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Mike Tasos: Woman who tried to ruin our Christmas got her comeuppance
Mike Tasos

I know, I know. The Christmas season is usually a time for joy, giving, warmth, family. But it seems those in charge are hell-bent on ruining the show. There’s a shortage of good memories and laughter. 

Since Thanksgiving, instead of “Joy to The World,” a lot of us were queuing up “Where Are You Christmas?”

You are reading this post-Christmas. Hopefully, you’ve done the dishes and tossed out all the wrapping paper, ribbons and bows. We’re moving forward, ecstatic to welcome a new year.

I’ve been thinking about all the well-deserved rotten press 2020 has received. I feel no pity for the year that started out so promising. Think about a year ago: We had visions of it being a dandy. Why, it was to be so good that we even got an extra day. 

The year 2020 suckered us in and then gave us a low blow/eye-gouge combo.

Sinatra would be judged a blue-eyed imbecile if he even thought about singing: “It Was A Very Good Year.” 

Forget about all the devastation brought on families, churches and businesses. I imagine 2020 sent motivational speakers to the bread line.

No more columns for you, 2020. This is sayonara and adios. I’ll take my chances with 2021. 

Before you skulk off and take your permanent place in an over-flowing septic tank, let me, if I may, lament your departure. It’s not sentimental. It won’t play a part in contributing to any tissue shortage.

“Dear 2020: Don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.”

Maybe I can share a family story that makes brothers Matt and Marty laugh some 33 years after it occurred. 

So how can my stepdad’s words: “You done ruined Christmas” still inspire giggles and guffaws? 

Remember, this happened in 1988. It has always been known as “The Kung Fu Cora Christmas.”

First, some background. Mom married BJ, my stepdad, in 1970. He was a widower, having lost his wife to cancer. Mom had finally divorced my alcoholic dad in 1969. As a result of this death and divorce, there were six kids, ages 7-14, who got instant parents.

In retrospect, this union must’ve been a monumental lapse of good judgment. BJ and Mom probably thought “The Brady Bunch” was a real-life documentary. Believe me, it wasn’t. 

Imagine BJ’s terror when he, at age 34, doubled his IRS Form 1040 dependents. Through it all, we made it as a family. Perfectly normal. Good times and bad times. I was as close as one could be to a brother and sister who, in reality, weren’t my brother and sister. 

Enter Cora, the mother of BJ’s late wife. Never could figure out why she detested me. No, don’t even think: “She must’ve had good sense.” 

Every Christmas, she’d deliver gifts. Sort of. The stepsiblings received lavish gifts. Matt and Marty got a pair of socks. 

Me? Zilch. Nada. Bupkis. As has been my MO most of my life, I found humor in a “Why, that’s horrible!” situation.

“Hey, what the hell. Who do you think you are, Sandy Koufax? You just pitched me a shutout.”

At 15, I had departed precocious and went straight to obnoxious.

As the years passed, Cora and her husband quit tossing in-person shutouts. Instead, they resorted to separate gatherings, a tactic designed to drive a wedge in the family. It was a success and The Cora Christmas made Mom cry every December.

Many years later, a prank consisting of hiring Santa, Larue the Magician and a cast of other entertainers, to provide entertainment was hatched.
Larue, instead of showing up for the evening’s soiree, messed up. Maybe he made his calendar disappear. He and his cape showed up mid-afternoon.


Matt and the stepbrother worked at a family grocery store. They had a helluva brawl, with one of the combatants getting hurled over a stack of bananas. That’s when I received my inaugural December dog-cussin’. 

The party was moved to a secret location. Santa didn’t get the memo. He showed up that night, scaring the bejezus out of Cora. 

The next day brought another accusation of complicity in the fiasco, my denial, another dog-cussin’ from BJ. Living in New Orleans, I had no time for this tripe designed to ruin my Christmas.

Mom’s contribution found her channeling her inner Columbo, deducing Marty had pulled the caper.

Now it can be told. Neither Marty nor I called the entertainers. That’s the God’s honest truth. It was Matt, that little sneak. 

However, the brains behind the prank finally doled out payback for the annual shutouts. 

I’ve come to realize that it was OK. I’ve always had plenty of socks.

Mike Tasos’ column is published every other weekend. Comments can be sent to He is also on Facebook.