This week, I have posted three Christmastime excerpts from my second book, Memoirs of an Ordinary Girl: Fresh-meat Year. I am skipping an important Christmas chapter, so if you want to read it, follow the link above to my books on Amazon. In the meantime, enjoy this, the last chapter about Christmas in Drew’s freshman life experience.
All I Want for Christmas
Without Angela, and being snowed in, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were quiet and fairly uneventful, which I was totally ok with. I spent most of Christmas Eve holed up in my room, alternating between reading and writing. My mom and I made some cookies together and then it was time to open presents. Yeah, we did the early present thing and got stockings in the morning. I suppose this contributed to my not believing in Santa as a young child.
I’m sure I received some great presents, like sweaters, perfume, and maybe a music box, but much like the desire of Ralphie to get a Red Ryder BB Gun, I longed for a keyboard. Adrienne and I were going to form a band, and though I planned to be lead vocals, I wanted a talent to back it up, even if keyboards were losing their luster in the early ‘90s. I had dabbled a bit, and badly, with an old acoustic guitar, but we had given it away when we moved, and I had been teaching myself to play the family’s organ.
No box existed beneath our tree that looked quite big enough, but the last box was the right shape and big enough if the keyboard was smallish. My parents handed the neatly wrapped box to me with Cheshire grins. By the feel, there was no way this was a keyboard, but I was optimistic it would somehow work out anyway. Maybe I just wasn’t a good judge of boxes. I peeled back the paper to reveal a longer, more slender, naked cardboard box. I needed a sharp object to cut through the mailing tape my mom had used to secure it shut, so my dad handed me a key. Inside the box was a literal wooden board, wrapped in tissue paper, and adorned with pencil traced keys, much like the one my father had handed to me to open the box. The word “KEYBOARD” had even been neatly scrawled along the top, centered and everything. I’d been had. “Very funny!” I whined. “Just take my dreams and smash them, why don’t you? Hmmpphhh!”
They laughed, and my mom snuck over to a hidden corner of our large basement living room and pulled out a much larger box. “Maybe this will make up for it,” she said, offering this new gift, which obviously was a keyboard. I hugged both of my parents tightly and tested out all the settings and voices on my new treasure. There were 100 effects in all and it was glorious. I got my Red Ryder BB Gun.
On Christmas morning I found candy, toiletries, and more Christmas socks in my stocking. We spent a good portion of the day watching some holiday classics, which even my mom was able to join in on since she only had to cook a small Christmas dinner for three.
We each spoke with Angela on the phone. She missed us and cried a little again, but Ryan had bought her some expensive perfume, so that helped, though his parents had bought her a cookbook, something she did not take kindly to.
That evening, Belle called to wish me a Merry Christmas. We couldn’t talk long, but it was good to hear each others’ voices. Our conversation was cut a little shorter than planned when Milton started barking and running in circles by the front door. Somebody was trying to open the door. “Dag nabbit!” came a muffled voice from the outside. My dad cautiously opened the door to reveal the Phillips’ grandma, the one whose sweaters matched her dog’s. She wore an expression of bewilderment. “But…you’re not Phillip.”
“No. Can I help you?”
“Oh, dear. I can’t find my house.” I didn’t know if either of my parents had ever seen this woman before, so I didn’t think they knew where to direct her, and I stepped in.
“Uh, actually, you live down the road there,” I said, indicating the Phillips’ home down the hill, all lit up, with a Christmas tree in every visible window, and one on the roof for good measure.
“Are you sure? It’s kinda tacky.”
I suppressed my laughter as best as I could. “Yes, ma’am. I’ve seen you with the family before.”
“Oh, my. It’s a bit slippery out here. I don’t suppose one of you could help me and Lester out? I don’t want another hip replacement.” I assumed Lester was the name of her dog.
“Sure. I’ll walk you home,” I found myself saying before I knew what I was doing. “That’s ok, right?” I asked Mom and Dad as I laced up my snow boots.
“Sure Drew, but you be careful too,” my mom replied.
As we took the short hike down the hill I learned that Lester’s owner’s name was Wilma, “like from the Flintstones,” and she had moved in with the Phillips a few months after they moved in. She didn’t like her son or grandson, but her daughter-in-law was nice. When we arrived at the brightly lit front door, I rang the doorbell because it was locked.
Junior answered. He just stared at us for a bit, long enough for me to catch a glimpse of several Christmas trees, which smelled awesome, but having so many was still weird, like a forest in their house. “Looks like Grandma didn’t get run over by a reindeer after all!” he shouted over his shoulder towards what I assumed was their dining room area. Filipia came running, but an indifferent middle-aged man, Mr. Phillips, just glowered from a distance.
“Oh, Wilma, I was so worried about you,” she said as she gently took the old lady’s hand. “Thank you so much for returning her to us,” Filipia directed toward me.
“Yes, thank you, Deary,” Wilma said as she reached into her pocket and pulled out a quarter. “Here you go and Merry Christmas,” she said, placing the coin into my hand.
“Oh, well thank you, and Merry Christmas to you all,” I said as I reversed directions and walked as quickly as I could back to my own, normal home, twenty-five whole cents richer.
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