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Monday, December 27, 2010

A Christmas Story…sort of.

There has been a lot of chatter regarding ‘Christmas guns’ for kids and it  reminded me of a Christmas story from my youth.

In the summer of '62 I was given an ancient single-barrel shotgun, which would no longer open and that my folks were satisfied was harmless. I'd drag it around outside like a pissant with a match... not quite knowing what to do with it but convinced that it was just too cool to leave alone. Finally one day, by using both thumbs, gritting my teeth and seeing stars- I was able to get the hammer back! This became easier over time and with oil purloined from the can next to Momma's old sewing machine.

Christmas Eve came and my relatives came around, dragging small children in tow. One particularly annoying little girl was full of small-child exuberance, blabbering on incessantly about Santa and his reindeer while huge flakes of snow buried our little cabin in the holler.

The 'big folks' were off in the kitchen talking about who-knows-what, when some snow slid off the roof. This little girl became ecstatic, certain that the reindeer had landed and that Santa would soon be coming down the chimney! The stupidity of this was more than I could bear; for cryin' out loud we had a WOODSTOVE and Santa, along with our gifts, would have been immolated to cinders. So I said "I'm gonna get my shotgun and shoot Santa off the roof!" Her mouth gaped open in horror and she shuddered at the thought. I reveled in the moment.

Gaining my composure (well as much as you have at six) I peeled six roll caps off and folded them over until they would just fit under the hammer of that old shotgun. I put on my boots, got the old shotgun from the corner and headed out into the snow. The cherub followed me to the door, piehole still hanging open and with her hands on her face, like that little ‘Home Alone’ kid. She could barely watch as I walked to the eaves, thumbed the hammer back and shoved the folded caps in where the hammer would land. I yelled “Take that, Santa!” and hauled the muzzle up as high as I could- and then squeezed her off.

You know, six caps make quite a flash and danged if it don’t come straight out from between the hammer and frame, about where my nose happened to be. I don’t know whether it was the caps or the child's screeching that brought my Mom out in the snow in her low-cuts, but the effect was that my nostrils were scorched and I was getting towed through the snow by an ear apparently designed expressly for that purpose. I got swatted, scolded and sent up to the loft with threats of switches for Christmas. I finally dozed off, dead certain I’d be sold to the Ishmaelites at the first opportunity.

Christmas came with daybreak and despite my recent malfeasance, there was a Daisy Cub under the tree. There were also stern warnings of the fate that would befall me if I misused it and being no fool, I took them quite seriously. Well, mostly. I did manage to shoot myself in the toe with it, once. This was enough to convince me it was a poor practice.

Never did see that old shotgun again… and that kid don’t like me much, even to this day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Luke, Chapter II

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 

'Glory', indeed! May God bless each one of you as we offer our heartfelt wishes for a Merry Christmas!