What I Want For Christmas
I miss my Dad this time of year.
He passed away three years ago from esophageal cancer. It was awful.
It's not like I miss him around Christmas because of his jovial attitude and overabundance of Christmas cheer. It's really the opposite.
He refused to ever want anything for Christmas. Every damn year you asked him what he wanted he would reply, "Plain white cotton t-shirts and wool socks." And there was really no use in getting him anything else. If you did it would stay in it's box in the closet for years.
When we were younger he would tease us unmercifully. He would get the fire in the fireplace just roaring and tell us that he was going to stay up all night and keep it going so that Santa couldn't get down the chimney. One year my brother, sister and I physically dragged him down the hallway to my parent's bedroom. It took hours - he was a large Norwegian rancher and we were mere children. Plus, rumor has it, that I just sat on his stomach and giggled the whole time. Not much help. But Mom said we slept like angels that night.
He even called our neighbor to tease my brother's friend Tater (yes, that's his name). He told Tater that he had captured Santa and was holding him for ransom. He would let him go if Tater promised to give him his best Christmas present. Poor little Tater was fully prepared to come down later that day to relinquish his prize BB gun, but Dad finally dropped it.
After we all grew up enough to not believe in Santa, he would scrawl (in the worst handwriting ever) on the gift tag, "To: Shari From: Claws". Get it? Claws (Claus)? Funny stuff.
I had a few years there were I was not exactly the most charming or best behaved daughter. But I still wasn't ignored at the holiday - although I probably should have been. One of those years he got everyone a toy car (that had some money taped to the bottom). I can't remember what my brother and sister got....but I got a police car.
And then the next year there was a big lump of real coal in the toe of my stocking. Put there by him, wrapped in plastic wrap - but wrapped in the plastic was also a $100 bill.
I just was going through a box of Christmas stuff this weekend. Forgotten at the bottom was an envelope that looked empty. I almost threw it away. But, when I looked inside I realized why I had kept it. It was from eight years ago, and keeping with tradition (and more importantly overriding the need to shop) it was one of those money cards. Inside the flap was written these words of wisdom, kindness, and hope of the season,
"Don't tell anyone about the $$. - Claws"
What do I want for Christmas this year?
One more day with "Claws".