The weather is turning chilly, Halloween is right around the corner, Thanksgiving is down the road and then there it is CHRISTMAS! I get the fever early, thanks to my mother.
About this time every year we would ponder on those things that we were hoping to get for Christmas. We were asked to produce a list and then sat down to review it with our mother before Santa would receive it. It was like a Christmas Story all over again (by the way that is a must for me to watch for every Santa Season). We would be perched on the edges of the kitchen chairs as my mother would get her coffee ready before tackling the undaunting task of each list. I soon learned to write my list in great detail to make this process go faster so that Santa would be getting my list early, why yes I wouldn't want him to forget anything.
I of course would go first, I was the baby! This was the only time that I can remember appreciating being the baby.
Oh my the questions and facial expressions she would make as she poured over the list. "What is this?" she asked as she pointed to the bottom of my list. "Oh know she picked that out first to ask me about, I thought she would not see it". I hesitated and almost stammered then slowly in a very explicit manner described the Charley McCarthy ventriloquist doll with all of his attributes.
Her lips curved up into a smile and with a slight amusing laugh as she reached for a pen. "And where did you see this doll?" she asked. Well of course it was in the Sears and Roebucks catalog. I would make it easy for Santa and just rip the pages out usually and attach them to my list, but had caught such a raft from my sisters that I grew accustomed to listing page numbers and itemizing things.
With a flash I produced my second page of itemized, labeled, sized, gifts of color preferences and locations. I knew this would make things much easier for Santa with all the kids that he had to take care of.
"Now what are you going to do with that doll?" she inquired. Of course I would become a great ventriloquist and probably perform all over the country.
Oh the dreams you have when your are young. So simple to conquer the world.
I waited patiently and she reviewed things. The the big question came. "What do you want the most?"
Without a doubt the Charlie doll! She nodded her head and circled the Charlie doll and attached the itemized list carefully to the first page. Then off I was with grand thoughts racing through my head of Charlie sitting on my lap with his top hat and eyepiece in place just talking away.
Well by the time Christmas rolled around I had forgotten what the other stuff was that I had put on the list except of course Charlie.
Oh my God! The build up on Christmas Eve was tremendous! Of course my best friend Rickey and I would put out cookies, candy, soda, milk, slim jims, bubble yum, and any other goodies we could find for Santa and the elves. I pity the pour souls that had to eat all of that stuff. We would spend hours discussing the possibility of what we might get the next morning. Watch how the Grinch stole Christmas, then say our goodbyes and wait for Christmas. I swear I woke up early every Christmas just from anticipation regardless of how much sleep I got.
We would have to wait until Mom and Dad were up. That was the rule along with no peeking. It seemed like they slept for hours. Then I would hear that tinest bit of movement.
I tried to wait quietly then of course I had an excuse. The dog slept with me.
"Mom the dog has to pee" I would sneakingly quip. I would hurry and reach down to and shake that dog out of her dead sleep and motion for her to come to the door, race back to the bed and leave her poor puzzled statue standing in the middle of the floor. Of course I would make it up to her later by sharing dinner. Once she was up I knew she would become a little noisy, shaking her fur wildly prancing around the room. This only worked for three years before they caught on.
There door opened and I could hear the coffee cup bottoms hitting the counter, the spoons swishing around in the water. Well of course I could because at that age I had supersonic hearing to go with my xray vision. The sound of their slippers scuffing across the floor into the living room.
"Okay you can come out now" she said. I came around the corner to see none other than Charlie McCarthy sitting in a new rocking chair there in all his splendor with his top hat and tuxedo waiting for me to bring him to life.
I had Charlie for many years and he provided some of the best laughs (especially in a tavern full of drunks). We never got to tour the country together but. I remember him fondly which has me thinking of Christmas already.
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7 years ago