sizable stretch on the “bad” list. Growing up, it’s a safe bet that snickering every time my stepdad, playing the sympathy card in the hope of ensuring a semblance of good behavior at Granny Johnson’s Christmas shindig said: “This will probably be Mama’s last Christmas.”

That ploy worked for eight or nine years, until I offered: “Granny J is like that ol’ Dodge truck. One day, turn the key and you won’t be able to get her cranked up.”

Closer to home, Christmas Eve was a busy day at the grocery stores where my stepdad, BJ, was the honcho and brother Matt was a manager. Getting home after a full day of toasting everything from somebody’s hangnail obliteration to a free bottle of whiskey was no easy task.

Forget about a sleigh ride. Getting through the door after all that revelry involved a stumble and a stagger.

Having not imbibed and refraining from getting knock-down drunk as a lord, I figured a little music was called for. BJ didn’t share my fondness of music, totally not amused at my belting out John Denver’s “Please Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas).” But my brothers and I sang it three or four times, with increasing gusto, making sure ol’ BJ grasped the wittiness of the rendition.

We always had prime rib and that’s what we’re doing tomorrow. Tonight, there’s going to be tamales from Rosa. Hopefully, I’ll put some brakes on the feast, taking Alka-Seltzer out of play. 

Linus, the three kings and President Trump are all for peace on Earth. That works for me, too. Now, someone tell that chubby little North Korean chipmunk to quit playing with his toys and go watch some football. 

Merry Christmas.


Mike Tasos’ column is published every other Sunday. He misses not having an audience for his reading of “The Night Before Christmas.” Sam and Chester might listen, providing they get enough biscuits. Comments can be sent to miketasos@earthlink.net. He is also on Facebook