Like the time the grocery store ran the ad, “Let us do it for you. Turkey and all the trimmings. Just come and pick it up.” So we did, one hour before Christmas dinner. They handed us a full-size turkey with all the trimmings, totally uncooked and ice cold! Yep, nothing in the ad said anything about them cooking it. They just assumed we would want to do that on our own.
There was the year that my wife “cooked” the turkey all day with the oven off. Or the time the cat dove into the turkey headfirst. We turned around to look at the table, only to find the turkey wobbling around with a cat’s rear end sticking out of it. The poor thing finally fell off the table. Thankfully, she landed on her feet.
I guess the funniest memory that sticks out to me at this time of year is when I was 22 and had just moved into a really tiny apartment. My parents were coming for Christmas, and I wanted it to feel like home. I wanted a nativity scene, good food and a real Christmas tree. None of those phony fir trees; I had to have the real thing.
I drove outside of Nashville to a place where they let you cut down your own tree. I was so excited until I realized that I not only had absolutely nothing with which to cut down a tree, I had positively no idea HOW to do it.
No problem here. I’ve got this. I drove straight to Home Depot and bought a hacksaw. I shook the salesman’s hand, wished him a “Merry Christmas” and was on my way.
After a short drive back to the field of Christmas trees, I found the one I wanted. It was full and glorious. None of that “Charlie Brown Christmas tree” stuff. This one had personality and character. It was a tall, noble tree. It was as if it could recite poetry and knew past presidents.
I hacksawed it down for at least an hour while Christmas songs played on the speakers. Next, I meticulously positioned this yuletide monument on top of my small Ford Escort and tied it down. It totally covered the windshield so that I had to drive with my head out the window.
When I got it back to my apartment, I proceeded to drag and push it up two flights of stairs, through the door and into my little living room. I was sweaty and quite sticky from the sap, but that was OK. This was going to be UNFORGETTABLE!
When I cut the cords that bound it, it filled out. Oh my, did it fill out! It spilled over into every room. There was no way I could get around this enormous evergreen. It consumed kitchen, dining area, sofa — you name it — there was tree in it.
As I pushed it into a vertical position, I realized that this 12-foot tree was not going to work with my eight-foot ceiling. I had to cut off at least four feet of this colossal Christmas creation. It was at that exact moment when I remembered putting the hacksaw on top of the car when I paid the man. I wondered how long it had stayed up there and who it hit when it flew off.
In a flash, I was back at Home Depot. After all, I knew exactly where to find the hacksaws. The salesman looked sort of puzzled. I shook his hand and wished him “Merry Christmas” again and headed home.
I managed to shove the tree out on my balcony and began to saw again. Twice, it nearly toppled over onto my neighbor’s balcony below. I heard shrieks of laughter from the people below. I just kept on whistling “Joy to the World” as loudly as I could.
After sawing off about a third of the tree, every inch of me was totally covered with sweat, tree sap and pine needles. The carpet would never be the same. My apartment smelled like the great outdoors and itched like it too.
I’ll never forget that Christmas. My parents had nowhere to sit. We just stood and gazed … and itched. God bless us, every one!
Now that’s funny!